SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Friday, April 13, 2007

Birding in the snow

I have been in the Rocky Ford/La Junta area for the past several days for the Arkansas River Basin Water Forum (I am on the planning committee, one of the conservation related activities I do as water is very important to birds and environment). We were supposed to get this major blizzard that didn't materialize, but it has rained and snowed much of that time leaving dirt roads muddy.

When the Forum ended mid-afternoon, I took off to get in some birding. It was a little challenging as it was snowing some and visibility limited. However, I quickly found a flock of 80-100 migrating Franklin's Gulls foraging in a farm field. As is not uncommon, many of them had a pinkish cast to the white sections of their plumage.

At Lake Meredith I found hundreds of Northern Shoverlers, mostly paired-up and feeding with their mates. I saw the first of the year Barn Swallows foraging above the lake with Northern Rough-winged Swallows. Also first of the year was 1 male Blue-winged Teal. There were a few Eared Grebes, Cinnamon Teal, Western Grebes and Bufflehead with larger numbers of Ruddy Ducks, and Lesser Scaup. As the lake is full of irrigation water there is not much shoreline and what is there is often covered with tumbleweeds (Russian Thistle) and Kochia (another weed) so the only shorebird I saw was a Killdeer.

At nearby Lake Henry (road was very muddy) I found 1 American Avocet, some Am White Pelicans, some white-headed gulls and Northern Shoverlers. Visibility was so limited I couldn't see the other side of the lake so could have been much more there.

More later.

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