Another fantastic bird graced Boulder County this week (on the heels of our recent Louisiana Waterthrush.) I knew something was up when I heard my cell phone ringing throughout my 1st and 2nd period classes yesterday. A quick glance at my email showed that Ted Floyd had found a Ruff(!!!) in the snowstorm at nearby Boulder Reservoir. I have a planning period 3rd hour, so I grabbed my jacket and hit the road for the 'Rez, 10 minutes away. I didn't have bins, scope, or camera, but I gambled that folks would be there and sure enough, a few buddies had the bird in their scopes. LIFER!! I made it back to school half-soaked from the blowing wet snow but with plenty of time to spare before my next class, and headed back in the evening after a stop at home to grab gear. I didn't get real close (I figure it is bad karma to flush a bird that lots of folks are still wanting to see) but at least I got these record shots. There is an interesting discussion going on about the bird's sex. While initially assumed to be a female (Reeve), Bill Maynard raises the possibility that it is a lesser-known male form known as a satellite male. These guys lurk around the lek of displaying males, sneaking in mating opportunities when they can, but they don't look like the spectacular big Ruffs. It will be interesting to see if this issue can be resolved definitively. Whatever the case, I tried again this morning before work but the winds had shifted and so had the bird- a proverbial one-day wonder.
Tundra Swan Song
2 weeks ago