Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Farwell to karval

I wanted to express a sincere thanks to all who have helped me and my family. We have made some wonderful friends and grown so much. I have experienced the wonders of the short grass prairie. I photographed birds and scenic beauty. All I can say is the prairie is a vast open space filled with life and tremendous opportunities. So as I leave the community I have loved my time here and will take a small part of Karval with me. Some of it may have blown to New Mexico ahead of me.

So as I prepare to disconnect my computer for now. I say thank-you. Until we meet again.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

A Peach of a Tree

The wonders of Karval are still amazing me - as I sat early in the morning enjoying the cool breezes coming in the window. My attention was constantly drawn to the peach tree. It seemed to be alive with movement. Patiently, I waited for some clue as to the identity of the bird in there. After a short time, other visitors came to add to the tree. At one point, there were five unusual ornaments and a couple of flashing lights to boot.

Have you ever seen a Logger-head Shrike
as it shoots across the yard?
A black, gray, and white comet
flashed before me- what a sight!

A pinwheel of alternating shades
in stark contrast to each other
perched the little masked bandit,
ready to take breakfast.

Constantly, positions changed.
Racers burst forth in a flash of stripes
from fence to tree to bush then grass.
The peach tree made a nice pit stop
while cruising in and out of the yard.

Astonished, I watched
as four others joined the first-
a family in formal attire

Blood-orange heads moved among the branches-
black wings with bold white patches.
Another morning friend greeted my weary eyes.
Yellow, orange bolted from the leaves.

On the fence he stopped - then the fiery meteor halted,
safely back in the tree.
Orioles moved about as mobile fruit on the tree.
One never knows what gift awaits just outside the door,
but I know the Giver of it.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Karval Moutain Plover Festival Sightings

This is the final tally of the birds sighted at the Plover Festival. It was a great weekend  and a fun time with fellow birders. The weather was warm and sunny. What an amazing way to see the area. Thanks to all the local ranchers for the visit to their land and sharing the wonders of the short grass prairie.  None of this would have been possible without the many helping hands in our community. 

One of the highlights of the festival was the trio of Broad-winged Hawks. It doesn't get much better than this.

This weekend was the 4th Annual Karval Mountain Plover Festival. We
were graced with good weather, great company and some pretty decent
birding. The Karval Community Alliance thanks all the participants and
invites all to attend next years event scheduled for April 29, 30 and
May 1,  2011

65 species were detected:
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Blue winged-Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Scaled Quail
Eared Grebe
Great Blue Heron
White-face Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Broad Winged Hawk (3 spotted by K. Corwin on fri evening, 2 were re-
located sat. am, straight south of Karval in the wood lot south of the
fertilizer plant)
Swainson's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestral
American Coot
Mountain Plover
Spotted Sandpiper
Lesser Yellowlegs
Wilson's Phalarope
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Burrowing Owl
Northern Flicker (Red and Yellow shafted)
Say's Phoebe
Western Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
Horned Lark
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Rock Wren
House Wren
Eastern Bluebird
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
European Starling
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Myrtle's and Audubon's)
Nashville Warbler (same wood lot as Broad wings)
Spotted Towhee
Green-tailed Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Lark Bunting
Grasshopper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Finch
Pine Siskin
House Sparrow 

Please consider adding the 5th Annual Plover Festival to your birding
adventures in 2011 

Seth Gallagher
Stewardship Director
Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory
Fort Collins

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Mountain Plovers Returned Today

A beautiful morning walk was made more grand by the songs of dozens of Western Meadowlarks and the ever present Horned Larks chattering away. As I listened to the morning chorus, a familiar and welcomed song rose from the field.- Mountain Plover? I stopped in my tracks and waited. There again it came...and another. I have been waiting for this day. I have seen in the last week the return of Red-Winged Blackbirds, Say's Phoebes, and Killdeer. Spring is really here, and it is exciting.

 As I continued my walk to school. I heard plovers again. This time I found three and watched them for ten minutes or more. The male would call to the female as he stood on the ground near her. He would tuck his body low to the ground and spread his wings out like a fan. He would dip and call and then wait. This repeated action was exciting to see on my first sighting for the year. As I waited and watched, I heard the call of a Burrowing Owl somewhere in the same field. I had a fabulous morning and can't wait for tomorrow's chorus.If no birds had been seen, then the moon setting was worth getting out early for and enjoying the spectacle.

What will be the new bird for tomorrow?

Monday, March 8, 2010

New Arrivals

It has been fun to see the change in bird life. Migration is on. The changing weather has been all over the charts - snow and ice, sunny and warm. In the middle of all of this, the birds have started to come in. I have seen the arrival of hundreds of Mountain Bluebirds and American Robins. The brilliant blues are in stark contrast with the foggy days. Many Western Meadowlarks have come into the area. Some have been here during the winter, but now are seen in mass singing throughout the day. My first sighting of Brewer's Blackbirds was yesterday.

Notable exits are the majority of the Rough-Legged Hawks and many of the Ferruginous Hawks. The last of the Snow Geese are moving north, leaving the Arkansas River area. I hope to soon be hearing the calls of other birds as they make their entrance - Sandhill Cranes, Mountain Plovers, Burrowing Owls. Then, the songs of birds will fill my early mornings. I can't wait for them.

Mountain Bluebirds in a Spring Christmas Tree

The dull overcast day, plain and uninspiring.
The sameness spread across fields of gray
with fog that hadn’t lifted.
Heavy frost coated everything.

Yet even in a dark closet,
one can find a treasure –
something unexpected
and wonderful.

The pine tree flocked with ice
delicately decorating each needle,
stood near the abandoned house,
alone and apart.

Twinkling in its branches,
hundreds of blue lights
moved in and out,
tinkling like bells.

Standing out against the
obscured backdrop,
they came and went.
A Victorian tree, simple and refined,
adorned with birds of vivid blue.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Walk on an Icy Morn

video video

Bird News

Over the past week some birds are newly arrived. A flock of Mountain Bluebirds were a pleasant surprise, the brilliant blue in stark contrast with the bland browns of winter fields. They seemed to sneak into the area between storms. We have also had American Robins come back into town.

It seems that the first signs of spring are here, but no real sign of spring in the air. It has also been the start of the birth of some of our most notable locals, calves and kids. We hope they hold up against the snow and the blow.