Rocky Mountain National Park, Part 1, Birds

tundraI spent a morning above the tree line in Rocky Mountain National Park. We saw more mammals than birds (next post), and the two target species, Brown-capped Rosy Finch and White-tailed Ptarmigan, both eluded me. But any trip to this area is well worth it, whatever you manage to find.

pipit frontOne of the more common species on the tundra is American Pipit.

pipit 2The choice of habitat, along with the scruffy plumage, really threw me, but this seems to be a Sage Thrasher.
pipit 4

ravensThese Common Ravens were feeding on an Elk carcass.

clark's nutcracker 2A few Clark’s Nutcrackers were hanging out near one of the parking lots.

Other species seen but not photographed included Golden Eagle, Horned Lark, and a couple of fly-by hummingbirds, probably Broad-tailed. So there was not a huge bird list by the end of the morning, but it is a treat to visit this habitat at an elevation over two miles higher than my home in Portland.

Autumn Arrivals

The weather is cooling and rain is in the forecast, as our long dry summer is finally letting go.

Cackling Geese have arrived by the thousands in recent days. This Ridgeway’s Cackling Goose is sporting a black chin stripe and a white collar.

An American Pipit, blending in with the dry cracked lake bed at Fernhill Wetlands

Two California Gulls harassing a Bald Eagle. It is probably much safer being behind the eagle than in front.

Closer to home, this Purple Finch visited the feeder. If you look closely you can see her tongue positioning the sunflower seed.

Mimi, one of my neighbor cats, is enjoying the birdbath and keeping those pesky hummingbirds out of my garden. I have two words for you, Mimi; Urban Coyotes.

Random Songbirds

Here are a few shots of random songbirds seen on recent outings.


Lesser Goldfinch at the feeder. The Lessers arrive early in the morning before the American Goldfinches take over.


Golden-crowned Sparrow


Brown Creeper, Ankeny NWR


Song Sparrow, Ankeny NWR


American Pipit, along the Columbia River in Portland