Sunday, February 19, 2012

Field Notes 2.15.12

 We took a special trip out the Monte Vista NWR with our son Reed, who drove down from Denver for a visit. All his life Reed had heard us talk about the sandhill cranes, but growing up in Colorado Springs he hadn’t had the opportunity to see them. We timed our twilight field trip perfectly and were rewarded with waves and waves of sandhill cranes, Canada geese and ducks soaring in and landing on the open water. Rather than trying to identify waterfowl species, we instead enjoyed the big picture – the vast skies of the San Luis Valley, the glorious hues of the Sangre de Cristos at sunset and the bustling commotion of hundreds of birds. We took time to observe two bald eagles sharing a meal of what we presumed was once a duck, now reduced to feathers and gore spread across the ice.  On the auto route we saw a hawk sitting on a kill while a prairie falcon (which was probably trying to reclaim its dinner) swooped and dived at the much bigger hawk. Several nearby mule deer were oblivious to the raptor drama. Thanks for sharing a fantastic evening with us, Reed!

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