A Second Try at Red Rocks

Two months ago, a friend and I endured single digit temperatures at Red Rocks Park, hoping to observe rosy finches and this winter's resident golden-crowned sparrow.  While those goals were unsuccessful, we did see a good variety of foothill shrubland species, including scrub jays, magpies, dark-eyed juncos, house finches, black-capped and mountain chickadees and a lone spotted towhee.

Today, blessed with sunshine and temperatures in the 40s (F), I made another visit to Red Rocks, concentrating on the feeder area behind the Trading Post.  While the weather conditions were far more enjoyable, the bird population was essentially unchanged from November; no rosy finches or golden-crowned sparrows were found and, presumably, the same single towhee joined the more numerous species.

Returning to our Littleton farm, some 16 miles southeast and 1000 feet below Red Rocks Park, I observed all of the same species at or near our feeders (though blue jays replaced the scrub jays).  Indeed, there were more species on the farm than there were in that scenic foothill landscape; collared doves, red-breasted and white-breasted nuthatches, northern flickers, downy woodpeckers and American goldfinches were among the additions.  This is a common experience for most birders; having traveled to well-known refuges to view unique species, we return home to find a greater variety in our own backyard.  Then again, I've never observed rosy finches or golden-crowned sparrows on the farm!