Bird Sanctuary at Estes Park

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House Wren in Estes Park, Colorado

August 24, 2018

This morning, we went in search of moose.  We went to Brainard Lake near the Indian Peaks Wilderness.  We did not see any moose, so we hiked to Long Lake.  We didn’t see any moose, but the views were incredible.  Of course, Regis and I both had long lenses on our cameras and I forgot my cell phone, so we have no pictures of the amazing views.

After our short hike in this air which is significantly lacking in oxygen, I left Dart and Regis at the motor home and went to the Bird Sanctuary near the Estes Park Lake.  My first encounter was with two snakes fornicating.

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Two snakes. The only snake in Rocky Mountain National Park is the Garter Snake and we are in Estes Park, right outside the park. Therefore, I believe these are Garter Snakes. If you look closely, there are two heads. They were in the grass, so it was tough to get a photo.
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Garter Snake in Estes Park, Colorado.
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Possibly a female Red-winged Blackbird Estes Park, Colorado
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Robin in Estes Park, Colorado
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Duck in Estes Park, Colorado. (Two bird books and I can’t figure out what kind)
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House Wren in Estes Park, Colorado
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Mountain Chickadee in Estes Park, Colorado.
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Estes Park, Colorado (I think this might be a female Brown-headed Cowbird)
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Eating berries in Estes Park, Colorado. (Regis and I have looked in two bird books and can’t figure out what this bird is.)
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Barn Swallows in Estes Park, Colorado.

If anyone can identify the birds that I can’t, please let me know and I will update this post.  It’s amazing that neither Regis or I can identify some of them with two different bird guides!

Grand Coulee Dam

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Grand Coulee Dam

July 11, 2018

Yesterday we drove to see the Grand Coulee Dam.  It is such a contrast to see the Columbia River against the dry countryside.  It makes the water look particularly refreshing.

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Reservoir behind Grand Coulee Dam.

Sadly, there is no way for fish to pass the dam.  Instead, the dam funds three fish hatcheries in Leavenworth, Winthrop, and Entiat where they produce over 2 million fish.  In 2016, Reclamation took the first steps to developing the science to look into the feasibility of fish passage and reintroduction.  When the study is complete, Reclamation will decide what to do.

We continue to enjoy the wildlife around the little lake at our campground.  I have been kayaking everyday and often we sit in the shade by the lake and watch the bird activity.  There are lots of juveniles being fed by their parents.  I’m including some favorite pictures from yesterday and today.

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Eastern Kingbird
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Northern Flickers
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Juvenile Canadian Goose
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Killdeer
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Downy Woodpecker
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Bullock’s Oriole nest
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Robin with berries.
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Bullock’s Oriole
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Hawk (not sure what kind)
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Hawk (not sure what kind, same as above)

Heading North

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Robin

As we make progress going north, I continue to be amazed by how green everything is.  As we made our way to north Missouri, we noticed that all the leaves on the trees have not fully leafed out.  Nevertheless, it is still green.  The weather is awesome.  We have been fortunate so far with the weather as we move across the country.

I calculated the mileage and tomorrow night when we camp in South Dakota, we will be half way to our destination near Seattle.  We are stopping in Portland, Oregon along the way.

We have once again found a great campground in Nebraska City, Nebraska.  The name of the campground is Victorian Acres.  We love it.  There are lots of birds.  This evening, I sat at the picnic table taking pictures of the birds who flew by.  This is what I love to do.

Dart seems to be settling in and eating as he should.  I feel more comfortable when he is obviously less stressed.  I think he’s getting into the groove.  Although we could cover many more miles in the day, all of us like keeping it reasonable and stopping early so we can walk around and enjoy the area.  It may take us longer to get there, but we get an opportunity to “smell the roses.”

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Chipping Sparrow