|Forster's Tern with Breakfast|
Over and around the water were Western and Clark's Grebes, Forster's Terns, American White Pelicans and much more. We got our first look at a Black-crowned Night Heron (no pic)...
|American White Pelicans|
|White-faced Ibis flock|
... and an overhead flock of White-faced Ibis (thanks for catching my goof, Sarah)!
Along the trail, we saw Bullock's Orioles, Yellow Warblers, Warbling Vireo and many Flycatchers.
Even after yesterday's lesson on Stukel Mountain, I still struggled with identifying the flycatchers - even the "simple" ones get confusing!
We also saw this fabulous woven nest - any idea who the weaver might be? I think fishing line played a big part in this one!
Walking back to the car, we stopped to watch the Grebes again - we seemed to be always catching them napping rather than interacting. But one pair was awake -- as we watched, they entered into a synchronized dance - moving gracefully over the water. They were on the opposite side of the water, and I didn't even try to get photos - we just enjoyed the dance. Finally, they engaged in some mutual preening and moved apart. It was amazing!
|Franklin's Gull and friend|
Next, we drove back to the marsh across from Howard Bay where we had seen dozens of Franklin's Gulls and Forster's Terns on our way into town. They did not disappoint (although my struggle to get good photos of them did).
While taking photos of a Franklin's Gull, a mystery bird flew into the picture. Know who he is?
Next, we had decided to have an adventure -- go up to check out Aspen Lake. Not much talked about, but what descriptions we could find sounded intriguing. On our way, we overshot the access road and ended up at the road to Eagle's Ridge. Hey, why not - it's on the list! It was beautiful - and fun!
|View from Eagle's Ridge|
Finally, we headed back and found Aspen Lake Road. Now this was an adventure -- thankfully we had great GPS signal and cell phone reception (for emails to our local guide who was a bit taken aback that we had taken it on). Once more, we ended up with 26 species including what we believe was a large GOSHAWK!
First look at Sandhill Cranes.
We decided to risk driving all the way around the lake - after all, our GPS showed that the road went all the way around (hmmmm, there's something wrong with that statement...)
The birds were wonderful - Bluebirds perched near active nest sites... Unique area birds like Mountain Chickadees and Green Towhees.
Also unique were the free-range cows/cattle we saw all around the lake. We didn't get nervous until the road ran out, and a young bull decided to stand in the road we had just driven in on -- our only way out! I guess I was too nervous to take his picture, but here are some of the bovines.
|Free range cows|
Luckily, he quickly lost interest and we turned our little Baja around. It didn't take long to figure out where GPS had led us astray and get back on the proper road. Next time, perhaps we'll be a little less impetuous!