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Daddy’s Day Out

02/07/2013

My parents are in town this week for my daughter’s 3rd birthday, so I took advantage of the situation and snuck out with the Thursday Birders trip to Tingley Beach.  There was a large group, maybe more birders than species, but I got to add a life bird to my list, a double crested cormorant. Since I was out I thought that I’d stop by the Rio Grande Nature Center to try and see the Peregrine Falcon, but it wasn’t around.  After the Nature Center I stopped at Los Poblanos Open Space to see another Western Screech Owl but ended up walking all around the farm and seeing the best birds of the day there.

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I stopped to see this hawk sitting in an old gas station sign in Old Town before I even got to Tingley Beach

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Great Blue Heron that may have been looking for nesting sites

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Northen Pintail

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Double Crested Cormorant among the usual Neotropic Cormorants at the fishing ponds

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Male Common Goldeneye 

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I got really close to the female Goldeneye

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And there she goes! 

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This Porcupine was awake and very close to the fishing ponds eating this tree, highlight of the morning.

After I left Tingley Bosque I went to the nature center.  There were lots of the usual suspects, but no Peregrine Falcon.

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Cackling Geese, not Canada Geese.  Notice the shapes of the head and beak, much more compact than a Canada Goose.

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Female Common Merganser at the Nature Center pond. I was sure that I had seen an eared grebe; oh well, still a good looking bird. 

I left the nature center and had the okay to stay out longer, so I decided to try and track down a Western Screech Owl at Los Poblano Open Space park.  I had never been there before, but I had an idea of where it was.  But wow was this place big.  I ended up crisscrossing the place until I was in the right spot, but I got to see some really good birds before then.  I was actually running low on battery, but couldn’t turn my camera off in case I missed something.

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This is my photo of the day.  It’s a Red-Tailed Hawk getting attacked by a Northern Harrier.  

You can see a couple of feathers floating to the left.

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Here they are after another pass, this time without contact. 

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The Red-Tailed Hawk ended up flying into a tree and the Harrier Landed on the ground.

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I never got close enough to a Greater Roadrunner to notice this orange color behind the eye before.

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And I rarely see more than 1 Roadrunner at a time and here are 2 of them together.  I saw a total of 4 at the Open Space.

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The Red-Tailed Hawk from earlier took off and met up with this dark-morph RTH and they flew off circling together.  I’ve seen a dark-morph earlier this summer in the same area, so maybe this is the same one?  It could even be a Harlan’s Hawk for all that I know.

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I couldn’t tell if there were lots of American Kestrels in the area, or if 1 was just flying around different places.  But here is a female eating a catch between hunting flights.  I got to watch lots of hunting going on, which was awesome.  At one point I was sitting there watching this Kestrel, the Harrier, the RTH and a Roadrunner all in the same field with some Sandhill cranes.

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This Say’s Phoebe was doing it’s part in reducing the bug population.

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While looking for the Owl’s box I noticed a Brown Creeper!  I don’t know much about them, I just know that someone was really excited to see one last year during the GBBC.

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Finally, I found the Western Screech Owl and got it to take a peek outside of it’s box.  This is the second one that I’ve seen in the last 2 weeks.  

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And what do I see in the next tree over, another Creeper!  It didn’t mind that the owl was there at all, and it even hopped around the box.  I would have thought that they would be weary of becoming lunch.

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Here are some of the Meadowlarks that were flying around the fields in a flock.  There were at least 30 in one big group.

 And apparently that’s an unusual number because ebird didn’t believe me when I reported it.

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And here is another crazy shot.  Two Kestrels sitting right next to one another.  

I’m pretty sure that they were still talking about the Ravens winning the Super Bowl, I can’t believe it either, gross. 

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And there goes one!

And there I go.  What a good day. I don’t think that I added any birds towards my challenge.  But I was in the Sun all day and got to see some great birds, and enjoy some peace and quiet.  But my parents go back to the Burgh on Saturday and they will be missed by me and the kids until Summer. Thanks for letting me get away!

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