Monday, May 24, 2010

Plover Patrol - Part II (5/21/2010)

plov5 The last few days have been relaxed and interesting. The weather has settled down a bit and we’re on a warming trend. The forecast calls for mid 80’s today and mid 90’s tomorrow with just a small chance of rain or severe weather.

My days are a semi-regular and relaxed routine of driving to the nesting site every couple of hours and checking to make sure that nothing unusual or threatening is going on at the site. While there I watch for the birds and walk around the perimeter of the site. As a volunteer I’m not allowed to go into the site itself but stay at the perimeter. I normally spend an hour to an hour and a half watching and walking around. Then it’s back to the trailer for a cup of coffee, lunch or whatever.

Yesterday I was with the area biologist for a while and he took me into the nesting area a little ways so that I could get a better view of the Plovers. I really feel fortunate that I was able to get that “up close and personal” with such a rare bird. Unfortunately I did not have my camera with me so I didn’t get a good picture. I did get some pictures late in the day yesterday but they were shot at several hundred yards and the camera was hand held. I tried to do some computer magic on the pictures but there’s only so much you can do. The picture to the left is of a nesting pair. Keep in mind that last year there were only 12 individual birds in Colorado and this year only 10 are accounted for so the picture represents one fifth of the entire population of these birds in Colorado!

You will note that the sign at the top of the post also mentions the “Least Tern” this is another rare species. This species is on the Federal and State “Endangered” list which is a more critical designation than “Threatened”. I’m not sure I understand how the classification works because there are many more Least Terns in Colorado and the US than there are Piping Plovers?? I’m sure the government has an explanation though. I was able to see a number of Terns today but all were in flight and I couldn’t get a picture of them.plov9

Yet another unusual bird I have encountered is the Scaled Quail. These birds are not listed as “Threatened” or  “Endangered” but the Sibley Guide calls them “uncommon”. I was told that a severe winter several years ago almost wiped them out completely and they are just now beginning to re-establish themselves.

This area is really a mecca for birds. In addition to the rarer ones I’ve mentioned here I’ve seen dove, catbirds, fly catchers, oriels, swallows, sanderlings, ravens, turkey buzzards, grackles, robins, ducks, pelicans and a host of others.

There is a group of about 20-30 turkey buzzards that hang around the lake next to my campground. They appear to be very social and a couple of days ago I saw about 15 of them roosted in the same tree. In the afternoons when the wind starts to blow they climb into the wind and glide around in a group of 20-25. This afternoon while watching them I thought they looked like a flight of bombers just looking for a place to release their “loads”.

Two more days for this project and I’m headed home. These next two day could prove to be busy as the campground is filling up with campers and boats for fishing on the weekend. I also received a call today accepting me for another Forest Service, Passport In Time Project. This one is in June, in Nebraska and will make the second project I have accepted for June. More on that after I get home.

Thanks for visiting.

No comments:


LinkWithin Related Stories Widget for Blogs