Continual Publicity in Colorado – 10,000 Birds


Earlier than the rest, a confession. A lot of the lifers I noticed in Denver had been named after (in)well-known folks, so Messrs. Say, Bullock, Brewer, and Cassin will lose their English namesakes within the not too long ago introduced renaming sport. To keep away from writing a non-woke publish I deliberate to say scientific names solely. After which I noticed the species names connected to the aforementioned gents’s avian namesakes and gave up… So, my try at political correctness has been thwarted by the 18th century guidelines of taxonomy. My honest apologies.

On the finish of final summer time, I needed to make a enterprise journey to Denver, Colorado. Not solely did my analysis present a whole lot of promising websites to go to, however I even have two good birding pals within the area, Laura and Brad. Younger, good folks with good eyes and ears, however Brad does have a nasty jinxing behavior. “Lifeless certs” – his phrases – by no means materialize. “No worries, we see these Cedar Waxwings on a regular basis in our backyard”. For sure, we by no means even noticed a cedar! Brad did take all the photographs for this publish to make up for his jinxing. I even have to say the truth that these photos are primarily of birds I didn’t see, however there’s nothing within the guidelines of 10,000 Birds forbidding that.

Having a number of days after my enterprise conferences, we checked out a number of birding spots close to the town. Denver is a mile excessive, and the locals make a giant deal of it. Nevertheless, for a Dutchman it appears form of acquainted – flat and densely populated with a lot of site visitors jams.

Denver has greater than its fair proportion of areas with a nuclear army historical past and we drove to the one nearest to the workplace, Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge. From 1952 to 1989 plutonium was used at Rocky Flats to fabricate triggers for hydrogen bombs. That’s arguably the scariest sentence you’ll ever learn in a birding weblog. The world is large, near the town and there’s a number of fascinating birding spots. eBird reveals the potential of 152 species. Neighbouring on the south facet of the Rocky Flats is a big housing growth with multi-million-dollar houses. Though Rocky Flats was dismantled and cleaned up, there’s nonetheless some controversy surrounding the previous nuclear weapons facility. We didn’t see a whole lot of curiosity and the controversy is outwardly essentially the most thrilling a part of the housing property – the structure actually isn’t. We most likely ought to have been there after sundown when the birds glow in the dead of night they usually’re simpler to search out.

One other former army complicated, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Nationwide Wildlife Reserve has only a few rocky mountains in it, nevertheless it does have two herds of American Bison, at the very least one Striped Skunk, a whole lot of deer and a tremendous variety of birds (278 species in eBird). It additionally lies subsequent to the airport which makes it a birding businessman’s ideally suited birding spot.

The park is a former US arsenal that has been rewilded. It has ponds, woods, and prairie meadows – it is vitally stunning and apparently barely radio-active. The prairie areas have Burrowing Owls amongst the bison and there’s Lark Buntings galore.

The ponds had been just about duck-less once we had been there because the geese had been moulting however there have been a whole lot of Black-crowned Evening-herons and waders like American Avocet. My lawyer requested me to emphasize that the duck moult was a pure course of and never linked to radio-activity. The wooded areas are superb for songbirds and I can think about that throughout the Spring and Autumn migration seasons the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR can be superb.

We spent a whole lot of time within the reserve and though there are facilities it is best to plan to carry water and meals. Or simply drive out and go to a restaurant close by.  It’s so conveniently near “civilisation” that on my final day in Denver, we had ample time to spend within the reserve earlier than my flight. My pals drove me to the airport the place I modified out of my birding garments into civilian apparel. Observe to self: subsequent time change within the bogs and keep away from humorous appears.

We didn’t simply fowl in glowing flatness – we visited the mountains too. The journey into the mountains, Fountain Creek and a brief go to to the Large Johnson (snigger) Reservoir can be coated in a future publish. Spoiler, up within the mountains a lifeless cert was ready for us: the beautiful Mountain Bluebird.

In fact, we by no means noticed it. Thanks Brad.

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