Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Going to Colorado for a couple of days

I'll be in Colorado from Wednesday night through Friday night attending a family reunion. The reunion is at the Winter Park Lodge in Winter Park, at an elevation of roughly 12,000 feet. Obviously, I'll be birding as much as I can in between reunion activities. This won't be much of a problem, since we have a free day on the third. A lot of folks are going white water rafting, but my wife and my dad and his partner will probably go up to Rocky Mountain National Park to do some sightseeing. This will be my wife's first visit to the mountains, too, so that's exciting. It's been a long time since I birdwatched in Colorado - actually, this will be my second time, and it will be my first as an experienced birder. The first time I was there was on a family vacation when I was about 15 and I saw a lot of great birds but I didn't actually go looking for them, only saw them as encountered randomly while sightseeing with the family. I'm fairly sure that I saw a white-tailed ptarmigan that time, but I want to see one this time to be 100% sure. I don't have it on my list right now.

I went and looked at my eBird list to see what I had entered for Colorado, based on photos and memory. There are only 5 birds: Golden Eagle, Clark's Nutcracker, Black-billed Magpie, American Dipper and Mountain Bluebird (although I'm sure there's other birds on there I just didn't add, like Dark-eyed Junco which I know we saw). I should add significantly to that list this time out. In addition, my ABA list is at 388 right now (ebird says 389, but that's because they don't seem to have a good ABA filter right now - Black-hooded Parakeet isn't on the official ABA list yet). I think there's an EXCELLENT chance of hitting 400 on this trip. This is due to the fact that besides spending 2 whole days in the Colorado mountains, we had to fly into Kansas City because of airfare costs instead of flying into Denver. So we have about a 12 hour trip to and from Winter Park that will take us across the Colorado and Kansas plains, givining me a good chance at birds like Swallow-tailed Flycatcher, Say's Phoebe, Swainson's Hawk, and Ferruginous Hawk. I'll basically be plastered to the minivan window, staring out at the plains the entire time, hoping for one of these birds, as well as starting my Kansas list . . . A birder is never bored on a long car trip!

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