Sunday, January 10, 2010

Big Birds

This morning I had a couple of hours before friends were coming over to my house, so I decided to head east and see what I could track down in Adams County. I ended up at the Adams County Regional Park, and walked through a portion of the Nature Preserve they have along the South Platte. Even before I had looped back to the parking area I had located the juvenile Red-tail Hawk in a tree just next to the road.

It waited while I parked, and let me approach on foot before it took off across another clear blue sky. Later, I spotted the intermediate Red-tail below. In all I counted 5 individual red-tails, all calling to one another in my short 2 mile hike.

If my first visit was any indication this is going to be a phenomenal place to visit. My birds of prey seen included Red-tails, a Kestrel, and a Northern Harrier - the Kestrel and first Red-tail before I had even approached the actual Nature Preserve. Just as I entered the preserve section a couple gave me the common tip that there was a Bald Eagle in the area this morning.

I found two sharing a branch, but they weren't in a mood for posing.

Bald Eagles are always a fun sight. While common in Colorado in the winter, people who see me with camera will usually tell me all about their last eagle sighting. I am glad that their symbolism and positive recovery story, coupled with their immediately recognizable appearance make them a species that can be appreciated by anyone, birder or not. I can't help but wonder if the couple would have recognized this youngster as a juvenile Bald Eagle as well.

I'm not too familiar with aging eagles, but this one would seem to fall into the sub-adult I category. The dark head and tail combo, extended secondary feathers, and light belly all seem about right. What I am not sure of is whether that puts this bird in its first or second winter. My guess would be first, but if anyone knows for sure please feel free to comment or shoot me an email.

I can't wait to get back and check this area out again. It is definitely a place for late afternoon and evening, as the river was choked with waterfowl, but they were all directly in line with the sun at that time of the morning. Although, with so many eagles, hawks and other great species around I don't believe there could be an uneventful visit, regardless of the time of day.

1 comment:

  1. Isn't it great to see the eagles! We see them often here and I never tire of seeing them.