Theler’s Virginia Rails

If you want to spot Northern Harriers, Eagles, or Osprey at Theler Wetlands, you have to keep your eyes on the sky overhead. If you want to spot a Virginia Rail, you have to just the opposite — look down into the reeds that line the river bank and mud flats.

More often than not you hear them long before you see them. In fact, you probably hear them twice as often as you actually spot them. Often you will sense they are in the reeds, subconsciously noticing a slight movement in the reeds — a shadow moving through shadows.

If you’re lucky, and quick enough, you see them as they skirt the reeds,

scat through a thin stretch,

or poke their beak out into the sunshine for a particularly delicious snack.

Blue-Winged Teal

As I’ve repeated too many times, I’m sure, one of the real pleasures of birding is that when you visit different parts of the country you are apt to see birds you never see locally. On the last visit to Colorado, I got some great shots of spotted this male Blue-Winged Teal feeding in a shallow pond.

He was apparently so used to the constant stream of visitors to the lake that he surprised me by leaving the water and walking right past me.

This female Blue-Winged Teal with ducklings was a little shyer.

Not as exciting as seeing the baby Killdeer or seeing the juvenile Avocet, getting the best shot I’ve ever gotten of a Blue-Winged Teal capped our visit to Broomfield’s East Lake Shores Park.

Avocets in Colorado

After my disappointment at driving all the way to Utah to see the Avocets and finding nary a baby in sight, I was thrilled to find an Avocet just a few miles from Tyson and Jen’s house. On our visit to East Lake Shores Park I was greeted by an Avocet that landed right in front of me.

I spent several minutes photographing it feeding

and flying away.

When it flew away it flew right past another Avocet feeding, and when I focused on that Avocet I noticed it had a juvenile with it.

Although the juvenile wasn’t as young as those I’d hoped to see at Bear River, I enjoyed watching it forage while its parent stood guard nearby.

I can’t remember ever seeing an Avocet in Colorado before, much less one with a chick.