Just looking around in Estes Park.

It was time. I needed a mountain fix, no matter that it was 3 degrees here at the house. I packed a bit of food, water, my camera gear, plenty of winter supplies and after dropping my daughter off at school headed up the Big Thompson Canyon toward Estes Park.

My plan was to roughly follow Scott Roderer’s driving route in his book Birding Rocky Mountain National Park. I’d birded Estes a bit before, but never really followed a route.
Near McGregor Ranch I found this Golden Eagle waaayyy out in a field having a meal of some sort, being harassed of course by Ravens, Crows and Black-billed Magpies.
Not finding much along the northern side of town, I continued the route and took a look through a friend of mine Scott Rashid’s neighborhood. It is listed in the above mentioned book as good to check for feeder birds such as Gray-crowned Rosy Finches and Evening Grosbeaks. I found none of those, but it was trash day in the neighborhood and these Raven’s knew it all too well.
Leaving the neighborhood I headed over to Mary’s Lake. There were about a dozen Common Goldeneye on it. The lake stays open all year because the water is pumped from the other side of the mountain and stays warm I guess.I checked out the YMCA of the Rockies, that is supposed to have good feeders, but any feeders I found were empty, so no birds there. I then went up to a tiny lake that is where the tunnel water originally comes out. It housed about 8 Common Goldeneye ducks that were harassing each other constantly.As I was watching these ducks, I began to hear a cacophony of Mountain Chickadee and Pygmy Nuthatch calls coming from a ponderosa pine behind me. So I left the duck show and walked over to check out what was happening. The pine was up on the hill, so it was tough photographing, but there were at least 15 Mountain Chickadees and a half a dozen Nuthatches. I wasn’t able to get a decent photo of the Pygmys but the chickadees dropped right at my feet to pick up seeds they dropped. They were so close at times I couldn’t focus on them.On my way out from the lake I came upon this Mountain Cottontail in the sun. At first glance I only was worthy of one-eared attention. I love this. I kept enough distance so as to not disturb the creature..And as I walked past, she gave me her best smile.
For a Rabbit, it’s all ears.

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2 Responses to Just looking around in Estes Park.

  1. Amy says:

    Looks like you had an awesome day. You know I love your RMNP posts. 🙂 I’ve never been there in winter – hopefully some day. The cottontail is too cute!!!

  2. DaveABirding says:

    Nice looking morning.

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