Monday, March 8, 2010

Up - Where the Air is Clear

Usually getting a view like this requires a wake-up sometime around 4, and hours of hiking to get to a place where you are at eye level with 13,000 ft. Fortunately for those of us in Colorado, and with good snow tires, Loveland Pass and Arapahoe Basin ski area offer glimpses to drivers, skiers and riders alike for nothing more than a car or chair ride.

These shots were taken from the top of the Lenawee Chair at Arapahoe Basin, looking back along the continental divide towards Loveland Pass. From the shots it is apparent that it was a clear day, but what is not apparent is just how nice it was 7000+ feet up from home. There was virtually no breeze, and the sun made it mild, even for June at that elevation. I have stood on that ridge hundreds of times over the past ten years or so, but I would be hard pressed to remember a nicer day up top.
Soft, (but not slushy snow), and sunshine aside - "The Legend" did not offer legendary birding. I heard plenty of Chickadees, (Mountain variety), and glimpsed a few darting between cars in the parking lot, but had nothing other than those, some Ravens, and a probable Gray Jay while on the mountain.

As that was the case it was good that I started my day just before sunrise and got a couple of species near the condo where I stayed. My first bird of the day was a Steller's Jay.

They are gorgeous, and for photography's sake are much more closely seen around picnic areas.

While on my early morning walk I also added Juncos, Chickadees (both types), and both Crows and Ravens. Finally on my way back to hit the slopes I saw this Downy Woodpecker. She had me checking closely with her plain black back. Yet another variation in those diverse Downys.

1 comment:

  1. Those are beautiful shots of the high country!