Then I discovered the prairie, and a slow healing began.

– Stephen R. Jones, The Last Prairie (2000), Ragged Mountain Press, Camden, ME

Prairie Sunrise
A friendly rancher’s sign to welcoming folks to enjoy his land. Birders are included, but not listed.
I participated in the Fort Morgan / Weldona Christmas Bird Count recently. I’ve been in Colorado a long time, but only in the last few years have gotten to know the prairie side of the state. It’s quite beautiful.
We walked down both sides of this draw, finding Virginia Rail, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Eastern Bluebirds.
Closer to the river we came upon this piece of handywork. Somebody’s been very, very, busy.
After covering the ranch we headed north into a wide open land. Mostly farmed, but we did find a few fields that weren’t. I think this was corn stubble.
The team I was with was very gracious about stopping for me to take pictures of interesting grasses.
And another.
We found this lovely Townsend’s Solitaire in a prairie neighborhood.
I also like taking pictures of nests I see. I wasn’t sure who made this one. One of you must know!
I was delighted by a lovely flock of Eastern Bluebirds who showed themselves in a Russian Olive tangle.

Can you see this fellow? I haven’t seen these birds very often here on the front range of Colorado. C’mon, can you see him? Ring-necked Pheasant eyeball.
We had some very interested observers, but they wouldn’t share the birds THEY saw so we could add them to the count.

A Goldfinch and a Pine Siskin extracting the last few seeds from these wild sunflowers.
HEY! Can we count THESE birds? They’re the state bird of Rhode Island after all.

I love Downy Woodpeckers. They’re always somewhere. This little bird was deep in the brushy tangle of some very large weeds tapping away.

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