ACES Morning Birding at Hallam Lake 01/09/24
January 9, 2024
Tuesday, January 9, 2024, 8:00-11:00am
Weather: Partly cloudy and cold
Location: Hallam Lake & Rio Grande Trail, Aspen, CO
While today’s species list is short, our experiences were interesting and fun! Winter has a way of focusing our attention on individual birds and providing opportunities to observe details and behaviors. We enjoyed seeing a Pied-billed Grebe with a small flock of Ring-necked Ducks, giving us great comparisons of the bird’ different sizes and body structures. Two Bald Eagles perched in the prominent dead tree at the upper end of the main lake and then flew to perch side by side in a cottonwood tree across the lake, making us wonder if they were a pair or simply hanging out together at a site with abundant food. A Dipper worked the edges of the lake, eventually coming close to us and feeding from the edge of the lake ice where it caught two minnows in quick succession. We watched the Dipper bang the minnows on the ice before swallowing them. At the back of the preserve, the resident beaver family had built an impressive food cache of thin alder and willow branches anchored in the pond mud and sticking out above the surface of the ice. While discussing the beavers’ winter lifestyle, we noticed ripples in the water at a small hole in the ice and were treated to two amazing observations of a beaver swimming just beneath the transparent ice. This took our breath away! Later, we enjoyed watching Pygmy Nuthatches and Chickadees at the ACES feeders. During two warming-up sessions inside, we discussed best birding books of the year, including Flight Paths by Rebecca Heisman, and winter birding highlights including pair-bonding behavior in waterfowl and early nesting of Great Horned Owls. Join us for Morning Birding on February 6!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide