I tried to get altitude to beat the heat yesterday ( didn't work ) by driving over Buzzard Divide on the Gunnison Forest.
Big Muddy and West Muddy Creeks are virtually down to trickles. : ( but even if there's no water in those gorgeous high country wet meadows they're still full of wildflowers.
Twice where the road crossed W Muddy Creek bed I took walks and in both places was treated to constant accompaniment by six Purple Martins. The PUMA I saw first were flying around a known colony site. The second group I encountered were feeding over the creek with Violet Green Swallows.
I tallied a decent bird list. Most ubiquitous and most obnoxious awards go to House Wren.
My presence was aggressively protested by Green-tailed Towhees nesting in Peach-leaved Willows at various locations.
On July 19 I was delighted to hear and kind of see a Cuckoo at the far end of my morning loop walk from home. This bird was very vocal and seemed to run through the known calls. I could see it move in cover. When I got home 1/2 hr later I could still hear it calling.
Here at Kenpo Kee just above Hotchkiss the hummer wars are full on. All four species are represented by both sexes. This morning I watched a juvie Broad-tail try to figure out how to use the feeders. He kept prodding the glass, finally gave up and went back to the blooming pink vetch.
A ton of Lesser Goldfinches and a nest of Pine Siskins have fledged and are providing auditory and visual treats. Black-headed Grosbeaks have quietly brought their fledglings back to the sunflower feeders. Lazuli Buntings have been singing all summer. It's quite birdy here now.
I have visited Fruitgrowers Res at sunset for the past two Fridays. Both nights a squawking Am Bittern lumbered across the causeway.
On July 12 I saw 4 species of heron:
This past week I missed Black-Crowned.
Re Great Egret:
I wonder if there's any possibility that this is an albino GBH. It has been there since June and has somewhat ambiguous leg color as far as I can tell.....at least they don't look black to me.
If you need a bird fix I highly recommend Fruitgrowers at sunset. On friday there were 60+ pelicans, 40 ish herons, a dozen gulls, many d & g, bald eagle, many Western Grebes.
I saw a Clark's Grebe and three Western Grebes sitting on nests. Swallows put on a great show.
After photographing a Redtail sitting on a limb I decided to take one more shot of the fabulous sunset as the sun dipped behind the horizon. The Redtail soared across the sky giving me what would have been a mortgage breaking photo before photoshopping was born. Oh well....it's still a gorgeous photo.
Drying up in Hotchkiss