Thursday, December 6, 2012
Field Notes 11.16.12
The San Luis Valley is really a large place and we have ranged over a better part of it during our one-year odyssey to see as many birds as we can in the Valley. So far we have seen over 180 birds. On this field trip we went to the western alluvial plain below the Crestone Needles. Following the trail guide in the Rawinski we headed up Hwy.17 to the Black Canyon.
As we drove north we saw sandhill cranes loafing in a field east of the highway. We also saw a red-tailed hawk diving at unseen prey and pronghorns racing across the chico. As we turned east across Saguache County Road G we saw a golden eagle flying on a thermal and a peregrine falcon sitting on a pole. We drove north on a rugged dirt track to the Black Canyon trailhead. Many horned larks darted across the road and disappeared in the brush. Ravens cawed across the sky and magpies dropped in and out of trees. The trail continues to Orient Mine, where during summer evenings large numbers of Mexican free-tailed bats leave the mine in a spectacular scene that thrills spectators.
We drove over rugged tracks and dirt roads until we found ourselves heading back down Hwy. 17.