Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Dipper Day (plus more ice)

American Dipper - by Joel Such

In an effort to get away from our usual low species density haunts in the foothills, Welch and I ran down in town this afternoon. Starting out at the library, we ran along the Saint Vrain River through Bohn Park, a loop up through the cemetery and back, totaling a bit over three miles. Almost immediately we started getting new Sweaty Sanderling birds . . . a calling Black-capped Chickadee, a couple dozen cheruping House Sparrows, a Belted Kingfisher's startling rattle, and a flyover flock of Canada Geese. And everywhere we went, we could not avoid at least an inch of solid ice or packed snow, and the usual slipping and sliding that accompanies it.

We ended the run with a total of 14 species (11 of which were new!), a couple less than expected, but a good total nonetheless. By far the best bird was an American Dipper found in one of the few open stretches of water (Welch was practically jogging in place while I sprinted back over from the other side of the bridge to see it).

Also, as a side note, I’d like to state that it is not possible to do a morning run in Colorado at the moment. It’s generally about 5 or 10° below zero (Fahrenheit) in the morning, and accordingly no birds. “Warm” around here at the moment is 25 degrees, and the afternoons show the peak in bird activity.
Canada Goose (new) – 12
Eurasian Collared-Dove (new) – 4
Belted Kingfisher (new) – 1
“Red-shafted” Northern Flicker (new) – 10
Black-billed Magpie – 3
Common Raven – 1
Black-capped Chickadee (new) – 7
American Dipper (new) – 1
Townsend’s Solitaire (new) – 2
American Robin (new) – 6
European Starling (new) – 10
Dark-eyed Junco – 20
House Finch (new) – 10
House Sparrow (new) – 20
Total SWSA Species (for year) = 18 (19 for Welch)
Total Miles Run = 6.3
Species/Mile = 2.857142857142857… (3.015873015873016… for Welch)

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