Monday, July 25, 2016

Stagecoach Park

Whitewash from Falcon Nest in Cliff
This morning we followed the suggestion of a birder we met at the Botanic Park, and drove down the road to Stagecoach State Park. You will see some basalt cliffs down by the dam, he said, and there is a Prairie Falcon nest there. We pulled into a parking lot by the dam, and sure enough there were the big basalt cliffs, and the peeping call of falcon chicks! Even without a spotting scope, we found an obvious splash of whitewash.
Prairie Falcon Soaring
A little later, we moved to the river at the base of the dam, and saw at least three adult falcons soaring over the cliffs. I could swear I heard more peeping at this end of the cliff. Could there possibly be two nests of young? The falcons were joined by Red-tail Hawks and we heard the faint call of a Bald Eagle, which they rangers say lives at the park as well.
I'm one of the few people who takes photos of interesting rock formations. This one twists and turns as if painted by an artist.
Lazuli Bunting
Below the dam, the Yampa River is a popular fishing spot among anglers. We just managed to get the last spot in the parking lot. The state is restoring the banks of the river with native grasses and wildflowers, separating this area from the angler paths with wooden railed fences. Some Lazuli Buntings chowed down on the seeds.
This little brown sparrow hopped around, and I cannot find him in the field guide. With those pink legs, I'd almost think it's a Field Sparrow, but it didn't sing to confirm its identity, so we'll have to keep looking. (Thanks Dave, for identifying this female Cassin's Finch for me.)

Along the wetlands end of the lake, we found gulls, ducks, geese and of course, Red-winged Blackbirds. There should have been another wetlands area with trails, but we couldn't find it.   We managed to avoid hitting a cow ambling slowly down the road.

Last evening we rode the gondola to the top of the ski mountain for sunset and happy hour - a very enjoyable time!

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