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Fitness and Photography for Fun - A blog on staying fit by hiking and doing photography by David Mendosa

Monte Vista NWR

August 30th, 2011 · No Comments

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My plan was to spend two nights at a remote cabin high in the Rio Grande National Forest as a sort of retreat. I planned to visit Valley View Hot Springs en route to the cabin and then go to the Alamosa area of south central Colorado for birding.

The bookends of my plan came off as planned. But I ran into a snag at the center.

When I got to the cabin late Friday afternoon, the combination on the gate and on the cabin itself that the Forest Service gave me didn’t open the lock. This was as far as I got:

Elwood Cabin at 11,200 Feet in Rio Grande National Forest

Elwood Cabin at 11,200 Feet in Rio Grande National Forest

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By the time that I got within cellphone range to call the national forest headquarters at about 4:30 p.m. the office was closed for the weekend. So I spent the night at a motel in the town of Del Norte and moved on the next morning to the Alamosa area. When I got home, I told them and got a full refund.

The Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge was the closest of the places I planned to visit in the Alamosa area of the San Luis Valley. Like many refuges, this one has an auto tour route. Since the vehicle functions as a mobile blind, it lets us get much closer to the birds than normally possible.

An American Coot

An American Coot

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All the other birds that I photographed at Monte Vista were those that I see regularly from my apartment. I nonetheless appreciated them, particularly this American Goldfinch, which I had only previously photographed at my bird feeder.

A Male American Goldfinch in Breeding Plumage

A Male American Goldfinch in Breeding Plumage

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Five Ducklings Run As Fast As They Can From Me

Five Ducklings Run As Fast As They Can From Me

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This flock of birds that flew over me as I watched them at Monte Vista on Saturday morning is beautiful. But identifying them is difficult. Almost everybody I ask has a different opinion. They are probably teals or geese, but which species is the question.

A Dozen Canada Geese Fly By

What species of teal or geese are these dozen birds?

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