Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Last Colorado year bird of 2012

Just after Christmas we moved from Denver, Colorado to Boise, Idaho. We made sure to include a few good birding stops along the way. All year long I've been getting the eBird needs alert for Colorado sent to my email once a day. These alerts are a big part of how I plan my birding outings, and all year long there have been consistent reports of Gambel's Quail in the Grand Junction area, but it's always been a longer drive than we've had time for. Driving to Idaho was the perfect chance to stop and add this species to our Colorado list.

eBird range and point map for Gambel's Quail around Grand Junction, Colorado.

While Gambel's Quail can be found many places in the Grand Junction area, Connected Lakes State Park is one of the most consistent places to check. We stopped by and saw our first covey of quails before we even got to the entrance.

Gambel's Quail (male). Connected Lakes State Park, Mesa County. December 29, 2012.
These quails look quite similar to the California Quail, but have a few more rufous highlights. Females are a little duller.

Gambel's Quail (female). Connected Lakes State Park, Mesa County. December 29, 2012.
It was nice to add one more bird to our Colorado list. We ended 2012 with 267 Colorado year birds. We had a few other nice birds at Connected Lakes, such as a flock of Mountain Bluebirds that were eating berries and drinking from the icy river.

Mountain Bluebird, doing its best to avoid looking into the camera.
Connected Lakes State Park, Mesa County. December 29, 2012.
Mountain Bluebirds, drinking from the icy river.
Connected Lakes State Park, Mesa County. December 29, 2012.

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