I made it out to Barr Lake for the first time this year. Barr is a state park, about 20 miles east of where I live. It’s a former buffalo wallow which was turned into an irrigation reservoir more than 100 years ago. And while the water is still used for irrigating fields, the land and lake are part of the park and much of it is a wildlife refuge. Thousands of migrating birds pass through, and some, including the resident bald eagles nest here. Part of the path around the lake is closed during nesting season. It’s a favorite place of mine, with water, woods, and a lot of birds.

Today was cool and cloudy and a nice day for a walk, and I enjoyed seeing the season getting going. Much of the lake is still ice covered, but along the shore there is open water, along with some open patches in the southwestern part of the lake. Along the shore, ducks of many types were busy in the weeds and reeds, and clearly some pairing off has occurred. I’m a beginner at identifying different duck species, but I saw mallards, goldeneyes, mergansers, and the new to me cinnamon teal. I suspect there are more distinctions yet to be made, but it will take some study on my part.

The resident raptors were around, bald eagles, both mature and juvenile, a number of kestrels, along with some harrier and red-tailed hawks. As I was walking out to the gazebo observation area, I met a woman on her way back. She appears to be a serious photographer, with a lens more than a foot long. We chatted for a bit, exchanging info on what we’d each seen and where. We had both admired a beautiful flicker, and she was a little confused, pretty sure she’d heard a meadowlark, and it’s very early in the year for one to be in our area. Both of us pleased to be out and about on this day, we headed our separate ways.

Photo by Hal Moran on Not taken by me, but this is what today’s flicker looked like

I hung out in the observation area for a while, watching mostly ducks and geese, and seeing the eagles and their nesting area from afar through my binoculars. As I was getting ready to head back, a trio of white pelicans came in for a landing. They are here most of the year, and after I first discovered their presence, I was surprised to learn that while pelicans live in a lot of inland freshwater lakes. I’d imagined that like the brown pelicans I see at the ocean, all pelicans lived near salt water. So much I don’t know.

It was a lovely day for a walk and meandering around the lake, seeing which birds have arrived, and a chance for a quiet ponder. There were a lot of birds, with many more to come. I saw only a few non-avian species, and no satyrs, not surprising, as it’s certainly not harvest time.

This visit reminded me how much I like getting out here, and I’m hoping that I’ll manage a visit every few weeks now as the nesting and migrating season gets going. It’s always interesting.

7 thoughts on “Birdwalk

  1. I love it when you write about Barr Lake. It’s one of the few places in which my mom and I enjoyed each others company. We went there many times not long after it was set aside. It’s a wonderful wonderful place. ❤

    Liked by 1 person

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