So, I had always heard about Walden, CO … a small town in Jackson County. It’s other claim to fame is the self-proclaimed title of the “Moose Capital of Colorado”, boosting hundreds of them. I certainly hoped that we would see some moose, but our purpose on this trip was not the moose, but rather an Endangered Species, but more on that in the next blog post.
So off we went, my good friend Amy and I, on our adventure. It was my first trip there, so I had no idea what to expect. It was about a 4+ hr drive, but with us, it tends to take longer. You guessed it … lots to see along the way, therefore lots of photo stops. LOL
It wasn’t long before we started seeing lots of deer … often crossing the road in front of us, but sometimes just hanging out on the snow covered landscape along the way.
It wasn’t just the deer either … we came across several groups of wild turkeys. It was such a cool sight to see this tom turkey chasing one of his ladies. LOLThe herds of elk were much more elusive and stayed relatively higher except for a herd that was crossing a field down low.One of my favorite sightings is a northern harrier (as some of you know) so when I saw these two fly by, soaring over the field, I was thrilled. Funny, but to me they almost seem to be holding hands … or should I say … wings. ❤Other birds witnessed along the way were the ever abundant horned larks …… and a personal favorite of mine, the American dipper. Once we arrived into Walden, we drove around the area to see what we could see. Canada geese were plentiful everywhere, and it was quite a thrill to see several northern pintails.In addition to that there were also northern shovelers… so very pretty.Pied-billed grebes were also plentiful … and they were sporting their breeding plumage.Then the white pelicans flew in and sort of stole the show. In Florida, we got our share of white pelicans, as well as brown pelicans, but we never got the white pelicans in their breeding plumage. See the horn on their bill? That is present when they are ready to breed and then afterwards they lose them.The pelicans worked with much effort and speed to feed in the waters.Probably one of the more interesting observations with these pelicans was the interaction between 3 of them. One was clearly in the lead and when it would change course, the two immediately following changed course. The two following would also get quite aggressive with each … challenging and snapping beaks.Finally, one of the two grabbed the first one by the neck and thrashed it left to right and then eventually straight down into the water, while the other simply watched. Not sure what that was about … but I have my hunch. :-OLater the two were swimming together notably alone. I just love how for “white birds” they are quite colorful and full of detail.Driving down a dirt road, we came across this lovely hawk. It was calling out repeatedly in what could only be compared to as a red-tailed hawk call. However, this wasn’t a red-tailed hawk, but rather a Swainson’s hawk. It was then that I realized how similar their calls sounded. It was quite persistent too … calling over and over.During our travels we came across a pair of American kestrels, which I believe might have been beginning to prepare their nest. The pair were flying around and announcing their territory. Isn’t the male just gorgeous?Now one of the star raptors always is the golden eagle and there was no shortage of them. Quite beautiful in flight as they make their way past us over the landscape.Being that Tom and I have been doing a lot of raptor observation lately, I knew right away from its field marks, that this was indeed another golden sighting.Of course, there were a variety of birds spotted throughout the sagebrush landscape.Some were even showing off for the camera. 🙂We then headed back to the lake and found several otters playing … of course, they were a bit camera shy and headed out for a more distant view.We also found muskrats and beavers in an adjoining waterway. The surface of the water was like glass and as such the beaver’s head had a perfect reflection whether it was coming or going.Well you can’t come to Walden and not look for moose, right? OK, so we did eventually do that, but at first I had to get some beautiful mountain bluebird poses and images. Is there any prettier bird out there?So we did finally get our moose sightings … about 5 if I remember correctly. Early spring moose are not that exciting, as the bulls have already lost their antlers and re-growth hasn’t started. Also, they tend to be more secretive and deep into the brush foraging for food.The sunset was also fabulous and I think, the perfect way to end this blog post. There was so much seen and photographed. Too much to include everything in this post, so forgive me for not sharing it all. Yes, Walden is a magical place.
Next Up: The main attraction in Walden … i.e. Why we went. 🙂
© 2018 TNWA Photography / Debbie Tubridy