ABA Camp Colorado Adventure Part 3-Alpine Beauties and Outstanding Banding

The third day of the camp started early with an early morning bird walk around Estes Park before we headed off to the highest point of the trip: an elevation of 11,796 ft in Rocky Mountain National Park. Highlights of the morning bird walk included Mountain Bluebird up close and a cooperative and out-in-the-open Lincoln’s Sparrow! As for the the alpine habitat, the birds were so fun and there were wildflowers, mammals and butterflies all over the place! Highlights of the trip included many White-crowned Sparrows, a pair of male and female Cassin’s Finches, American Pipits running along the rocks and last but definitely greatest were the male and female White-tailed Ptarmigans that sat out in the open on rocks for us and let us look at them for almost an hour! We got Leica scopes on them and all the pictures you could want of a bird and they walked around some and even though it was hard to pick them out of the rocks at first, it was worth it to find this secretive bird! Who knows when I will see one again! Later in the afternoon, we went to the bird banding station and got to watch the bander there show us how to band a variety of species and he talked to us about the birds he has banded there in the past and some cool facts about different species learned through banding. We banded many Pine Siskins, a Broad-tailed Hummingbird, a House Finch and a Green-tailed Towhee! The day was successful overall even though only a few people got glimpses of our other target bird: the Brown-capped Rosy-Finch. There was also a rare species of Arctic that lived at one of the places we stopped, and again only two people saw it! Here are all the animals and plants we saw:

Early Morning Bird Walk:
Birds (10 species, 0 lifers):
House Finch 1
Violet Green Swallow 10
Mountain Bluebird 1
Chipping Sparrow 2
American Crow 2
Common Raven 3
Black-billed Magpie 1
Tree Swallow 1
American Robin 1
Lincoln’s Sparrow 2
Birds (6 species, 2 lifers):
White-crowned Sparrow 3
*Cassin’s Finch 2
American Pipit 4
*White-tailed Ptarmigan 2
Brown-headed Cowbird 1
Pine Siskin 3
Lepidoptera (4 species, 4 lifers):
*Mead’s Sulphur
*Arctic Blue
*Milbert’s Tortoishell
*Hoary Comma
Mammals (4 species, 1 lifer):
*Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel
Yellow-bellied Marmot
Least Chipmunk
Wildflowers (7 species, 4 lifers):
Alpine Buttercups
*Mountain Bluebell
*Moss Campion
*American Bistort
Indian Paintbrush
*Elephant Head
Bird Banding Station:
Black-billed Magpie 1
Stellar’s Jay 1
Pygmy Nuthatch 1
Mountain Bluebird 1
Chipping Sparrow 2
Violet Green Swallow 10
Broad-tailed Hummingbird 1
House Finch 10
Rufous Hummingbird 2
American Robin 1
Hairy Woodpecker 1
Mountain Chickadee 1
American Crow 1
*Prairie Falcon 1
Band-tailed Pigeon 5
Pine Siskin 30
Western Tanager 1
Green-tailed Towhee 1
Lepidoptera (1 species, 0 lifers):
Common Checkered-Skipper

Common Raven
Alpine Buttercups
Moss Campion
White-crowned Sparrow
White-tailed Ptarmigan
Mountain Bluebells
Clark’s Nutcracker
Hoary Comma
Common Checkered-Skipper
Juvenile Chipping Sparrow
Rufous Hummingbird
Hairy Woodpecker