Sunrise Spectacle at Barr Lake

This morning, I arrived at Barr Lake State Park, NNE of Denver, just after sunrise.  A winter storm, pushing in from the west, obscured the higher peaks of the Front Range but it was mild and sunny at this Piedmont refuge.

Out on the frozen lake, massive flocks of Canada geese, joined by a small number of snow geese, were becoming restless and, soon after my arrival, noisy flocks began to leave for their feeding grounds.  The largest departures, involving thousands of geese, were triggered by bald eagles that strafed the flocks; these deafening clouds of geese, backed by the majestic Rockies, offered one of the more breathtaking natural spectacles that I have been privileged to witness.

My numerous past visits to Barr Lake State Park have generally occurred in spring or late summer, when hordes of migrants join the diverse population of permanent and summer residents; indeed, the Park is known as the birding capitol of Colorado, logging more species than any other site.  Today's visit, while lacking a great deal of species diversity, was certainly one of the more memorable; among the other sightings today were rough-legged and red-tailed hawks, bald eagles, northern harriers, American kestrels, black-billed magpies, mule deer and a variety of winter songbirds.