Monday, June 1, 2009

Coot Lake and a bit of Boulder Reservoir

Friday evening I headed north through Boulder, thinking that I may stop by the Walden Ponds - Sawhill Ponds Complex to see what all was in the area. Due to being on a different road than I realized I was actually further east than I had planned and missed my turn. So instead of fighting traffic and guessing on backroads I continued on up to Coot Lake, just north of Boulder Reservoir.
In addition to many dozens of Red-winged Blackbirds, a few Western Meadowlarks, and six colorful spinning parachutists I got to see an photograph 8 Eastern Kingbirds. Since I wasn't looking for this species I got to try to categorise it based on observations while I was taking pictures. They were actively hunting insects, and let me get very close while they did so. I could watch as they waited, launched, and then made an aerobatic attack before returning to their preferred perch. I had a "duh" moment when I compared my pictures to the guides, and the pictures I had of two Western Kingbirds that were in the same area, behaving in a similar manner.

The colors of the Western are eye catching, but the contrast of black and white on the Eastern, along with that brilliant white tip of the tail make it equally pleasing to watch in the field. These two are definitely favorites.

The picture above was a great surprise. It is a Cliff Swallow that was hunting over the mudflats at the outlet of Boulder Res. I was getting ID shots of some Spotted Sandpipers and Killdeer on the far side, and took a few frames of the swallows as well. I had basically dismissed them in my fascination with the bee in the previous post, (I saw it minutes later). So when I was flipping through this morning and saw this swallow in flight, with it's eye frozen, looking at me as if to say, "Whats the big deal?" I was just blown away. Sometimes it is better to be lucky than good!

Just after the random Cliff Swallow, and the European Honeybee, I saw these two Tree Swallows. Their impending activities were a fitting site for someone photographing both birds and bees on this day. I left the happy couple to themselves and finished my walk in time to head for home and catch the end of the Nuggets playoff chase. One less distraction now from the wonderful world of nature and summertime pursuits.

To close, here is a Goldfinch that was in the grass just off the trail. It sat while I took shots as a woman approached walking her dog. I anticipated that it would take off, giving me a chance for a flight shot, but it never did as she approached, only later as we talked did it head for a more distant treetop perch.
2009 Count: 151
Lifetime: 164

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