Hi folks! Yes, you read that right. Cary Atwood and I were down in Delta this afternoon and had a great time birding. First, we stopped at the Escalante State Wildlife area and viewed well over 100 sandhill cranes from the road(neither Cary nor I are usually into the exact numbers unless we're doing some kind of count). I call our type of birding "essence birding." Anyway, there were a lot of cranes for this time of year and I'm pretty sure that most, or all, of these birds spent the winter in the Delta area. We also saw a female harrier close by on the ground and a red-tailed hawk in the top of a nearby tree.
Then, we drove over to Confluence park. This is where the mountain bluebirds were "reigning" (Cary's excellent term). There were hundreds (probably several thousand) birds along the Gunnison river and in the nearby fields between the parking lot and the swinging bridge over the Uncompahgre river. They were probably feeding on midges of some kind and were on the ground, on the ice, in the trees around us, and high up in the air. The most bluebirds I have ever seen in my life, and Cary( who just got back from a trip to Panama) said,"this rivals anything we saw in the tropics." Bless her heart!!!
Other great birds we saw were: at least a couple of dozen cedar waxwings, 2 golden eagles(1adult, 1 juvenile), 2 more red-tailed hawks, an unidentified falcon, an unidentified accipiter, 17 Barrow's goldeneyes in the Gunnison river(6 males, 11 females), 3 Ross's geese, and at least 20 ring-billed gulls. There were some other birds too, but I would have to say that most of you birders would agree that these were the highlights of the day. Gorgeous, Spring-like weather, but the breeze blowing at us from across the main lake was pretty stiff!!! People of Delta: don't miss the "reigning bluebirds of Confluence park!"
Lee Stigen and Cary Atwood