Saturday, August 28, 2010

Walden, Colorado trip August 20010

On August 15,2010 our trip to North Park and Walden, Colorado with the Audubon Society of Greater Denver was a great success and enjoyed by all. Lee Farrell and myself lead 12 participants to see the late summer breeding grounds of many colonial nesting ducks, geese, grebes, and a variety of shorebirds. In all our bird count topped 84 species as we traversed several types of high planes habitats. Click here to view American White Pelicans foraging for fish at Windy Gap, Colorado.

The trip began with a rendezvous at the historic Peck House B&B in Empire, Colorado where we began with coffee, beagles, and hummingbirds. The Peck House front porch was abuzz with Broadtail and Rufus hummers. Our next stop after crossing Berthoud Pass was Windy Gap reservoir just north of Grand Lake. Here several species were observed to include a large group of American White Pelicans doing their unique fish herding routine.

The road to Walden from Windy Gap was an education of Pine Beetle devastation. Entire valleys of dead and dying lodge pole pines lined both sides of the road. It will be interesting to see the forest in succession. It will not be fast enough however.

The rest of the day was consumed with an auto tour of the Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge and the Walden Reservoir. Many shorebirds were noted to include Western, Eared, and Pied Billed Grebes.

The accommodations were at the North Park Inn in Walden which was a great stay.
On Sunday we began an ambitious day with an early morning nature walk in the riparian area of ANWR followed by a trip to Lake John to see Western Grebes with babies on their backs – a real treat to see.

The return trip to Denver was over Cameron Pass and through Pudre Canyon to Ft Collins. Below are just some of the pictures I took.

Our group of 14 North Park travelers.

This guy got away. Walden is the Moose viewing capital of Colorado but not seen ot this trip. This picture was digiscoped on an earlier scouting trip

A neat digiscope picture of a Barn Swallow early in the morning in the Arapahoe National Wildlife Refuge.

This was a shot of an elusive Greater Sage Grouse. A life bird for several in the group. The Greater Sage Grouse is under threat with habitat loss.

Pied Billed Grebe let me get close with my Leica camera.

A big goal was to find grebes with young riding on their backs. Here are 2 shots of Western Grebes parents doing just that.

An overlook of the Arapahoe Nathional Wildlife Refuge. Home of many a Moose.

Diane with our spotting scope trying to find a Moose!

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