Saturday, July 31, 2010

Mountain Bluebird

While staying in Silverthorne, Colorado, during the first week of July this summer, Val wanted to take some photos of boats in the Lake Dillon Marina, so on our way to our daily hike, we stopped in a pullout on the side of the road and hiked down to the bike trail that circled Lake Dillon. While she made her way to the Marina, we saw some yellow birds taking flight into a grove of trees in the scrubby bush habitat between the road and the bike trail. I though that this might be a perfect oppurtunity to find some Wilson's Warblers, but the yellow birds turned out to be Yellow Warblers. I couldn't find any Wilson's Warblers, but I did see a pair of blue birds that I mistakenly took for Scrub Jays or Pinion Jays, but as I looked at my photos later I realized their beaks weren't large enough for these two types of Jays. The pair (Below, 7-6-10) were Mountain Bluebirds - male and female. At the time they didn't register in my mind as what I thought Mountain Bluebirds should look like. They looked too scrubby - not blue enough.

A pair of Mountain Bluebirds near the Lake Dillon bike trail

A year ago when I was camping in Rocky Mountain National Park I witnessed a Mountain Bluebird sitting on the tip of young pine tree, but was too far away to capture a decent photo. So this year, when we set up camp in the same Rocky Mountain National Park campground, one of my goals was to get a good picture of a Mountain Bluebird (This was before I realized the photos I took at Lake Dillon were actually Mountain.Bluebirds).  I arose early after our first camping night with the hopes of scouting out the same area where I saw last year's Mountain Bluebird.  As luck would have it, not only did I spot a Mountain Bluebird, but I noticed it was hanging around a particular tree on the slope of the mountain. Then I saw it enter a hole in a distant tree (Below, 7-8-10) and I knew that it was probably a nest.

I made my way closer to the tree and perched myself on a rock about 20 feet from the side of the tree and waited. In less than 5 minutes, not only did the male return, but was joined by his mate, which entered the hole in the tree several times carrying bugs to probably feed her young. She would perch (Below top, 7-8-10) on the edge of the rim for only a second before disappearing into the hole. Then she would stick her head out for a fraction of a second before taking flight (Below bottom, 7-6-10).  After several attempts of trying to photograph the female I finally decided to focus my camera on the hole and wait for her to return and I was finally able to capture her.

The male, however, was bolder and hung around the tree gaurding his family, so he was much easier to focus on to get some good photo ops (Below, 7-8-10).

Male Mountain Bluebird, looking at me wondering what business I might have with his family housed in the tree behind him.

1 comment:

~Val said...

These are so awesome! I just don't have that kind of patience....