Thursday, March 18, 2010

RMBO Office at Barr Lake


Yesterday I had a bit of extra time in the afternoon and evening, so I headed out to see if I could track down a Rough-legged Hawk, a species that still eludes my official counting despite being fairly common on the plains. I am putting a bit more pressure on, as they will soon be gone for parts North, and I will have missed them for yet another season. True to form they are still slipping through my sights, but the juvenile Red-tailed Hawks are everywhere. I saw four juvenile individuals yesterday as I was driving and walking. The problem is that their light heads are all potential 'roughies' so I get excited and check each one closely. Not that I really mind, I really enjoy hawks, but I am chafing for a conclusive Rough-legged and until I get one those juvie Red-tails are just going to be trouble.
Instead of a Rough-tail I found this Great Horned Owl sitting on her nest. She was much more interested than the passing train than she was in me.

I also had a few good winter species, which could be on their way out of town soon. Perhaps they were just trying to remind me that despite the warm temps last evening and again today we could have ten inches of snow on the ground by this time tomorrow.


A few American Tree Sparrows were working through the brush at the edge of the dam and water. The dipping sun really set off their red heads. Apparently if you flap your wings just right in the fading sun they will glow!


These American Tree Sparrows will soon be replaced by the similar looking Chipping Sparrows. Chipping Sparrows have some dark outlines on their crest and a prominent white eye-line. They also lack the dark breast spot.


On my way out I was searching for some small owls to emerge from the windbreak hedges, they disappointed, but another driver was really excited to see a herd of deer cross the road. Funny how different things catch the interest of different people. I had a van circle back and forth multiple times gesturing me to the deer. To satisfy his sense of outdoor stewardship I did snap off a few low light pictures including the one above. I did get some good detail, so I guess some of my photographic skills are coming into practice. Now if only I had seen the Pheasant I was listening for at the time and gotten a shot of it as well.....Hmmmm.
Stay safe out there Coloradoans! Who knows how much snow will stick to 60 degree pavement, but odds are it will be slushy and slick underneath. Hopefully they have everything cleaned up for my Saturday Snowshoe birding trip - we should have good powder for it!

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