Saturday, November 24, 2012

Audubon Bird Walk

Had a great opportunity this morning to get outside, stretch my legs a bit and take some pictures without spending a ton of time in the car. The Audubon Society of Greater Denver had their monthly bird walk at Chatfield State Park. After getting some terrific shots there last Sunday, I looked forward to going back for more. And doing it in the company of some folks from whom I could learn a bit more about the local avians.

I'm no expert, so a rope and bicycle tire might be exactly the right gear to have on hand in an ice rescue situation.  Still, I was glad that the weather had been warm enough that there was no reason to put it to the test.

The best light of the day was unfortunately right at 8 a.m. when we got started.  Once the sun had risen a bit it spent the rest of the morning firmly behind a large bank of clouds that seemed to be settled directly above us, with blue skies to the east and west.

The drab mud flats along the shore of the reservoir seemed to perfectly mirror the gray clouds just like the open water reflected the sliver of blue sky.

Black-capped Chickadee
My photo gear was woefully inadequate to get any pictures of the waterfowl we observed.  Many folks on the walk had sweet high-powered sighting scopes, and even with them you often had to settle for a small, distant view of your subject.  I had slightly better luck when we spent some time looking for land birds, like this Black-capped Chickadee.

American Robin
A small flock of American Robins was having a bit of a feast in a Chokecherry tree.  I had no idea that the white face and throat markings on these two were perfectly normal, and not representative of some sort of variant.

The cloud cover never did break in the four hours we were out.  But even though the landscape looked a bit bleak and miserable the temperatures were at least fairly warm.  Even saw four bald eagles lazily circling over the dam.  I'm not sure I'll ever have the passion to be a true "birder," but knowing more about what I might see or hear while I'm out on a hike definitely helps lead to a greater appreciation of it!

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