Monday, June 30, 2014

June 29 (Day 180) - Leaving the mountains behind (for now), Williamson's sapsucker for 489!

Today marked my last day in the mountains for a number of weeks. Yesterday peaked at 14,060' on the summit of Mt. Bierstadt and finished at around 7,800' in Genesee. Today I dropped yet further as I biked off the Front Range; I am currently sitting at ~5,300' here in Louisville (about 10 mins east of Boulder - by car). I will be birding around here tomorrow before I head to Boulder on Tuesday and Wednesday to search for Flammulated owl. After that it's north and east to the Pawnee National Grasslands to look for McCown's and Chestnut-collared longspurs, Mountain plover, Ferruginous hawk, and Ring-necked pheasant. After that I'll be done in Colorado! Not 100% sure of the route after that so stay tuned.

44 miles today

My host last night in Genesee/Golden was perhaps the most die hard biker that I have met this year. Frosty Wooldridge has cycled on 6 continents (including Antarctica!) and has probably logged more miles on his bike than many have logged in their cars. He is a very active environmental journalist and adventurer, so we certainly had quite a bit to talk about last night and this morning. He is actually preparing for a tour down the pacific coast this summer and a second one through Italy later in the year. He writes books about his incredible adventures. You can check out more about his trips at Frosty was kind enough to escort me on the the first half of my ride today. He rode his fully loaded bike basically for the hell of it. He claimed it was for training purposes, but I believe he just looks for any excuse to get back in his touring frame of mind. Biking for him appears to serve a meditation-like function. Everything is the world is right for Frosty when he's on the bike. Its like me when I birding/photographing. I love meeting people who are as wound up about anything as I am about birding/photographing. All the money in the world can't buy passion; You gotta find that for yourself.

Frosty with his set-up

I did make one brief birding stop at Genesee Park this morning. Several people had recommended this spot for Williamson's sapsucker. It was only 1.5 miles from Frosty's house, so I swung through this morning to bird a bit. Chris Rurik of Mt. Bierstadt and Rosy finch fame actually birded this area yesterday on his way home to Denver. He found a sapsucker nest and texted me the location. Many people have been eBirding an active nest at this site, so I wonder if this is all the same family. I could easily hear the chicks were begging for food from within the tree when I arrived. Within 10 minutes both the male and female had made feeding visits to the nest hole that was a mere 4 feet off the ground. The light on the actual nest hole was terrible, but I did get this shot of the male as he climbed a bit higher on the tree. Such a pretty bird....

Williamson's sapsucker #489!

This evening was spent at the new home of my high school friend Kevin to whom I introduced everyone yesterday. It was nice to chat with his wife Laine and meet their 8-month old daughter, Harper. Kevin told me hands down the funniest story I have heard in all of 2014. I laughed so hard that I was crying at the dinner table. I almost needed supplemental oxygen. Sorry folks, the details of the $100,000 cookie scandal are staying between old friends.


  1. So Dorian - I know you're not the eBird kind of guy, which makes sense since at this point you're busy enough riding, photographing, researching and then blogging. Sleep is probably at a minimum, so logging all your findings into another source would only take more time. Not sure if there is any other source of cataloging, ranking and organizing birding, but at 489 species for the year, it would appear that you are #4 in the ABA area for 2014!

    That's a pretty amazing feat considering you've done it all without the use of a car, plane, boat. If you could only swim to the Aleutians you might crack the top 3.

    Keep it up #4.

  2. If you look at Lower 48, Dorian is #3!