Tuesday, October 11, 2011

"I'm Leavin' on a Jet Plane..."

As teased in a previous post back in August, this birder and as a direct result this blog are going international! For the first time in over five years I am getting back to England, the birthplace of my Dad and home to all of his side of my family. I am under 12 hours from catching my flight, and am very much looking forward to being on my way. On a relevant side note, I want to wish my Mom a very happy birthday! She and my Dad will be leaving Minnesota in a few days, and we will all get to meet up over in England and make a whirlwind trip through the country together. More on that in a moment, but first a few shots from a frosty stop before work yesterday.

Since having seen the Krider's Hawk a few days back while on my way to Denver I had been thinking of light Red-tailed Hawks. Then, while rushing from work to complete a couple of errands last week I passed the resident leucistic Red-tail on a power pole, and didn't have time to stop. So, yesterday morning I stopped off on my way to the office and attempted to find the bird in the reliable spot along the Middle Hyland Creek Open Space. Before really getting down to look through the trees I had to stop for yet another shot of Long's Peak at sunrise. One silver lining of these shortening days is the accessibility of sunrises!

As the sun cleared the horizon behind me my target became immediately obvious. I had been scanning through those trees fairly carefully earlier, and had either missed him in plain sight prior to the light hitting, or he had popped up to greet the rising sun and warm up a bit from the coldest night of the season so far. Such a cool bird to see. I had taken an angled line across the field to get a better direction with the light, and as I approached the cattails at the bottom of the draw I got another creature moving as well.

Unfortunately, my camera had been set for the hawk in the treetop, and the lighting was far from ideal. Still, it is always fun to be mere feet from a coyote, when it is moving the other way.

So here is my impression of a three year old mapping my upcoming route through England. I will spend two days in Windsor, with plans to visit Windsor Castle, Eton College, and do some dedicated walking and birding in the Great Park. My folks will arrive Friday, and we will head north, up the middle of the country, stopping at Rugby, then Maltby where we will join my extended family to celebrate my Aunt and Uncle's 50th wedding anniversary. Then it is off to the Lake District via a stop at Ripon. The return will feature stops in Ludlow and Chippenham. While this is not a dedicated 'birding' trip, (what of my trips are?), I do hope to have some new species to share on the blog in the days and weeks to come. I am so glad that Ebird has been rolled out globally - it will definitely help in identifying and recording what species I find over there.

All credit being due, I grabbed this map from a Google image search that led me to this nice site, and then scribbled all over it. Thanks and sorry, PicturesofEngland.com.

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