September 10th Bird Walk at Sandstone Ranch with Aron Smolley

September 20, 2022

                The weather was cold and wet this morning but the upbeat attitudes and great conversation made this walk very pleasant and fun. We started off the day with some American goldfinches feasting on wild sunflowers, and even though they were flitting about we still managed to get everyone some good views of the male with his bright yellow feathers starting to fade into his more drab winter plumage. In fact, we get asked all the time in the store if goldfinches migrate, but the truth is, goldfinches are found in Boulder County year round- only in winter they are in disguise!

American Goldfinch in drab winter plumage. Photo by Jamie Simo.

As we continued down the hill towards the bridge, lots of wet birds were seen through the scope- northern flickers, American kestrels, mourning doves, and even a pair of adult bald eagles with their highly vocal juvenile offspring. We were also treated to a flock of blue-winged teal, a belted kingfisher, and a solitary sandpiper, all viewed from the first bridge. Further along we had a great blue heron, cliff and barn swallows, and a double crested cormorant. We finished off the day with a Cooper’s hawk at a distance- this provided us with a great opportunity to practice raptor identification.

Solitary Sandpiper. Photo by Aron Smolley.

Although on this walk we didn’t see that many species, a good time was still had by all. At the very least it was a great demonstration of the high performance of the Zeiss Gavia spotting scope even on a rainy day, still providing us crisp detail and bright colors despite the low light due to the sky being overcast. Come visit our Boulder location to try out the Gavia for yourselves!

Bird list:

American goldfinch

Northern Flicker

Mourning dove

Belted Kingfisher

American Robin

Gray Catbird

Canada Goose

Blue winged teal

Blue jay

Bald Eagle

Solitary Sandpiper

Great blue heron

Cliff Swallow

Barn Swallow

Double Crested Cormorant

Ring-billed Gull

Cooper’s hawk


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