Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Estes Park / RMNP Trip Wrap-up

I hope that readers have enjoyed my thoughts and pictures following my trip up to the mountains around Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park. It is a beautiful country, and an area that has the ability to surprise on your first visit or 800th. The shot above was taken looking from Upper Beaver Meadows towards Long's Peak in the distance. The natural side of this trip was enough to make great memories, but it was even more enjoyable for me having all of my immediate family in Colorado together for the first time in years.

There are a few species that could vie for poster bird of the park. Everyone sees them when they visit, and because they are so common they fail to get quite the attention of their less likely cohabitants. So I start this wrap up with a couple of shots of Steller's Jays.

They, along with Black-billed Magpies, are everywhere in the park, and very likely to approach humans in search of a picnic dropping or free handout. I resisted shooting hundreds of pictures of Magpies on this trip, but the Steller's Jays still win me over.
Another of the reliable mountain species is the Red Crossbill.

I watched this pair as my nephew and I searched for perfect pine cones just before I left. The male, (above) has the namesake red coloring, the female, (below), is more of a greenish yellow.

Fun to get to see them up close rather than peering up at the top of a pine tree.
So for the trip I totalled 48 species, including 4 that I added to my life list. Those were; White-faced Ibis, Green-tailed Towhee, Red-naped Sapsucker and Dusky Grouse.
Tomorrow evening I am off for Ft. Collins and the Colorado Field Ornithologists Convention. This morning I received confirmation that I got my first choices for field trips on the first two days. Friday I will be going to Red-feather Lakes, and Saturday there is a trip to Phantom Canyon, a private holding that is normally restricted from public access. It will be my first convention, and really my first birding destination event of any kind. I am sure that I will be wow'd by all of the talent and experience of my fellow attendees, and hopefully I will pick up a few tricks along the way. Since tonight will be spent in a frantic effort to finish turning my laundry and getting repacked to leave directly from work tomorrow evening the next update will either be from the hotel or the first in a series of post convention posts. Should be fun!

1 comment:

  1. I finally caught up a bit with your blog and really enjoyed the photos and narrative of your trip. I visited that area rather frequently around 1970 but haven't had a chance to go back since.

    Your photography has become excellent and I loved seeing all the birds. I had all but forgotten the Steller's Jays because we don't have them here.