Last weekend we took a mini-adventure to John Martin Reservoir State Park near Lamar, Colorado, about two hours east of Pueblo. We prepped for the trip by having dinner with friends at Bingo Burger, then drove to La Junta’s KOA. We had reserved a Camping Cabin for the night, with the promise of a heated space to sleep. Happily, the cabin was already warm from the efforts of two substantial space heaters. The KOA is close to Walmart and other retail spaces, but it was fairly peaceful and we spent an uneventful night. We woke to 17 degrees outside (thank goodness for space heaters) and made some microwaved bacon before heading out (yep, glamping).
We still had about an hour’s drive to the state park, during which we saw many hawks. At the end of the drive, we spotted a gaggle of white geese. We chased them with the car briefly, but there aren’t many roads in eastern Colorado, so we couldn’t get close. We headed into the park, where we found many more snow geese, along with some other feathered friends. The photos below are not in the order we observed them, so I’ll just add notes to each to give you a sense of our bird-y day.
Snow geese on the reservoir. Apparently, during the High Plains Snow Goose Festival February 8-11, there are several times more geese.
Great blue heron on the dam. We were almost even with it before it took off. It was BIG.
Roadrunner (if he catches you, you’re through). This was the second one we saw. The first one was on our hike, and it was flying short stretches, so I wasn’t sure what it was until I saw the second one. (They can fly, just not much.) BTW, this is not the reservoir, it’s the adjacent Lake Hasty, home to the park’s main campground (which does NOT have heated cabins).
Petroglyphs seen on a spur off the Red Shin Hiking Trail.
The target of the trip and hike–Bald Eagles. We didn’t get very close, but probably saw about 10 of them in the trees.
The snow geese were the actual highlight. Their “vees” were intricate, and in the distance they would look like clouds until they changed direction and the sun caught on their feathers. Cool.
Another flightless bird we spotted. We were a looking for the trail when we came upon this rafter of turkeys.
All in all, a successful hiking and bird-spotting adventure.