Thursday, January 7, 2010

Buffleheads, Goldeneyes, Mallards & Canadians



My first gig as a volunteer for the Division of Wildlife was a success and fun as well. My task was to complete a waterfowl count on a golf course on the Southeast side of the Denver metro area. I really had little instruction from the DOW other than to show up before sunrise and to count all the different types of waterfowl I saw so I arrived on scene at about 6:20 am with binoculars and a handy dandy bird identification book. The book was necessary because other than Canadian geese and mallards I really can’t tell a duck from a buck.

This past Saturday I drove out to the golf course to familiarize myself with the area and check out what kind of waterfowl were there. That day the only birds I saw were Canadian Geese….and there were probably 500 or 600 of them all over the course. When I arrived on Tuesday morning I was surprised to find only about 100 Canadians in the area and they were all in the water. (Now that I’m an expert, I know that they spend the night on the water and during the day move to the fields to feed.)duck2

The golf course contains two different ponds and a creek that runs through the middle of the course so after I counted the geese at the main pond I walked around to the other pond and to the creek to see what might be there. When I got to the other pond I saw two other types of ducks/waterfowl that I hadn’t a clue as to what they were. I made some crude drawings on my notepad and headed back to my truck. After consulting the bird book I was still not sure about an identification and decided to go back to the pond and bring my camera as it was now light enough to get a picture and as they say “a picture is worth a thousand words for an old guy with CRS”

I got the pictures and on the way back to the truck again counted about 100 mallards along the creek. Fortunately between my drawings and the pictures…and the book I was able to identify the web footed flyers. In the picture above the smaller pair on the left are male and female Bufflehead and the larger pair on the right are male and female Common Goldeneye. I have never seen ducks like this before so I was thrilled at a new experience. By 8:30 am I had completed the count, drove home and completed my report which I faxed to the DOW office.

They must have liked my work because later that day I got an offer to help man the DOW booth at the International Sportsmen’s Exhibition this weekend in Denver. Unfortunately I can’t do that because on Saturday I’ll be driving down to Colorado Springs to attend another DOW orientation. At this meeting I’ll learn more about the opportunities to volunteer in Southeast Colorado. The orientation is two hours long and The Bride has agreed to come with me and then get some lunch in the Springs….which brings me to my next adventure.duck3

Readers know that I like to investigate off beat places and down home food like BBQ and burgers. It just so happens that I recently heard about an unusual burger joint in Colorado Springs by the name of Conway’s Red Top. This burger joint has been written up in a number of national publications and is famous for it’s 18” hamburger….That is correct. Eighteen inches across. That’s way more than I could probably consume but the experience will be worth the trip as I see it. The soups and stews are supposed to be killer items too. So check back in a couple of days and see how this adventure goes.

Thanks for visiting.

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