Category Archives: Estes Park Birding

Four Beautiful Trumpeter Swans Came To Visit Lake Estes!



It’s always fun to see a new bird down on Lake Estes. These four Trumpeter Swans were just swimming around a couple of weeks ago. They are so beautiful. Back east we had Mute Swans which had black and orange beaks.

Trumpeter Swans, which are the world’s largest species of waterfowl, are frequently found in the Rocky Mountains. They are present year-round in the Yellowstone area, with hundreds gathering there on open water during the winter.

The Trumpeter Swans get their name from their loud, bugling voice. They are a beautiful bird, aren’t they?

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Northern Pigmy Owl In A Bush On The Side Of the Road In Estes Park



One of my friends, Gayl, had a “new knee” put in last summer and hasn’t been able to take her little dog for much of a walk lately. Well, I love to walk so Abby and I have become fast friends!

Yesterday on one of our walks I saw a little bird in a bush right off the sidewalk  where Wonderview and Elkhorn Avenues intersect. The closer I got, I realized that it was a small owl. I quickly called Phil and he came right down. He’s always loved to photograph birds and he thought it was a Pygmy-Owl. Gayl is an artist and loves to paint and sketch owls so Phil went back to get her. She would just love this opportunity to see an owl so close. What a treat!

The little owl just sat there and posed for us for about 15 minutes. When we got home, Gayl got out her newer book on Small Owls and we saw that indeed it was a Northern Pigmy-Owl. They are appropriately named because they are the smallest owl, only about 7″ long and weighing 3.5 oz. It is interesting that it frequently catches prey that outweighs it.

The Pygmy-Owl is able to guard itself from predators because it has “false eyes” on the back of its head that stare blankly at you. These eyes scare larger birds away because they are less likely to attack a bird that is looking in their direction. Thus the Pygmy-Owl “guards” its own back.

The Pygmy-Owls typically nest in abandoned woodpecker nests and natural tree hallows. They usually feed between dusk and dawn, eating small rodents, large insects, small birds, reptiles and amphibians.

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A Gorgeous Bald Eagle Landed In A Dead Tree Right Near Me At Lake Estes



I was taking a walk around Lake Estes the other day and was thinking that I hadn’t seen a Bald Eagle in quite a while. As I neared this one tree where they sometime perch, I saw one sitting right up there. I took a few photographs but he was pretty far away. I couldn’t wait to go home and show Phil that I had finally seen one!

As I approached the other side of the lake, there he was, sitting in another dead tree eating his prey. It looked like a fish he had just caught. What perfect timing!

I clicked away and I think I got a few really nice photographs of this gorgeous Bald Eagle. What a treat! And he was only about 30 feet away. Isn’t the background spectacular?






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Is It Migrating Season For The Western Bluebird?



When we built our house a few years ago, we made sure that we had “over-sized” windows in our bedroom so that we could see everything that was outside. Our property abuts Rocky Mountain National Park, so it is just spectacular! Our bedroom window looks right up the mountains. It is just beautiful, even at night when you can see the billions of stars light up the sky.

Today about 12:00 noon we noticed a lot of activity on the hillside outside the bedroom window. Expecting to find Junkos feasting on the seeds that we had planted a few weeks ago, we were treated to a field full of Western Bluebirds. They were eating everything in sight. There must’ve been 15-20 of them scurrying about. They were just beautiful.

I quickly got my camera out and tried to take some shots. Western Bluebirds love to perch on stone walls, fence posts and anything that sticks out of the ground. With camera in hand, here are some of the pictures that I was able to take in the 10 minutes that they graced us with their presence!

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Red-Naped Sapsucker At Lake Estes In Estes Park



The Red-Naped Sapsucker is such a beautiful bird with the red on top of its head and on its throat. It drills lines of parallel “wells” in the bark of a tree. These wells then fill up with sap and attract insects. The Sapsuckers then make their rounds  collecting the trapped bugs and pooled sap. Pretty cool, huh?

We see these Sapsuckers on many trails, especially around Lake Estes and Cub Lake Trail In Rocky Mountain National Park. You can hear them drilling away in the trees!

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Three-Toed Woodpecker In Estes Park



I was walking into town the other day when I heard a Woodpecker nearby. I looked up and there was a Three-toed Woodpecker pecking away on the utility pole. He was making pretty good headway.

I wasn’t sure what kind of Woodpecker it was, but the bit of yellow on its head let me believe it was a Three-toed Woodpecker. I have only seen them a few times over the years in Rocky Mountain National Park, never on the road in Estes Park.

What a treat!

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Love Those Cedar Waxwings At Lake Estes!



I was just commenting to Phil last week that I hadn’t seen any Cedar Waxwings this year at Lake Estes. And then, there was one Cedar Waxwing flitting from tree to tree right in front of us.

Such a beautiful and colorful bird! Love the red on his wings and the yellow on the tip of his tail.

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Double-Crested Cormorant At Lake Estes



The Double-crested Cormorant reminds me so much of back east. As we kayaked along the shores, the Double-crested Cormorants were everywhere!

They were so much fun to see as they dove for food or lazed on the rocks with their wings spread to dry.

Have you ever seen a Double-crested Cormorant?

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Little Hummingbird At My Home in Estes Park



When I looked out the window at my home in Estes Park early the other morning, there was this little Hummingbird perched on the bench of our picnic table. He was so cute, but what was he doing there? Ready for breakfast? How cute!


We took a few photographs as he looked around. Then he tried fluttering his little wings without moving at all.


And finally he flew away. We wondered if he had hit the window and was stunned for a few moments… Such an endearing little guy!


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Two Huge American White Pelicans At Lake Estes



I saw these two huge white American White Pelicans flying over Lake Estes on Friday. They landed right at the peninsula by the bridge.

What an enormous bird compared to the Geese that are standing next to them!

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