Yesterday was Bloodmobile day at work! Always a good feeling to give some blood and know that my part has been done to help save some lives.
Anyway, after work I headed towards Denver where the monthly DFO was being held in the evening. I had a couple of hours before I needed to be there, and randomly headed into Denver. I ended up finding what appears to be a newer Nature Preserve on the eastern edge of the Stapleton Redevelopment area. The lake, its namesake bluff, area wetlands and Sand Creek all combine to give this area potential, beyond its urban area. It has some tough factors, it is surrounded on two sides by interstates, with the Denver County jail and some warehousing industrial space as a buffer. The bluff side has more of a cushion, but the space looks slated for more housing and commercial development over time. Those factors, of course, make the space all the more valuable as a protected habitat - but if you head over for some Denver County birding be aware that you will be fighting some heavy noise pollution to pick out calls.
I have a feeling that despite all that I may have to make some return visits in the future. The female Mountain Bluebird (above) was just one of the fun birds I saw as I walked the loop around the lake. It was a nice sign of spring, the first that I had seen this close to home.
Much later, as I approached the creek near the end of my walk, I saw a small group of Yellow-rumped Warblers. They can occasionally hang around in the area, but these were my firsts of the season. Soon enough they will be everywhere. Funny, we are getting more and more signs of getting into springtime birding, yet I am now watching the snow fall, and the forecasts are talking anywhere from 5-18 inches of snow in the next 30 hours.
Of course, I am always careful to check dense areas of overgrown branches in woodlots as I pass. Do you see what I saw and heard as I walked by? Click on the image to get a larger view.
Here is the Great Horned Owl in a tighter crop. Not the clearest view, but I would never have seen it had I not heard a 'hoot' as I was passing. Just one of the reasons I really like owls. Their camouflage is so well developed that after I had located this one, and tried to shift to get a better view, I had to work again to relocate it.
Here's hoping some of the early arrivals are prepared for the snow over the next few days. Drive safe out there, and if you haven't done so before get out there and donate some blood!