Birdwatching with Gemma

My friend Gemma recently visited me from Chicago, so we went for a scenic drive yesterday out HWY 285 to Breckenridge. We passed over Swan Mountain Road and stopped at Sapphire Point. There we saw a number of Steller’s Jays and Black-capped Chickadees.

Steller’s Jay in flight under a pine
Sapphire Point

This morning, before Gemma had to leave, we took a walk in Belmar Park, which is a true birder’s paradise. We saw the usual assortment of ducks and seagulls, swallows and flickers. I was surprised to see that the island in the center of Lake Kountze appeared to be deserted of its usual plethora of avian inhabitants–until we walked around and noticed  the  silhouette of a hawk sitting in the uppermost branches of the tree.

The egrets and avocets have gone, and I noticed only one cormorant, but we did see a Belted Kingfisher swooping over the water. It made quite a striking figure, flying so swiftly from the waterside to tree-branch to a mid-lake perch. It is the first time I can recall seeing a Belted Kingfisher in Belmar.

I also noticed a female mallard with a striking pattern of orange in her wing feathers. She was quite a lovely bird. In fact, everything was beautiful in Belmar this morning, as the yellowing leaves of the trees stood out very brightly against October’s endless gray sky.

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