When it got light outside, we changed the flat tire in the motel parkign lot and were able to get the flat tire fixed quickly. In fact we were on the road before 8am. Pretty amazing. And the repair place only charged us $8 and that included re-installing the tire and putting the spare back under the car. Between Lamar and Pueblo CO are a series of ponds and reservoirs, a consequence of being in the Arkansas River drainage. We investigated two of them: Adobe Creek Reservoir and Cheraw Lake. There were plenty of ducks at the first plus some American White Pelicans and a couple of Clark's Grebes. At the second I counted 14 Snowy Plovers and there were Americna Avocets and Black-necked Stilts. But it was the Pectoral Sandpiper that was new for the year.
After a chili relleno combo plate for lunch, we headed toward the mountains with a stop on the way to visit the Royal Gorge Bridge (photo), something I've always wanted to see and always driven past. It was a make-work project constructed at the beginning of the Great Depression, but it never was included in any real transportation system. It was and still is a tourist attraction. Royal Gorge itself is spectacular and passenger trains travel the tracks at the bottom. There were many White-throated Swifts flying around above and a Peregrine Falcon looking for a dinner. From Royal Gorge it was westward and upward over Monarch Pass at 11,319 feet. On the way to Gunnison we stopped to see if any Gunnison Sage-Grouse were on the lek. None were, so we motored on to Crested Butte where four years ago I had seen hundreds of rosy-finches eating scattered birdseed on the snow. This year, however, the lady who had fed them in the past didn't do it. So John and I cruised the town looking for other feeders. We found a couple and above one of them in a set of aspens were a Black Rosy-Finch and six Brown-capped Rosy-Finches, thus completing the trio for the year list (web photo).
Tomorrow we go to the Gunnison Sage-Grouse lek an hour before dawn to await the dancing performance. The two new year birds today bring the list to 442.