Living in Western Colorado has its advantages … one of them is that there never seems to be a shortage of places to look for landscapes, birds, or wildlife. Just a few hours from home provides endless opprtunities.
Like these sandhill cranes, that congregate in fields numbering in the thousands, as they migrate through in the winter months. It’s been wonderful seeing them, though I’m not going to lie, I sure miss the baby colts. 🙂
Speaking of congregating by the thousands, the Canada geese do the same! One day we watched them fly into an area park, doing aerial acrobatics as they prepared to land. I’m talking complete 360’s! Snow geese also migrate through which has been fascinating. A new bird for me was the greater white-fronted goose, seen below showing off and stretching out its wings for the crowds.While I thought that central Florida had its share of turkeys … but on the western slope, I’ve seen so many more! Recently, we came a cross a group with the displaying male running the females along. They are quite fascinating when they fly too.One of my favorite birds are now the mountain bluebirds. You can imagine my thrill when I spotted these 5 on the tops of a bare tree. True bluebirds of happiness for sure.Eagles also seem to be everywhere, whether they’re golden eagles or bald eagles.Some of the wildlife that call the area home are desert bighorn sheep, elk, moose, foxes, and other things, like the mule deer.Of all of them that I’ve photographed, I think I found this one the most amazing. I mean, look at those gigantic fuzzy ears! LOLEven the rabbits are so adorable.I have two more bird species that I’ve encountered that were new to me since moving out west. The first is the evening grosbeak, which is actually a rather large finch. the male, shown in the images, is such a beautifully colored bird. They feed on insects, saps, berries, seeds, and buds. This day, we encountered lots of them all gathered in a tree after some snow had fallen. So very wonderful to hear them singing up a storm and jumping around as they fed.The other new bird for me was actually a fascinating raptor, an owl … a very tiny owl … the northern pygmy owl. As the name implies … how small is this bird? … so small that we almost drove right past it. Thankfully we didn’t. A quick through the binoculars was all that it took to confirm our finding. Wow! We were quite pleased. Standing only 5-9 inches, it’s length is 7-7.5 inches and it only weighs just over 2 oz. This owl was quite the cooperative one too … giving us lots of eye contact, as it eyed the surroundings about it as it prepared to hunt. As we were photographing it, I couldn’t believe that we actually spotted it. As they say, sometimes when you’re not looking for something, you find it, or should I say … it finds you.Now when I first went to capture an image, this is what I saw. :-O My first impression was something like “what’s up with this one? Is it blind?” Of course, I quickly remembered that they possessed white-framed black dots on the back side of their head feathers, which are meant to resemble another set of eyes. OK, so this must be what our parents meant when they would tell us that they had eyes in the back of their head. LOLBut alas, it had the most brillant yellow eyes … where they should be … confirming our ade identity as it being a mature adult. Eventually, it must have spotted something too good to pass up, so it left its perch. It was a fabulous encounter. Just me, my friend Amy, and this beautiful raptor! Already looking forward to a reunion. 😉Hope that everyone enjoyed the blog post : stories and images
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© 2018 Debbie Tubridy / TNWA Photography