Sunday, July 30, 2006

July 30, 2006: Photos from the Island (1000 Islands)

A few more photos from the island today ...

Above: Mojo, Below: Mystic

Saturday, July 29, 2006

July 29, 2006: The Thousand Islands

Some photos from the island today ...A storm was threatening
Sunset on the island
Above and below: The Camp

The river crashes up against the rocks
Fire in the evening

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

July 18, 2006: The Trip Home (6 PHOTOS)

We left very early in the morning for our flight home, at the end of a wonderful trip! Our flight path was Denver - Minneapolis - Cleveland - Buffalo. Nothing too memorable on the flights (which is usually a good thing!). The MSP-CLE plane was delayed quite a bit .. but we had plenty of spare time in Cleveland to make up for this.

Downtown Cleveland

Erie, Pennsylvania
Chautauqua Lake, New York (from the west)

Westfield, NY

Bills Stadium in Orchard Park

Lancaster, New York

Monday, July 17, 2006

July 17, 2006: Rocky Mountain National Park, Colorado (27 PHOTOS, 23 BIRD/ANIMAL)

Our last day of the trip was spent where it started - Rocky Mountain National Park! Early morning saw us take a very nice hike at Cub Lake Trail. This is a nice walk. We found an injured Magpie here, unfortunately, so we visited the visitor center to see if help could be found. Later in the day, we stopped by the YMCA of the Rockies to check out the birdfeeders there, and had a nice conversation with their bird bander, Scott Rashid, who also authors a cool book about birding Rocky Mountain National Park.

In the evening, we left the mountains for good, had a great BBQ Buffet at Bubba's of Greeley, and headed to near the airport for the night.

The beautiful Big Thompson River flows near the beginning of Cub Lake Trail (Melissa's photo)

Early morning at Beaver Meadows

Our cabin at MacGregor Lodge!

The last sunset of the trip, over the Rocky Mountains (Melissa's photo)

BIRDING: Early morning on Cub Lake Trail was quite productive. We saw BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE (including one very sad case where a mother magpie had one leg competely wrapped in fishing line, but still was finding enough food for her young one. She still was too strong to catch and give to a rehabilitator). Lots of RED-NAPED SAPSUCKERS, also GREEN-TAILED TOWHEE, BROWN COWBIRD, NORTHERN FLICKER, YELLOW-RUMPED WARBLER, EMPIDONAX FLYCATCHER, AMERICAN CROW, BROAD TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, and MALLARD DUCKS

At YMCA of the Rockies, STELLAR JAYS, MAGPIES, CASSIN'S FINCH, SONG SPARROW, HAIRY WOODPECKER, and possibly heard only RED CROSSBILLS. A PYGMY NUTHATCH was seen at a feeder here, also.

Ground Squirrel (Cub Lake Trail)

These deer were along US36 near Beaver Meadows.

Rabbit on Cub Lake Trail

Another Cub Lake Trail critter

Green-Tailed Towhee (Cub Lake Trail)

Northern Red-Shafted Flicker (Cub Lake Trail)

Empidonax Flycatcher (Cub Lake Trail)

American Crow (Cub Lake Trail)

Squirrel (Cub Lake Trail) (Melissa's photo)

Flying Broad Tailed Hummingbird (Cub Lake Trail)

Empidonax Flycatcher (Cub Lake Trail)

Female Mallard (Cub Lake Trail)

Young Brown Cowbird? (Cub Lake Trail)

Red-Naped Sapsucker (Cub Lake Trail)

Yellow-Rumped (Audubon's) Warbler

Young Black-Billed Magpie (Cub Lake Trail) (Melissa's Photo)

Black-Headed Grosbeak (MacGregor Lodge)

Steller's Jay (MacGregor Lodge) (Melissa's photo)

That feeder isn't for Hairy Woodpeckers! (YMCA Of the Rockies)

Cassin's Finch (YMCA of the Rockies)

Unidentified Hummingbird (YMCA of the Rockies)

A very impressive Elk on Route 66 outside town.

Black-Billed Magpie (Cub Lake Trail)

Sunday, July 16, 2006

July 16, 2006: Mount Evans / Idaho City Goldmine / Estes Park, Colorado (17 PHOTOS, 9 BIRD/ANIMAL)

Most of today was spent on the drive to the summit of Mount Evans. (Another link) There is a 14 mile paved road, starting at Echo Lake (10600' ASL) to a parking lot near the top, well above the treeline (14130' ASL). A short walk (but grueling at that altitude) takes you to the top of the mountain, at 14,264' ASL. Given my shape and lack of mountain climbing experience, this will likely be the only Rocky Mountain "fourteener" that I ascend! On top there were mountain goats in the parking lot, and the much sought after Ptarmigans!

The view from the top is spectacular. The drive is paved and fine ... but one of the scariest drives I have been on, if you don't like heights (I don't). Lots of shear cliffs!

Be sure to stop at Summit Lake on the way down or up (13,001' ASL) for beautiful views, and a nice hike!

After descending we stopped at the Echo Lake Visitor Center and enjoyed the hummingbirds, and then took a cool tour of Phoenix Gold Mines in Idaho Springs! We got a tour of the mines, and got to pan for awhile ourselves! (no luck!)

After this, we drove north to where the trip all started - MacGregor Lodge in Estes Park, for one more visit! (GREAT place!)

The last stretch of the Mount Evans summit road

One of the great mountain-top views

Another great mountaintop vista

Survey marker on top of Mount Evans, just shy of the summit.

A view of Summit Lake from the summit

Some tundra flowers break through the rock

The tundra around Summit Lake was in full bloom

Summit Lake (13,001' ASL)

BIRDING: Not much today, the highlight was the alpine birding on Mount Evans. Many COMMON RAVENS when we first arriving, performing some fun looking aerial displays! There were also MOUNTAIN GOATS on the summit. Finally, while I was using the bathroom :) Melissa spotted the Ptarmigans. The family of four chicks and a female WHITE-TAILED PTARMIGAN were new for our life list! They ran right across the road. We have been looking for so long! Each chick was banded so there is probably some sort of study going on. HORNED LARKS also here, but not many birds.

At Summit Lake, we finally found BROWN CAPPED ROSY FINCH, at the Northwest Corner of the lake!

Lower, at Echo Lake Lodge, there was a COMMON RAVEN, and many Hummingbirds. Though mostly BROAD-TAILED, we spotted a few BLACK-CHINNED, and one CALLIOPE (didn't get a picture in time!)

Back in Estes Park at MacGregor's, there were RUFUOUS HUMMINGBIRDS now joining the BROAD-TAILED we had seen earlier in the trip.

Mountain Goat at the Mt. Evans Summit (Melissa's photo)

Juvenile White-Tailed Ptarmigan! (Melissa's photo)

The mother Ptarmigan was keeping a close watch (Melissa's photo)

A closer view of one of the young Ptarmigans (Melissa's photo)

Brown-Capped Rosy Finch at Summit Lake

Common Raven at Echo Lake (Melissa's Photo)

Black-Chinned Hummingbird at Echo Lake

Idaho Springs, Colo: Hoary Comma (?)

Rufous Hummingbird at Estes Park