June 25, 2010

Salt Lick Trail

Every morning, I've had the opportunity to bird right across the street from where I'm staying.  I just found out today that this trail is Salt Lick.  It's filled with childhood memories and great birding.

The trail has unfortunately been plagued, as has much of the front range, by a wood boring beetle that has killed most of the pine.  At the beginning of the trail, they just last year took down all the pine and left the timber in piles.

I thought this would be a huge problem, which is certainly is, but birds have adapted and in fact, some of the best birds of the trail were seen in this area.

The trail wind down from here to a beautiful creek that's filled with the sounds of Lincoln and White-crowned Sparrow, as well as Wilson's Warblers.

Wilson's Warbler Habitat

White-crowned Sparrow

Wilson's Warbler

Every where I went, I was followed by the high-pitched trill of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.  I also had a   Rufous Hummingbird but couldn't get a shot of it. 

Broad-tailed Hummingbird

The trail continues West into some higher elevation and ultimately into a Wilderness Area that goes on forever.  I followed the river most mornings, and found a trail that went through some nice Aspen.

This area is filled with birds.  I found this guys near the edges.

And one of my favorites.

Red-naped Sapsucker

I'm off to cook some breakfast for the crew.  Eggs, sausage and steel-cut oats are sounding better than posting.  More to come.


June 22, 2010

Colorado Roadtrip 2010

At 4AM on Sunday, an idea that came to mind during a boring lecture last semester came to fruition.  I hit the road with 4 of my closest friends to the high country on the Front Range.

I'm writing this at 10,000 ft after my first long hike into the local wilderness area, which is conveniently across the street from where I'm staying!  None of these friends bird.  Luckily, they're okay with me nerding out at all times.  I don't think they have the slightest clue as to how much I'm going to be birding and how annoying it will be when I stop to listen (muahaha!)  While they dream of sweet day hikes, I'm going to be out at the crack of dawn, seeing all of my mountain favorites, and hopefully some nemesis birds.  I'll chronicle the adventure here...

The trip started well.  We took two cars, which is luxurious for 5 people.

Somewhere in Iowa...

For the most part, I heard my friends complaining about driving through what they considered the ass-crack of the US of A.

The heart of the ass-crack.

Mind you, I drove the whole way...  Yet, how can you be bored when you have to look out for the first Western Kingbird?!?  I got mine going 70 somewhere in central Nebraska, and couldn't get enough of them in Eastern Colorado.  It's always nice to see the transition.  Other Western goodies on the road included Swainson's Hawk, and Western Kingbird.  I tried to convince the gang to make a quick stop at a certain prairie a few hours north after we first made it to Colorado, but they weren't buying it.

There aren't many pics through the drive until we (finally..) could see the mountains at sometime around 9PM.


At 11PM after 15+ hours of driving and a pint of some local brew, I hit the sack in Thornton Colorado.

More to come.