Sunday 7/10: Today was the second day of field trips. After a stop at Safeway for muffins, I joined the group and immediately could tell I made the right decision staying out of the mountains. The first interesting sighting of the day came while waiting for everyone to assemble, when a train made up of airplane bodies passed by.
I ended up riding with Dave and Shelley again and we headed to the first stop, the CSU Environmental Learning Center. It was a bit dry and windy and it took some time to find something beyond meadowhawks. We did eventually come up with Blue-eyed Darners and a few other moderately interesting odes. Also lots and lots of grasshoppers (several in every net swing through the grass) plus a Spurge Hawk Moth caterpillar.
Back at the parking lot, we found a few more things including this Western-type Eastern Pondhawk.
We then moved on to the Frank SWA nearby. It wasn’t overly exciting but I eventually picked up at least 5 species of Bluets and some American Rubyspots. Nothing good for photographing though.
After a brief snack stop, we continued to the Golden Ponds in Longmont. Although not much to look at, they produced lots of good things starting with Sulphur-tipped Clubtail.
Working around, there were lots of other odes, most of which turned out to be eastern ones that got the locals excited and bored the rest of us. This Western Pondhawk was good for everyone (good for the easterners and interesting taxonomically for the locals as most of the females looked like the Eastern one earlier).
The pelican also entertained some of us.
We continued all around and watched the thunderstorms just to the south. At this point, our car bailed on the day and headed off to find ice cream. The root beer float was a perfect break. Back at the car, some of the other group was returning and had an orchid as highlight of the day, very glad I stayed low.
Back in Fort Collins, I decided to check a spot where others had reported many meadowhawks. It turned out to be almost adjacent to the Riverbend Ponds from Thursday. Either the meadowhawks had spread out or I wasn’t in the exact spot as I didn’t find any interesting ones, but there was plenty to keep me interested.
This Cliff Swallow colony was typical of most bridges in the area.
Bugs of interest included several Paiute Dancers and a couple Western Red Damsels. Good birds included Marsh Wrens (much harder to see than our Eastern ones) and a Blue Grosbeak.
Back to the hotel for a shower and then a run back to Larkburger, where I found out that not getting fries last time was a big mistake.