In early spring, we decided to take a day trip a bit northeast of our home in extreme western Colorado. Leaving early in the wee hours of the morning, we always hope to make some wildlife sightings along the way.
Yep, that we did … as we came across a herd of elk crossing a mostly barren landscape, though some snow was still hanging around.
Along the road we also spotted several raptors … including this beautiful red-tailed hawk perched in the tree and nicely exposed.Others were out flying and perching in nearby trees … with skill in their execution I might add.Others soar through the sky, searching their landscape for their next meal. I have been amazed that while many of our raptors are in fact red-tailed hawks, there is quite a variety of other raptors out here as well.Sometimes the best laid out plans don’t actually work out … especially in the winter season. So when we reached a “closed for the winter” sign on a road that we expected open, we knew that we had to alter our path. That of course, usually means something cool is coming up that we were intended to see.
All of this commotion was going on in the trees and upon closer inspection we realized that it was this beautiful song sparrow. Easy to see where they get their name from as their song is so varied and so sweet. Even the mockingbird, which is usually the skilled imitator, cannot imitate their song. Along the river, we spotted small wren-like birds darting up and back along the river’s surface. The fast moving water was quite cold and there was snow and ice along the bank … none of which appeared to bother the dipper.Steadily perched on the boulders in the water, the dipper looks for food consisting of insects, small fish, and fish eggs to dine on. I have to admire its stability in that cold rushing water as it gets splashed about by the action of the waves.It feeds by diving into the water and often swimming with beating wings through the depth of the water. Quite fascinating. This one was doing something totally different though, so we didn’t really know what was going on.When diving or otherwise submerging itself through the water, it has an additional eyelid which it uses. Quite amazing, and even creepy, to see. :-OEventually we watched it as it began to gather up algae and wet mosses and twigs from the bottow of the river and submerged rocks. Yep, it became abundantly clear to us that it was foraging for nesting materials. Now THAT was super cool to watch. Unfortunately when it would take the “building materials” under the nearby bridge so we could not play inspectors to how it was progressing. 😉But for sure the action was repeated over … and over … and over. Yep, as I said, fate has a way to alter our laid out plans and I never question it too much. I just keep my eyes open for the reason. It’s usually there. 🙂Next Up: Let’s take a trip to Northern Colorado
© 2018 TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy