Raptors, Foxes & Migrants

Shortly before Mike got home, I stopped in Lyons to see if the Golden Eagle nest we watched last year was active. As soon as I turned into Meadow Park, I got my answer as the Eagle flew low overhead! Another birder pointed out the new and presumably improved 2011 nest location, in which we have since seen a nesting adult.

Golden Eagle

The same birder had also seen four American Dippers in the stream at Meadow Park, which surprised me because I thought they preferred higher elevations. We confirmed her sighting, spotting two of the busy Ouzels on another day. Her last tidbit was a Bald Eagle Nest just down the road.

Bald Eagle in nest

Since I was heading to Boulder anyway, I made a slight detour to check it out. I found the nest easily, as another photographer had it in his sights. He told me about a Great Horned Owl nest near Boulder, so off I went to see my third raptor nest of the day.

On a subsequent outing, we also discovered a large Great Blue Heron rookery off of Hygiene Road, and monitoring these three nests sites has kept us busy.

Great Blue Herons nesting
Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl owlets

We've also expanded our avian treasure hunting to some new Colorado front range locales including Lagerman Reservoir, Pella Crossing, Crown Hill Park, Golden Pond and most recently the Grandview Cemetery in Fort Collins where we had a close encounter with a Red Fox.

Red Fox at Grandview Cemetery

Oh, and speaking of foxes, the Fort Collins den we watched last year is active again! Four adorable kits were out and about when we happened by one afternoon.

Red Fox and kit outside their den
Afterward we strolled through the Environmental Center Trails, which which we shared with a high school track team. Needless to say, we did not spot a lot of birds, but Mike did spot our first Blue-winged Teals.

Blue-winged Teal
Back home again, we've been pleased to learn that Lake Estes has quite a lot to offer, especially as the Spring migration gets underway in April. With the assistance of new binoculared acquaintances we've made along the way, we've been spotting more and more local and migratory birds.

Our life list is up to 233 with the addition of the Willet, which we saw on the last day of the month while helping with a trash clean up around the Lake.

Greater Yellowlegs and Willet near Lake Estes

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