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Any amateur ornithologists out there?

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Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby Alpine » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:26 pm

I like to continue to add to all my knowledge and skills base, and for a year or two have focused a bit on learning my birds.

Often I will take my lunch hour and go out to one of several nearby Open Space areas and walk and look. I saw a first for me today - Bohemian Waxwings, a group of 30-40, at Marlatt Ponds/Pella Crossing.

I have lived in CO for well over 40 years and never knew we had those here. At first I thought they were Cedar Waxwings but when I got back to my car and looked at my Sibleys book, they were clearly Bohemian. Maybe there were both?

Anyway, for me it was pretty cool.

Anyone else?
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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby EatinHardtack » Fri Feb 15, 2013 5:29 pm

Contact Oman, he may know a thing or two.

My dad and I are both birders, we compete against each other every year to see as many unique birds as possible. He always beats me.

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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby Oman » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:02 pm

Bohemian waxwing -- beautiful bird. And a really good find for Colorado. Congrats! They usually winter north of us in places like Montana, Minnesota, and Washington.
Image
(Not my pic)

There's been weird irruptions of northern birds in to Colorado the last two winters. Last winter we got a bunch of snowy owls (Harry Potter's Hedwig) on the Eastern Plains, including several around Barr Lake and one at Aurora Reservoir:
Image
(not my pic)

This winter Colorado has had a mini-invasion of redpolls, including the state's first hoary redpolls, in Fort Collins, Fraser, and Kremmling. Here's one I saw a few weeks ago near Fraser:
Image


Good birding!

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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby JE242 » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:06 pm

Beautiful shots! I love the waxwing.

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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby Oman » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:14 pm

P.S. If you want to track where people are seeing birds, check out ebird.org, a worldwide site run by Audubon and the Cornell Ornithology Lab. Looks like there have been a bunch of Bohemians seen lately near McIntosh Reservoir in Longmont, plus some in Estes Park and some in Boulder. Here's a link:
http://ebird.org/ebird/map/bohwax?neg=true&env.minX=&env.minY=&env.maxX=&env.maxY=&zh=false&gp=false&mr=1-12&bmo=1&emo=12&yr=1900-2013&byr=1900&eyr=2013

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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby Dancesatmoonrise » Fri Feb 15, 2013 6:35 pm

My cat used to be quite the bird watcher. :-D

I mean, really. She never could catch them, but she'd spend hours in fascination watching them. It was hard to figure out who wanted me to restock the bird feeder more - Tasha, or the birds. They would literally come and bang the thing around like your black lab dragging his empty food bowl.


Those are some beautiful shots.

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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby GeezerClimber » Fri Feb 15, 2013 7:11 pm

We had a bunch of Bohemians once when I lived in Franktown years ago.

This year, we seem to have a larger than usual number of bald eagles along the Arkansas river. One drifted by my window the other day and about jumped out of my skin.

Bird watching is great fun. I used to be really into it, compiling lists and so forth. Now I just enjoy.

We had a great sight of a female peregrine while on Capitol's summit in late August. That was a treat.

Dave

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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby Alpine » Fri Feb 15, 2013 9:33 pm

Yeah - for me just one more way to enjoy my time outdoors.



Mark- Thanks for posting that website - I will check it out.

Dave - I get to see Bald Eagles regularly here around Longmont.
"You know I've always loved you...and you know I always will." Third Day

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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby rocky » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:25 pm

The Great Backyard Bird Count is going on this weekend. Anyone can get involved - it can take as little as 15 minutes, or you can dedicate as much time as you'd like.

Here is the website link - you'll find everything you need to take part: http://www.birdsource.org/gbbc/

Our backyard count (over the past 7 years) is up to 57 species. This winter, we seem to be hosting the entire state population of Rosy Finches. They eat a lot of black-oil-sunflower seeds!

**a note to OMAN - your book inspired us to do what we call "The Big Yard" - as we'd never be able to afford to do a Big Year.
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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby jaymz » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:26 pm

Hudson Gardens in Littleton has some bird watching activities, from classes and bird walks to being able to check out a pair of binoculars and a bird watching guide. They also occasionally bring in trainers with live raptors.
Nice little place to walk around in town and do some amateur bird watching, and it's free to get in during the winter! Just beware of the hoards of Canadian geese :evil:

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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby nyker » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:28 am

ok, a bit far from you, but NYC has a surprising amount of wildlife, particularly raptors, which is what I focus on. I get some strange looks sometimes walking around with a tripod and spotting scope...one lady even called me a peeping tom when I was following a Kestrel nest near the ledge of a nearby building! :lol:

Red-Tailed hawks are the most "famous" here given the pair that nests on a super expensive apartment on 5th Ave overlooking Central Park; This photo I took (photo #1) while a juvenile (note yellow eyes) was devouring a pigeon (note blood on beak and feathered remains on branch near its feet).

Peregrine Falcons have been doing well here feasting on pigeons- this one I shot while flying over the East River downtown near Water Street. It's great to see these raptors here after almost becoming extinct 30yrs ago. Watching a Peregrine hunt over the East River soaring and diving at over 100mph is wild!

Many owls, including Screech owls (see photo) live in the park also, or winter here. This fellow was alarmed.
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Re: Any amateur ornithologists out there?

Postby nyker » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:36 am

And...here are a pair of American Kestrels, which built a nest opposite my apartment - very convenient for me to watch :-D
The male is the one eating a nice tasty sparrow.
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