Monday July 4: Today started well and then ended with a bit of a disaster. After clearing out of the hotel, I headed for Deer Creek Canyon Park. It was fairly similar to Roxborough (and all the foothill parks) but had a bit more birdlife. Early highlights included Yellow-breasted Chat and White-throated Swift.
Further around, I found the only Virginia’s Warbler of the trip and had a more cooperative Lazuli Bunting.
Working back to the car, I had a nice look at an as-yet unidentified chipmunk and a few butterflies including a comma and a Garita Skipperling.
Along the wetter area, I heard an interesting song. It sounded quite a bit like a Mourning Warbler and sure enough there was a MacGillivray’s posing.
Back at the car, I decided to try the nearby Lair O’ the Bear Park which is a recommended site for American Dipper. Unfortunately it was mobbed (I had to park on the road in) and there were people all along the water. Walking up and around I did find a little privacy but not much beyond an Eight-spotted Skimmer.
Eventually I gave up and decided that I might as well try to reach Guanella Pass and look for ptarmigan and rosy-finches. On the way, I found the car doesn’t have much power (struggled to keep it above 50 on the hills). Reaching Georgetown, I found most of the roads closed for Fourth of July celebrations and I couldn’t find my way through to the road to the pass. If I had researched the trip properly, I could have stopped for Rufous-collared Sparrow but instead I found the sheep viewing area and ate lunch. No sheep were around but a Golden-mantled Ground-Squirrel was nice.
I decided to head back towards Denver or Boulder and find something easy to do for the afternoon. On the way, there were signs warning that there was an accident up ahead and the road was severely backed up. I figured it wouldn’t be that bad and it wasn’t until I got within a couple miles of the spot where the truck had overturned. Two hours later, traffic started moving again. Having had enough (it was well into the 90’s), I pulled off at the next exit and stopped at the first hotel (a Hampton Inn that was a bit overpriced). After a shower, I walked to the pizza place in the same complex. It was pretty good and there was enough left for the next two lunches.