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.   

Stunning scenery along the way...

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. 


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 my goal is to add more by working harder at finding them. 

 I've seen only 7 of the 19 possible 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. 

Every day is a new Adventure.

Friday, May 25, 2018

Grand Mesa camp

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 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! (now they call them Canada Jay)

nicknamed the "camp robber" one jumped right in my frying pan when I was camped up in the Olympic National Forest in Washington.  

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!


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...we had a meal and called it a day...

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...

the face of bliss...

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

he tries to look nonchalant, but I see what he is up to...

Ok little buddy time for your  breakfast...or someone else may get it...

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 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!

Every day is a new Adventure.