Welcome, warm weather to colorado! At last my days of beanies, scarfs, and marshmallow jackets are behind me…for a few months at least. As the temperature increases, so does the biodiversity that inhabits my backyard. In the mornings, I wake up to an orchestra of birds consisting of Canada Geese, Western Meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds, and Magpies. Late at night, around 1a.m, I become the sole fan of a hardcore nature screamo band. The Great Horned Owls, Canada Geese, and obnoxious cow maintain the beat as a pack of coyotes sing in their whiney and high pitched howls. To many this would be extremely annoying, but to me.. well…I like screamo music.. .so let the loud noises continue!
Once again, Mianna, Lisa, and myself went out to the wetlands with dim hopes of seeing any shorebirds in the area yet. While looking at a pond, a flock of 28 birds caught our attention. The large and striking black and white stripes could only mean one thing…. American Avocets. I thought American Avocets couldn’t get any more beautiful, that is until I saw them in flight. The black and white stripes on their wings create an optical illusion. With just once glance, you become immersed by their world. I thought the day couldn’t get any better, until we spotted the rapid, rhythmic, vertical sewing-machine-like probing of three Dowitchers in the distance. They really do resemble sewing machines when they probe for food. Couldn’t help but smile at their odd behavior.
With shorebirds still making their way to Colorado, and ducks being way abundant…the only reasonable thing to do is aid in waterfowl surveys. I had the honor of assisting two amazing waterfowl experts to Russell Lake. Not only did I get to practice my duck identification, but also my estimations. Over 5,000 ducks were observed, with over 12 different species, as well as 500 cranes. I had the ability to practice my estimation of birds in flight and with mixed species. It was extremely hard!!!!! With ducks having a high percentage of being flushed, I had to be extremely fast at estimating the total number of birds, and the species that made up those numbers. At first I was doubting my ability to do this, but with the motivation of my two waterfowl mentors, I quickly became an expert. They were amazed at how close my estimations were to theirs. This made me extremely happy to know that! At the end of the waterfowl survey, I kept my eyes open in case a shorebird would cross my view…and guess what? One did. I witnessed a Greater Yellowlegs enjoying his afternoon meal.
Stay tuned for more shorebirds to come!! Cant wait 🙂