In late fall/early winter, the Grand Valley area of western Colorado plays host to a variety of migrating birds. Of course, one of my favorites are the sandhill cranes. It’s not unusual to see groups of 1,000 or more in the early morning or pre-dusk hours, as they roost in the farmlands. Mostly we see adults, though sometimes you get a few teenagers.
Whenever I see sandhill cranes, I’m immediately taken back to one of my first encounters of fields of them, back at Creamer’s Field in Fairbanks, AK. There’s few sights or sounds as beautiful as congregating and celebrating sandhills. Don’t even get me going as to how fabulous they are when courting. 🙂Home in Colorado now, I’ve had my share of “new” birds. Now this doesn’t mean that these birds are “lifers” for me, but to have them share my immediate surroundings, has been a thrill. One of them that I take great joy in viewing is the Steller’s Jay. Such attitude it seems to possess with that fancy crested ‘do … I always stop to grab a shot or two when I see them.Often hanging out with the jays are the Clark’s Nutcrackers … also in the jay family, they’re quite social and beautiful as well.To say that I’ve seen my fair share of the Canada Goose is an understatement. Some days it seems as though every field or body of water is filled with them. I’ve delighted in watching and yes, hearing them as they arrive to any given lake or such. Calling out, organizing themselves in that V-formation that they’re known for, as well as performing acrobatic maneuvers as they approach their landing … it’s all been fascinating to be part of.Now perhaps I’ve seen snow geese before, but if I did I probably didn’t realize what they were. The snow goose has been a thrill to observe as well, though for the most part, I’ve found them to be a bit frustrating to photograph at a close proximity. LOL. Oh well, I’m sure that they don’t care.One day, though, they treated me to some nice captures. Just wished that they spread themselves out a bit. I just loved the way they swam about, walked the shoreline, preened themselves, and took floating naps on the waters surface. So very beautiful they were.Not a stranger to me was the pied-billed grebes which I see regularly in Colorado as well as I did in Florida.When the white-crowned sparrow is in the area, you cannot ignore or mistake its song, movement, or sight. Though I’ve seen them in FL occasionally, they seem to be everyday sightings here. The Western scrub jay, which is now referred to as the Woodhouse’s scrub jay, is another bird that I’ve taken a delight to. This particular one was taken on a very cold day, so it was a bit fluffed up, resembling more of a mountain bluebird! LOLNow all of these birds already shared doesn’t mean that there aren’t any 4-legged wildlife out in the area. How about this one? Honestly, it was one of the most beautiful (or handsome) coyotes I had ever seen. ❤One last look back at me before it trotted off into the wilderness. Loved it!Cousins to the bighorn sheep, only a smaller version, the desert bighorn sheep are always a fun way to spend a day. By now, the females have most likely dropped their young, so this shot reminds me that I need to return to the scene to check things out again.Of course this area is home to many herds of mule deer. This particular guy had one of the most fascinating, though quite odd, set of antlers. Has anyone ever seen anything like that before? I mean, within the mule deer?About an hour or so east of Fruita is the town of Rifle, CO, home to Rifle Falls State Park. Rifle Falls is a triple waterfall amidst the natural stone formations found in the area. So unique and quite a thrill to photograph when the frost forms on the accompanying rocks and vegetation.So, I hope that you enjoyed a peek into the beauty that surrounds me in western Colorado. As I now enter a 3rd season here, I can’t wait to see what the future holds. 🙂
Next Up: The San Juan Mountains
© 2018 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography