Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Friday June Fourth Recap

Sorry to all for the long delay without posting. My birding activity last weekend was concentrated, productive, and left me with a mountain of unprocessed images to try to weed through and narrow down to a postable amount. This post contains some images of old favorites and a recap of my route and destinations. Upcoming posts will focus dial in on some particular species. Having spent the previous week oncall I was ready for some time away from town, and decided to make Friday a day trip out to the extreme northeastern corner of Colorado. I loaded up the truck and left town somewhere in the very late night / very early morning hours. After a couple of hours I found myself arriving at the Sedgwick Bar State Game Preserve just in time for sunrise. It was a beautiful morning, and being between most of the major hunting seasons I had the place to myself. I didn't linger too long though, after a short walk I was off to another Sedgwick County hotspot, the small town of Ovid, and a wooded stretch of creek that runs through town and offers shelter to some eastern visitors.

Ovid Woods, (as they are known), didn't offer up any eastern visitors during my time there, but I did enjoy watching seven Turkey Vultures waking up from their sheltered roost and a good number of other birds. The Hairy Woodpecker was visible at an angle just off to my side through the sun roof. I don't think that anyone will find themselves in Ovid and just happen to need to track down a birding spot, but it is worth a check if you are checking some of the more well known hotspots in the area. I really like that the quiet street runs just along the riparian corridor, and allows for observations from a vehicle without alarming the birds who shelter there.

If you are heading to the area of Colorado north of the South Platte River and just south of the Nebraska panhandle, and you are a birder, odds are that your destination is, or was considered as Jumbo (Julesburg) Reservoir. Jumbo was my next stop, and primary destination for the trip. The Reservoir straddles the county line between Sedgwick and Logan counties, and has year round appeal catching migrating waterfowl in the winter, land migrants in the spring and fall, and apparently drains down to attract shorebirds in the late summer. The county road leading into the reservoir offers an opportunity to crawl along and get shots of some of the area residents, like the Red-tailed Hawk above.

My first visit didn't disappoint, although the migration madness seems to be dropping off a bit. I approached from the southeast, and started at a maintained picnic area where there were a good number of trees. The groves must be welcome in so much open land and had attracted the largest concentration of Western Kingbirds that I had seen in one area. The water was calm, and aside from a pair of fishing boats there were large fish occasionally making spectacular leaps out of the emerging vegetation near the shore. I regretted that I hadn't brought along a rod, thinking that the setting was perfect for the first few casts of a lazy summer season, but soon enough I was distracted by a Warbling Vireo moving along the shoreline.

The stop was great, but some of my great views and sightings were from the road that rings the res. The Barn Swallow (two above), and many of its kind had settled down in a drainage culvert and were enjoying the early morning sun as much as I was. As I completed my loop later in the morning I had one last highlight. The Burrowing Owl below had just settled onto some prey as I approached the Prairie Dog Town it was hunting in. I pulled to a stop and got some shots before it decided to vacate the area for a more secure snacking location. The light had gotten a bit harsh by that point, but it was a marked improvement on my previous attempt to post images of this enjoyable species.

A really rewarding trip, and one that will lead to a few more posts soon. If you are in the Denver area and haven't decided to make the drive I strongly recommend it.

1 comment:

  1. Great post. The pics of the burrowing owl & red-tailed hawk are gorgeous. I've never seen a vireo or burrowing owl. I know I'm WAY out of range for the owl. We do have quite a few owl species here though.