Monday, February 16, 2009

Just in case you're wondering........

No, I didn't vanish off the face of the earth. :D   My reputation for the past couple of years has been that I can show up in unexpected places quite suddenly and without warning.  
Most of the birders in WI don't even blink an eye if I turn up in Sheboygan, Duluth, Milwaukee or some weird place like that.  So, holding to my reputation, I am now sitting in a hotel room in Green River, Utah. Talk about unexpected places. lol :D 

My Aunt in St George, UT isn't well and isn't expected to be with us much longer, so my family and I decided to leave for Utah on a moment's notice.   We left on Sunday morning and drove through to North Platte, NE. A distance of about 700 miles (yes we cover a lot of ground).  Along the way, I picked up 4 year birds.  Redhead Duck, Prairie Falcon (kiting right over the interstate), Snow Goose and Ross's Goose.  The geese were impossible to miss, considering that we saw roughly 5-8000 of them between Kearney and North Platte. North Platte by the way is where the Rowe Audubon sanctuary is (for those who aren't familiar, Rowe Sanctuary is where hundreds of people come in a few weeks to see the thousands of migrating Sandhill Cranes). 
I also managed to pick up a further 4 year birds today in the form of Black-billed Magpie, Red-winged Blackbird (yea, I know), Cackling Goose and a single Cassin's Finch just outside of Denver. 

Again, we saw roughly 3-5000 Snow and Ross's Geese today.  Unfortunately, we have been in such a hurry, that I haven't had time to stop and get many photos.  
Stopped at Lake "Mac" in Ogallala. Saw a few Herring Gulls and many Common Mergansers. Nothing else. 

We did stop at the top of Loveland Pass (around 11,800ft ish I think) but there were a lot of people there with several dogs along with blowing winds and I wasn't equipped to go hiking a long ways so I skipped White-tailed Ptarmigan until we return that way next week. 

For the first time ever, I drove all the way through Colorado without seeing a single Mountain Chickadee, Steller's Jay or Clark's Nutcracker. That's almost pathetic!  Did pick up a lone Pine Siskin though and a Black-capped Chickadee in Denver.  
What was surprising was the temperature. It hit 57 degrees in Denver, 26 at the top of Loveland Pass and 55 again in Grand Junction.  By Thurs, it's supposed to hit nearly 60 degrees in St George! Incredible.  I hope it's warmer at home when we get back. 

I'll be posting photos from yesterday and today sometime tomorrow if I get a chance. 

Happy Birding! 

1 comment:

Tim Hajda said...

Rowe Sanctuary is actually in Gibbon, NE (13 miles east of Kearney). North Platte has a lot of staging cranes, too, but not near as many as there are between Grand Island and Kearney. Rowe is an amazing place, I LOVE volunteering there!

I'm exceedingly jealous of that ptarmigan...grrr....