Saturday, February 27, 2010

RAPTOR ROAD TRIP RECAPS

The Eagles, Owls, Hawks, and Falcons of the Northern Colorado Front Range




The winter months bring great raptor watching on the front range with many species checking out nest sites and beginning their courtship rituals. Along the back roads of Weld County and Bolder County north of Denver and midst the spreading sprawl of urban neighborhoods mixed with farms and open space, we found an abundance of Eagles, Owls, Hawks, and Falcons. Our expert guides Harold and Betty Oliver of the Audubon Society of Greater Denver led our group to raptor hot spots and produced a total of 84 raptors including 15 Bald Eagles, 2 Golden Eagles, 43 Red Tail Hawks, 7 Ferruginous Hawks, 2 Great Horned Owls, 12 American Kestrels, and 3 Northern Harriers. It was a great day trip and we plan to do it again on April 18th to check on the nest sites to see how the Eagles and Owls are doing. We hope to see Ospreys by then as they should have returned from South America.




A lone Red Tail Hawk uses a idle oil pump as a pedestal to survey its territory. Click here to see a Red Tail in flight.






Our Birding group a one of many stops looking at raptors on display in their natural habitat.




















Many on the road trip took advantage of the photographic opportunities.



These two eagles were close to a nest site in Weld County. We saw them a year earlier on a another road trip. Click on the picture and see a digiscoped video of them watching over a field with rabbits and other rodents. Digiscoped with a cannon point and shoot camera on a Swarovski spotting scope
from 1/4 mile.














This digiscoped Great Horned Owl is on eggs that will hatch soon. We expect her chicks will be available to observe by April. We plan a "nesting" road trip on April 18 to see them. Click here or on the picture to see chicks we observed last year near Chatfield State Park











Our very esteemed Raptor Road Trip leaders- Harold and Betty Oliver of The Audubon Society of Greater Denver. You can do other trips sponsored by the Olivers and ASGD by visiting denveraudubon.org


















We were lucky to get close up views of several Ferruginous Hawks. They are the largest of all hawks and have been considered to be included in the family of eagles.






Click here and on the small picture below to view a short Ferruginous video

















We came across this cooperative Bald Eagle sitting on top of a slag rock pile.





We invite all of our Raptor Road Tripper's to share some of their pictures with us. We will give credit and links to any web site promoting pictures of birds and wildlife in their natural habitats. Send your pictures to frontrangebirding@gmail.com.