Those Were My Favorites, Jackie

Despite the fact that I often see Great Blue Heron and Osprey in the Puget Sound Area and I rarely see the Eastern Kingbird, Blue Jay, or the Western Wood-Pewee, my favorite shots of the day were this one of a Great Blue Heron building a nest on the top of a very tall tree    

Great Blue Heron Building Nest

and of a pair of Ospreys in a nest with a young chick.

Osprey Pair with Chick

I am well aware that Great Blue Herons nest in trees; there are even several rookeries in the Puget Sound Area, but I’ve never personally seen them.

I have seen several Osprey Nests, but I have never seen one with both parents, much less with a chick.  It doesn’t hurt that it’s a classic family pose, either.

Thanks, Jackie

During our visit to Tyson’s family we happened to have dinner with Jackie, Jen’s sister,  to celebrate her birthday and she mentioned that she was starting to bird and that Jen had referred her to my web page.  A couple of days later she called and asked if we would like to go birding with her to a spot where I had never birded (there are a lot of places like that in Colorado).  We agreed to meet the next morning.  

It turned out to be a great place to bird with a wide variety of birds, like this Eastern Kingbird, 

Eastern Kingbird

this Eurasian Collared-Dove,

Eurasian Collared-Dove

a personal favorite, this Blue Jay (not a Stellar, Scrub, or Canada jay —sometimes referred to as Blue Jays by non-birders), 

Blue Jay

and this Western Wood-Pewee, a bird I wouldn’t have recognized if it hadn’t been called out by a better birder than I am (and confirmed by Merlin).  

Western Wood-Pewee

Surprisingly, these weren’t my favorite sightings of the day.

A Campout at Granby Lake

As the grandkids get older, it’s harder and harder to get together with them all at one time.  We did get to see Tyson, Jen, Logan, Zoe, and Sydney Saturday evening and Sunday, but Logan and Zoe both had summer jobs and Tyson couldn’t take time off since the family was going to Costa Rica right after our visit. 

Since Jen had a reservation at Granby Lake before we told her we were coming, we decided to join her and Sydney for a three-day camping trip.  After a quick visit to local stores to get some cold weather gear, we headed out on Monday. I thought I’d visited most of Colorado on my many trips over the last 18+ years, but I had never visited this area before.

We got a campsite right on the lake.

Granby Lake from the campsite

The picnic table at our site was the perfect place to visit and to

sit and watch the Pelicans


and Osprey that visited several times while we were there.

Osprey overhead

My favorite birds, though, were the White-Crowned Sparrows 

White-Crowned Sparrow

serenading throughout the campground. 

The biggest thrill of our visit, though, came on a visit to a nearby area on our second day there. We spotted a moose feeding in the shadiest spot we saw all day.  

Young Moose eating in the shade

We waited around hoping it would move out of the shade, and I would have gotten a great shot if this lady hadn’t walked closer to get a good snapshot with her phone.  

Tourist and moose

Apparently she was a lot braver — or more foolish — than I was.  I was using a 1000mm lens and this was as close as I wanted to get to a moose, even if it was a young one without antlers.  I just hoped I wasn’t going to witness one of those scenes where tourists are attacked by animals because they’re too close and the animal feels threatened.

An even bigger thrill was awaiting us further down the trail.  Other visitors pointed out this moose and calf a few yards off the trail in very dense brush.  I got glimpeses of them but neither I nor my fancy camera could ever quite get them in focus.

Blurry shot of moose and calf

It was a thrilling moment, photograph or no photograph.

A Last Look at Bear River

We didn’t get to see the baby Grebes, Avocet chicks, or Black-necked Stilt chicks we went to Bear River to see, but we did see a lot of ducklings, like this (I think) Gadwall and her brood,  

Mother duck and brood

lots and lots of Canada Goose goslings (this is my favorite shot of far too many),

Canada Goose with Goslings

and, most exciting of all, this Long-billed Curlew chick as we were leaving the refuge.

Long-Billed Curlew chick

I had to take the shot through the windshield so the picture is blurrier than I’d like, but I’ve never seen one before so I’ll keep this shot until I get a better one.  The only reason I’m sure it is a Curlew chick is that the parent nearly flew through our windshield as this little guy ran down the road right in front of our very slow-moving car (not a survival strategy I’d suggest for other Curlew Chicks, by the way}.

I’d love to say that I got this shot of the parent as it tried to distract us,

Long-billed Curlew

but that would be a lie. I was so focused on the chick and the whole thing happened so fast with the parent flying back and forth and up and down that I couldn’t manage to get a single shot.  This shot was taken further down the road when we spotted a couple of Curlew and they, too, circled us protesting very loudly.  There might very well have been chicks nearby, but I wasn’t going to stop in the middle of the highway long enough to find them.

Since we never plan a trip just to Bear River (it’s a stop on the way to seeing Tyson’s family in Colorado), we never quite know what to expect when we get there, but we’re seldom disappointed (except the late-summer visit when there were way more mosquitoes than there were birds).

Ending this visit with the first-ever sighting of a Curlew chick made it a memorable visit.