Saturday, May 18, 2013

CFO Convention Day Two Friday 5-17-2013

Today we drove up Madden Road towards of the peak. It was a cold, very orange sunrise and it cast an orange light on all the aspens. As we drove up the road we rolled down the windows to listen as we drove. We heard many birds including many many Warbling Vireos, Chipping Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, Dusky Flycatchers and an occasional Hermit Thrush.
We came around a bend to find a male Dusky Grouse sitting midway up a small aspen tree. We all drove past slowly each stopping for a look as we went by. The six cars all eventually made it and we continued up the mountain bumping along the dirt road as we went.

We came to a clearing where we stopped to look for Purple Martins, but instead we found a second Dusky Grouse sitting in perfect light on a large boulder. All the photographers pulled out there cameras and large lenses and we sat and took photos for several minutes. We hoped he would start drumming and displaying but i think the group of 17 people was a little distracting.
We all piled back into the cars and drove to our final stop.
As soon as we pulled up an agitated Green-tailed Towhee hoped across the road in front of us chattering and raising his crown feathers and disappeared into the brush. Immediately the sound of many singing Warbling Vireos hit our ears as well as the songs of Yellow-rumped Warblers and a lone House Wren.

By now it had warmed to about 60 degrees which was much more comfortable than the starting 43. The larger insects started warming up and flying around. We photographed a Pallid-winged Grasshopper that we found on the road. As we got back in the cars to drive down the road to our next stop a Western Wood-Pewee let out a single call.  

Our second stop was at Division of Wildlife fishery in Durango where we walked down the animas river. This was a very prolific and colorful area. As soon as we got out of the car we heard a cacophony of noise surrounding us. We decided to walk up the road to the gas station and use the restroom. On our way up we found a large flock of Evening Grosbeaks with Black-headed Grosbeaks mixed in, also calling in the area were many Pine Siskins.

We we met back up with the group after using the restroom they told us that they'd had great views of a Lewis's Woodpecker that flew up to a tree and then flew around the parking lot trying to catch a moth. Lewis's Woodpecker has been a little bit of a nemesis bird for me. I missed them at the last convention and have missed them at every location since.

We started our walk down the river to singing Yellow Warblers, more Pine Siskins many swallows including Northern-rough Winged, Barn, Cliff, and Tree. We saw bullock's orioles and more Black-headed Grosbeaks. Later we came to a stand of old dead cottonwoods striped of bark. The group was in front of me at the time and they all looked back and started waving to get my attention. I looked up and saw a large black bird with very round wings and a woodpecker flight pattern fly away. I knew this was it, my Lewis's Woodpecker, and again i had missed it. I still had a chance though! The cavities in the tree gave us a clue that maybe they were nesting there. So we sat, and waited. Suddenly, in she came landing in front of the hole and quickly ducking in. Again the glimpse was fleeting and i didn't get a chance to admire the beauty of the bird. Again we waited. we waited around 10 minutes when the bird finally poked her/his head out of the hole, the red and green face pattern shining in the sun. The bird hopped from the hole and landed on a nearby branch. The sun striking the bird showing off all its iridescent glory. Its pinkish underbelly feathers were fluffed giving the bird a strong silhouette.Woodpeckers are beautiful birds and after having seen this bird i have an even greater appreciation for them.

This is only the first half of the day and its getting late for an early start tomorrow, so i'll add today's hike (5-18-13) tomorrow.
Dusky Grouse in a tree

Beautiful views of another Dusky Grouse on a rock

Jordan in his winter hat and jacket. It was 42 degrees that morning

Pallid-winged Grasshopper

Evening Grosbeak

Gorgeous Lewis's Woodpecker!!

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