Fossil Creek Birding

February 18, 2012 at 5:28 pm

In my continuing quest to explore more of our local open spaces and natural areas in Northern Colorado, we spent an evening checking out Fossil Creek Reservoir. This is a large lake about 10 minutes south of our house, and a known nesting area for Bald Eagles in the winter. We went down hoping to see some of the big birds and to test out G’s new Julbo Sunglasses.

Mark and G check out the signage

On our way into the area, we were stopped by a car parked cross-ways across the street, and could see people inside excitedly pointing to birds flying above the nearby fields. Were these bald eagles? I looked with my long camera lens, and while they seemed to be raptors of some sort, I didn’t recognize them.

After a minute or two, the car in front of us noticed they were blocking the road and headed towards the parking lot. But one of these mystery birds swooped in front of them, and they slammed on their brakes and nearly drove off the road in excitement.

Turns out, birding in Colorado can be more hazerdous than you’d expect.

Excited Colorado Birders - might not be aware of their surroundings!

When we met up with the excited birders later, we found out the soaring raptors were Harriers (not jets), and watching them hunt was quite a thrilling sight.

Throughout the afternoon, several groups of people set up spotting scopes along the edge of the lake. Mark and I were able to check out three Bald Eagles, an adult and two adolescents (all brown still) in a distant tree. My lens does not do them justice!

Bald Eagle takes flight

The trails surrounding this lake are all wide and well graveled, making it a fine place to push around a jogging stroller instead of carrying G in the backpack. He wasn’t thrilled with the new sunglasses, but we eventually got him to wear them a bit. Something to keep working on.

G in his Julbo's

The longer trail was closed for Eagle Nesting season, so we walked a shorter, 1.5 mile trail to a western view of the lake. It was a nice, sunny afternoon, and felt good to just be outside for a few hours.

Mark and G walking the trails at Fossil Creek Reservoir

Do you have any favorite local outdoor spots? Or have you had a recent run-in with exciting wildlife? I’d love to hear the stories, leave a comment!