Sunday, April 29, 2018

A Fun Birthday Weekend



Well, the stars all aligned and I ended up with 3 days to celebrate my birthday! So on Friday, I got up a bit earlier to take Hazel for a hike. Before the hike, we headed over to check on my owl friends. I knew one of the owlets was ready to leave the nest and I love to get first morning pics after they have left the nest. So I hustled down the path to see what was going on. I could only see one owlet in the nest but it took awhile to spot the one who had left...




Finally, after searching the surrounding trees, I spotted owlet #1. I could see I had a better shot at a good pic if I got over to the back path. so I made my way over and was rewarded with this shot! A great way to start my birthday weekend!

 


Sonny was close by enjoying the morning sun!



As I headed back to the car, I heard a familiar sound of the spotted towhee!



Hazel and I had a fun hike over at Coot lake, then I spent the rest of the day getting errands done so that left Saturday free for a big hike!

I decided to go check out Lion Gulch trail. I hadn't been there in over 15 years when Mollydog and I hiked it. It had just recently reopened as it too had been decimated by the 2013 floods. The fun thing about this trail is that is goes to old homesteads from the early 1900's. So Hazel and I headed out for a fun day!










I was quite sad to see how the first few homesteads had deteriorated over time. So the sign saying do no damage was a bit ironic.....


This cute chipmunk wanted to say hi....


We checked out the walker and Griffith homesteads.....


Next time up, I'd like to check these out as I've never hiked in that far...




  This pine squirrel said hi.......




The spring wildflowers are just getting started.....





Whew! What a fun and butt kicking hike that was! Took us about 5 hours and we covered about 7.5 miles! You could still see lots of devastation from the floods but it was a fun hike for sure! 

Now it's Sunday! My favorite day to go photographing! With coffee in hand, I headed out to Barr lake! First I checked to see if any burrowing owls were on Piccadilly Rd but I struck out.
So I drove into the park and headed towards the barn owl nesting box. On the way, the red tailed hawk posed nicely!










                                                             
The nest box was empty..... 

So I doubled back to head for the gazebo and spotted this immature bald eagle!



A small bird was dive bombing him....







The robins were everywhere but I never get tired of seeing them and hearing their sweet song!



Same with the song sparrows, everywhere singing their hearts out!











There are quite a few coots too! And I got my reflection shot before the wind kicked up!



The killdeer put on a nice show taking a morning bath!






Yes! I was hoping to see the yellow headed blackbirds!



 I got to the gazebo where you can just make out the bald eagle nest on the west side of the lake! The snow covered mountains made a nice backdrop......




I was hoping to see the western grebes courting and dancing on the water. Bummer, all I saw were the pelicans........



This is a female red winged blackbird




And I do love seeing the wrens!





This yellow headed blackbird chose a tree over the cat tail reeds to sing his song!


I was almost back to the parking lot when a flock of blue winged teals flew by. It's part of their courtship, that one female and a group of males fly around. How she chooses her mate, I have no idea! But it's cool to see!


I was done at Barr lake, so I headed over to look for the swains hawks and maybe burrowing owls too. No luck! The swainson nest on Trussville Rd was gone! We had 80 mph winds last week so maybe that was the reason? Also no burrowing owls in the area either.
Oh well, I decided to drive the DIA loop and just as I was coming to Tower road, I spotted a few hawks flying around! Sweet! Swanson's hawks! There were about 6-7 soaring around looking for breakfast!







I was planning to head home but decided to go check on my owl friends. I got word the second owlet was also out of the nest and hanging with owlet #1. I figured it was worth a shot at getting a pic or two if they were in a good spot for pics!
I headed down the back path and couldn't believe my luck! There they were in a perfect spot for pics! Luckily other people out to see the owlets were not aware of the back path and the great views of the kids. So they just got a glimpse of the owlets through the branches.......





Well, it was a very fun birthday weekend! To start it and finish it with owlet pics was fantastic! My friend Georgia and I like to name the owlets. This year we decided on Minnie and Mickey! Stay tune for owlet updates as they learn to fly and hunt throughout the summer.
Thanks for reading!