Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Rifle Mountain Park & More

Sunday May 20th,  we took a ride to Rifle Mountain Park, not far from here.  It's a rocky canyon...and really a pretty spot to visit or camp!  And along the way is the fish hatchery so we stopped to see the fish.  

These are mostly rainbow trout


And look at the rare BLUE rainbow..


SO amazing!  

And the nice lady who gave us a bucket of fish food to toss out keeps up quite a few hummingbird feeders...and I was able to get a couple shots of the Broad-Tailed Hummer. 


Much like the Ruby-Throated I see back home. 

Then we entered the canyon....


Lots of drip falls blacken the rock and help give the canyon a lush green almost tropical canopy. 




SO attractive!!



And climbers love this place it was full of them...




guy at 9 o'clock


SO much beauty here...



the creek travels under this rock tunnel 

I was able to see a couple Yellow Warbler, an Ash Throated Flycatcher, and there is a large colony of White-Throated Swift in the canyon, I spotted only one way up high...no photos. I  would like to go back when it's not so busy with the climbers...and look for the swifts. 

Here is one of the FCFS (first come first serve campsites) this one is right by the water.  


We had our picnic here since it was vacant...


Strong!



LUSH!!

On the way back we stopped at Rifle Falls SP using our Library pass yet again to get in FREE! 



With a nice Lilac bush in bloom nearby it was sweet! 

Thursday May 24th I wanted To have a second look at Garfield Creek road.  Last time I never got beyond the sign and this time I didn't make it much farther when I heard so much bird song I pulled over and parked.  




Immediately 2 Lewis Woodpeckers flew off a tree made a circle and landed back on the same tree...one posed nice for me. 



I was so happy since last year my sighting was so poor of one that swooped over the path of my car and I got no good look, so this makes up for that. 



This pair was very co-operative and they hung out in that same tree for the duration of my stay...I saw a perfect sized hole in that tree so figured they may have a nest in it...so I left them to it.  And I was hearing lots of singing so I ventured to the next little opening in the trees. 

I thought for a minute it could be gilded, but when it flew off I saw some red under there..



And House wrens were very noisy and threatening me....



A Western Wood Pewee made his Hawk like whistle...



I drew the attention of an entire flock of Black Capped Chickadees, and this one had a brood patch and a little more black streaks on her breast than I'm used to seeing. 



the ever busy little Yellow Warbler took a minute to give me a good look over. 



Deeper back a lovely Lazuli Bunting sang and posed for me...


What a wonderful hour I had there!!  There was more, Robins, Collared Doves, Brown Headed Cowbirds, Crow, Black Headed Grosbeak, Magpie, and One Bullock's Oriole.  Amazing Patch for sure. 
-------

As I said I'm a short timer here...one thing is constant in life and that is change!  


PEACE
Every day is a new Adventure.

Monday, May 28, 2018

From Snow to the Sand

Sorry I'm being such a busy poster, while I have internet and time in the evenings it's convenient for me, my time here is short so if I'm unable to post the next couple weeks as my travels continue maybe I won't fall far behind with my chronicles, so in continuance of the 3 day and 2 night camp trip here we go.   


Saturday Apr 19th.  Since the Southern side of the road off the Grand Mesa travels right through Orchard City I wanted to see if any new birds were at the Fruitgrower's Reservoir.  The big lake had a few Western Grebes, Canada Geese, and a couple of Bullock's Orioles.



Up on the north causeway there was a bit more to see.  

 

The shorebirds I had hoped for were not there but still some good things to see.  Most of the Ducks and Geese hung across the lake on the far bank....but this pair of Western Grebes were so busy adoring each other they forgot to move away from me...


Keep hoping for a Clark's to be in one of these flocks....only one Long Billed Dowitcher was poking around...


...along with 3 Spotted Sandpipers was this young Ring Billed Gull...


And a California Gull


Check out the size difference between these White Pelicans and the tiny Pied Billed Grebe...just to the left of the pair. 







I took a walk closer to the marsh where the Yellow Headed Blackbirds stood out so brilliantly!  A short video. 

yellow headed bb


And Western Meadowlarks  my favorite Country & Western Singer. 



