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Monday, 27 October 2008

Boulder Trails and Lily Lake on Friday 26th September

Our last day in Boulder began with another itinerary recommended by Coyote Bob – the Homestead Trail–Towhee Trail loop. Again my wife decided that this would be too energetic for her (it was!) and so I left her sitting on a seat beside the river with a book in her hand.
the Front Range and start of the Homestead Trail
Things quickly looked promising, with a Northern flicker soon seen, followed by three sparrows which I did not identify there-and-then, but which I subsequently identified as Lincoln’s Sparrow. However, Birdguides ( re-identified these as Song Sparrow. I am still not convinced, so any input would be appreciated.

Song Sparrow (or Lincoln's Sparrow??)

Further on I found what I believe to be Variegated Fritillary, two species of Skipper (unidentified), a probable Edward’s Fritillary, and some other butterflies that I think were Chequerspots or Field Crescents. Birds included Black-capped Chickadee (record shot), Townsend’s Solitaire (into the sun record shot), and a superb Spotted Towhee that was frightened off by a noisy couple descending the trail before I could grab a photo.

Variegated Fritillary

Townsend's Solitaire

Black-capped Chickadee

Skipper sp.

Checkerspot sp. or Field Crescent ???

At one point I saw what I took to be a powder-blue/grey spider (looked like a wolf spider type) carrying an insect across the trail. This then stopped and, to my amazement, the wasp like insect turned out to be the predator, and the spider (many times its body weight) the prey. It was either dead or paralysed. I must try and find out something about these creatures – this one was similar, but of a different species, to the one seen with the caterpillars in Colorado Monument.

'wasp' and prey

Edward's Fritillary

Checkerspot sp. or Field Crescent ???

Common Checkered-Skipper

That afternoon we went out on the Peak-to-Peak Highway again, intending to go to Estes Park, and maybe as far as Rocky Mountain National Park again. However, we did not get there as we found the beautiful Lily Lake, to the south of Estes Park.

Lily Lake

Here, as well as Mallard, we found, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, and Steller’s Jay (still not a good photo as the light was fading, but the best I could manage for the holiday). Mammals included Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, Colorado Chipmunk, and what I believe may have been a Red Squirrel in winter coat (it was mainly grey, but had distinct white eye-ring).


Ring-necked Duck

Red Squirrel ??

Steller's Jay

Lesser Scaup

Colorado Chipmunk

Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel

Back at our hotel, I decided that I had to take a photo of a House Sparrow in the tree outside the window of our room. This was not as easy as it might have been as the window was fixed, and the light was very poor by then.

House Sparrow


  1. Richard: I have to say that I concur with the Song Sparrow i.d. as opposed to Lincoln's Sparrow.

    1. Thank you, David. That's useful information. I'll not edit the post at this late stage!


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