Earlier than anything, a confession. Many of the lifers I noticed in Denver had been named after (in)well-known individuals, so Messrs. Say, Bullock, Brewer, and Cassin will lose their English namesakes within the lately introduced renaming recreation. To keep away from writing a non-woke put up I deliberate to say scientific names solely. After which I noticed the species names connected to the aforementioned gents’s avian namesakes and gave up… So, my try at political correctness has been thwarted by the 18th century guidelines of taxonomy. My honest apologies.
On the finish of final summer time, I needed to make a enterprise journey to Denver, Colorado. Not solely did my analysis present a variety of promising websites to go to, however I even have two good birding pals within the area, Laura and Brad. Younger, good individuals with good eyes and ears, however Brad does have a nasty jinxing behavior. “Lifeless certs” – his phrases – by no means materialize. “No worries, we see these Cedar Waxwings on a regular basis in our backyard”. For sure, we by no means even noticed a cedar! Brad did take all the photographs for this put up to make up for his jinxing. I even have to say the truth that these footage are primarily of birds I didn’t see, however there’s nothing within the guidelines of 10,000 Birds forbidding that.
Having just a few days after my enterprise conferences, we checked out a number of birding spots close to the town. Denver is a mile excessive, and the locals make an enormous deal of it. Nonetheless, for a Dutchman it appears to be like form of acquainted – flat and densely populated with a lot of site visitors jams.
Denver has greater than its fair proportion of areas with a nuclear army historical past and we drove to the one nearest to the workplace, Rocky Flats Wildlife Refuge. From 1952 to 1989 plutonium was used at Rocky Flats to fabricate triggers for hydrogen bombs. That’s arguably the scariest sentence you’ll ever learn in a birding weblog. The realm is big, near the town and there’s a number of fascinating birding spots. eBird exhibits the potential for 152 species. Neighbouring on the south facet of the Rocky Flats is a big housing growth with multi-million-dollar properties. Though Rocky Flats was dismantled and cleaned up, there’s nonetheless some controversy surrounding the previous nuclear weapons facility. We didn’t see a variety of curiosity and the controversy is seemingly probably the most thrilling a part of the housing property – the structure actually isn’t. We in all probability ought to have been there after sundown when the birds glow at midnight and so they’re simpler to seek out.
One other former army advanced, the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Nationwide Wildlife Reserve has only a few rocky mountains in it, nevertheless it does have two herds of American Bison, at the least one Striped Skunk, a variety of deer and an incredible variety of birds (278 species in eBird). It additionally lies subsequent to the airport which makes it a birding businessman’s very best birding spot.
The park is a former US arsenal that has been rewilded. It has ponds, woods, and prairie meadows – it is extremely stunning and apparently barely radio-active. The prairie areas have Burrowing Owls amongst the bison and there’s Lark Buntings galore.
The ponds had been just about duck-less after we had been there because the geese had been moulting however there have been a variety of Black-crowned Evening-herons and waders like American Avocet. My lawyer requested me to stress that the duck moult was a pure course of and never linked to radio-activity. The wooded areas are excellent for songbirds and I can think about that through the Spring and Autumn migration seasons the Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR shall be wonderful.
We spent a variety of time within the reserve and though there are facilities you need to plan to convey water and meals. Or simply drive out and go to a restaurant close by. It’s so conveniently near “civilisation” that on my final day in Denver, we had ample time to spend within the reserve earlier than my flight. My pals drove me to the airport the place I modified out of my birding garments into civilian apparel. Notice to self: subsequent time change within the loos and keep away from humorous appears to be like.
We didn’t simply hen in glowing flatness – we visited the mountains too. The journey into the mountains, Fountain Creek and a brief go to to the Huge Johnson (snigger) Reservoir shall be lined in a future put up. Spoiler, up within the mountains a lifeless cert was ready for us: the attractive Mountain Bluebird.
After all, we by no means noticed it. Thanks Brad.