Monday, December 16, 2013

The Christmas Count

It's something I've never done before, the Audubon Christmas Bird Count, and yesterday was a perfect day for walking through squeaky snow and looking for birds.

We started at ACES in Aspen. There were the expected visitors:

Canadian Geese


and some unexpected visitors

a Merganser

and, most impressive, a loon

We split up into teams of 4 and started driving down valley. Our group stopped at different wetlands along the way. We saw a lot of the usual suspects, Robins, Doves, Ravens, Crows, Magpies, Red-Tailed Hawks, Cedar Waxwings, Townsend's Solitaires, Chickadees ; and the unexpected including a Kingfisher and a Snipe, yes, a Snipe. 22 different species in all. 

One of my favorites is the the Water Ouzel aka "dipper". These little guys just sit by the water's edge and dive in for dinner. They communicate through eye blinking when the sound of the river is too loud for singing.

Here's a little video of the dipper dipping on the Roaring Fork river

We all got a Christmas present for our last sighting. There were two birds swooping over the river (one of them stooped like a falcon but we never got a close enough look for a clear ID) and as we were watching in come these two Golden Eagles. They weren't our first eagles of the day, but they were posing rather pretty on that rock outcropping.

I tried to get the video going on the camera but I wasn't fast enough this is all I got.

It was still a nice way to end the day.