But we did get to go on vacation and it was glorious. We both needed it, even though we very much were volunteering for the bulk of it, we were going to have some time to ourselves, time with family, and it was my birthday and I would get in some Western birds and other wildlife.
As soon as we got off the plane, it was nearing lunch, so we grabbed a mediocre roadside bite and took off the the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR which is a stones throw from Denver Airport. It has a lovely visitor center and an 11 mile wildlife drive. I learned I missed burrowing owl season (they are likely still there but earlier, when the grasses are shorter is the easier time to see them and their babies) so I am very glad I saw one in Queens, NY this past spring.
It was a great start to our trip and a great place to see bison as they manage a herd on the refuge land.
|I WAS SO HAPPY TO SEE SO MANY PELICANS!|
I only saw around 20 or so, but sometimes folks report 100 or more at a time at some locations nearby!
|These are American White Pelicans. They are common out in this part of the country. When one ends up in NY, the crowds go wild. I have yet to spy one in NY.|
|Up high, they soar with grace. But the landing and that landing gear while not entirely clumsy looks clunky and funny when captured in stills.|
|That one of the left.... hoping for a good clean landing, not on it.|
|Western meadowlarks (pictured) and Western kingbirds were common sights as most of the habitat is prairie grassland.|
|Also, extremely plentiful were prairie dogs!!!!|
They CRACK. ME. UP!
|LOOK AT THIS LOAF!|
It's practically sitting on a couch, if P-dogs could have couches.
|We saw a few Swainson's hawks who have a very distinct call. So I heard a call from a parent perched in a tree. And then in the tree next to it we spied this next, with three nearly grown chicks, right next to the drive!|
|What a motley crew...|
|A Say's Phoebe was doing well at the visitor's center! Yum!|
|And that was only one late morning of day one....|