Sunday, July 1, 2012

Field Notes 7.1.12

 Sparrows Galore 

Our field trip today took us into the beautiful Conejos River Canyon southwest of Antonito and up over La Manga Pass at over 10,000 feet. We turned off at Forest Service Road 114 to La Manga Creek Trail. Our first two sightings were sparrows – a white-crowned sparrow and a Savannah sparrow. A bit further down the trail we spotted a new bird for us – a warbling vireo. We continued along the trail for about 1 ½ miles, enjoying the scenery and numerous bird sightings including red-winged blackbirds, American robins, northern flickers, a hairy woodpecker, male and female western tanager, Clark’s nutcrackers and some high-flying swallows. We also caught a glimpse of a duck family, mother and fuzzy babies, on a beaver pond. Overhead we spotted turkey vultures and common ravens. 

We returned to Hwy. 17 and continued west to Trujillo Meadows Reservoir State Wildlife Area. After a picnic at the lake we hiked along the shore trail. While examining a Lincoln’s sparrow we startled a baby spotted sandpiper. It squawked and squawked and ran up and down the bank. Finally its mother returned and calmed down the poor frightened baby.   

Pretty white-crowned sparrows were abundant during this mountain terrain field trip.

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