Thursday, September 16, 2010

White Ranch Open Space

Last Saturday morning I had a chance to do a bit of hiking at White Ranch Open Space with my roommate and his dog. It was a bit late for ideal birding, but it was a fun morning and there were even a few good birds to boot. The Mountain Bluebird above was hanging out in the meadow near the parking area when we started.

A bit later Blizzard (the dog) flushed what appeared to be a House Wren, I tried to catch a shot, missed it, but was happy to find a Green-tailed Towhee peaking out at me from the same patch of brush.

The small mammals were putting on a show for me, this Pine Squirrel checked me out from behind a tree before retreating a bit and giving us an earful. A few feet further on and again right at eye level I met a Least Chipmunk. It was working its way across a canopy of bushes, and decided to freeze when our party moved past. It didn't need to worry though, I just wanted a couple of pictures, and the dog was oblivious.

The return portion of the loop took us through more meadow, and I tracked a flying Stellar's Jay as it approached from a distance. It was interesting that the first thing I noticed was the jay flight pattern, and the next were the white eye-brows and other facial markings. The brilliant blue of this species just disappears on a cloudless day.

Unfortunately, the great morning was followed by an embarrassing football display by my alma mater, the Colorado Buffaloes. They had their first match up with future division opponent Cal, and made an impression by not even being competitive on the field.

Birds once again came through, as 4 of us sat on the deck contemplating the depths our school's program had sunk to; a Common Nighthawk flew directly over my backyard! Even if none of the others appreciated the addition to my yard list it went a long way towards brightening my least until the Bronco game the next day - sigh. Perhaps there will be more time for birding this fall.


  1. What neat birds! I don't think any of those live around here!

  2. Nice collection, Dave! I especially like the bluebird and love the one of the squirrel!

  3. Sounds like the hike was much better than the game. Great pictures.