The plan was to return to my sis's house by evening and I had one more stop planned and it was a bit of a drive so I made my way toward & then about 11 miles west of Grand Junction.  Since I was pretty close I wanted to revisit
2 and 8/10 road near the settlement of Mack...where I was about a week ago near the McInnis Canyon area.  I arrived there about 3 pm.  


I know this does NOT look like much, but it was my destination!  


Just a fence in the desert right? But look closer!!  Count from right to left 11 fence posts down...


Finally!!! I get to add the Burrowing Owl to my life list! 


AND he is a real beauty...what a treat. Look at those eyes!



He flew off the post and back a couple times, and then eventually to a prairie dog mound, and he got out of camera range.  I was able to watch him for about 20 minutes and then I left him to do his thing.   Been trying to see this bird for a long time! My Owl list has been hurting for a while because I was not trying...now my goal is to add more by working harder at finding them.  I've seen only 7 of the 19 possibles in North America.  I had high hopes of the Boreal Owl up on the Mesa, also the Northern Pygmy, and the Northern Saw Whet  and of course the Western Screech.  They are there but I was not able to spot one.  It just means I have to try again and try harder.  
I had a great camping trip and this was the perfect end I added 3 new birds to my life list...and an unlimited amount of wonderful experiences. 

PEACE
Every day is a new Adventure.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Grand Mesa

The Grand Mesa takes us up over 10,000 ft...the van was straining to make it up the grade so I took my time.  This is my first visit up there this time of year so I was surprised to see a lot of unmelted snow laying about. 



I had hoped it was fully open but it wasn't the Visitors Center still closed with dirty snow banks surrounding it...but nature is never closed!  I enjoyed stopping to view the lakes that I could get to...like this overlook of Island Lake.


Looks as if lots of snowmobiles zoomed over the lake this past winter...


I stopped at Cobbett Lake above, for a lunch break and was immediately joined by this Steller's Jay, he jumped right down to let me know he wanted some of what I had, 


so I shared some chips with him...


And a little Gray Headed Dark Eyed Junco also came to see what he could scavenge from my visit. 


This drop of water got on the lens of the camera it really made an interesting orb on this photo...


There is no bad view here....


The hiking trails are still quite muddy so I didn't go far...I brought one pair of hikers with me!


 Ward Lake Campground  was not officially open, but was open with no services and FREE!..So I was glad to find a good spot to spend the rest of the day and night. 


Had a nice conversation with a local logger who was camped nearby, he told me about the beetle problem that is killing many of the trees here.  The mature trees fall victim to the Pine Beetle and the Spruce Beetle along with Bark Beetle, the first infestations occurred in 1996, now more than 1.1 Million acres are infested. 



We got the attention of a Gray Jay...not just one but 3 of them! 



and more Stellers' to challenge them, but guess who won the big battle??


American Robins!!  I have never seen Robins be aggressive but they sure were!

It was cool and later after a walk Casey and I went into out cozy home away from home for an afternoon siesta and right about that time I saw a flash of gold...and low and behold 


The female Pine Grosbeak! Lifer and that's about the time a flash of red smacked me...the bright beautiful male Pine Grosbeak!

#440

I have been wishing for this bird on every trip to high country.  And they came right to me, poked around a while; the female looks to be gathering some nesting material. 

A text book example of this species...


Later some nice light hit the trees across the lake...



and not much later the sun began to go down...



And it got COLD we had frost on our tub of camp "stuff" when we got up...while I made coffee Casey tried to warm up...


...and another visitor eyed our camp...



A Mohawk sporting  White Crowned Sparrow (dark lored) gave us a backwards glance...



And when we packed up we drove over to Land's End road it is still closed, so I took a short walk it was too muddy to enjoy but I saw about 12 American Pipits


I saw my first Pipit right here in this area last year....so I'd saw this is a reliable spot to find them.  

Before you know it it was time to drive down off the Mesa and we exited to the South, at Cedaredge.  


 And another visit to the Fruitgrower's  Reservoir North Causeway in Orchard City...I'm going to split this day up so that will be next!



PEACE
Every day is a new Adventure.