Wednesday, February 29, 2012
My trip to Baca County in Colorado over a week ago was a great chance to go exploring and, see what I could see. As the following post will show - it wasn't all about the birds. Frankly, having camped in a canyon trailhead I missed much of the good early morning light for photos. As I explored the back roads of Comanche National Grassland I did get to watch this perched Loggerhead Shrike from a distance. I also added one lifer for the trip - the Chihuahuan Raven. I didn't get a great shot of the white feathers on its neck - or even close enough for a nasal bristle comparison, but their voices were very distinctive as they flew about.
The Ravens were paired up for the most part - and I rarely had to wait long for a twosome to come overhead. I also saw good numbers of Ferruginous Hawks. This one allowed me a passable shot - but broken clouds, constantly changing light and wind - not to mention lack of practice kept any shots from being spectacular.
After hitting many of the Canyons along the Colorado Oklahoma border I decided to do some adventuring and check out a corner of Colorado - that is only accessible from other states. I dropped into Oklahoma, and quickly found that the maps I had loaded on my iPad didn't differentiate between the private and public roads. So after many failed attempts I decided to drop back out to the highway, and attempt my invasion of extreme SE Colorado from Kansas. That did work, and I am able to confirm for you readers that the couple of roads in that corner of the state do not get anywhere close to the Cimarron River (which is what cuts off this chunk of the state from the roads in the rest of Colorado). I can, however, say I have been to a place that most others will not visit.
The area was short on birds, people, and any indication of when a road stopped being a road. But for all that it was beautiful in a desolate solitude kind of way.
Rolled hay and some of the power lines were the few indications that this area had changed since the dust bowl. That, in a way, is just what drives me to get to new places. I have a connection to a place that few, other than those who live there, get to make. I can't say when I will make it back - but feel blessed to have so many unique opportunities to explore different worlds, all in my backyard!
I watched the Sun drop below the horizon in that tiny forgotten corner of Colorado, it had been a full day - and I opted for a drive to Lamar - and a hotel, for my second night before some more birding and a drive back home on Sunday.