Colorado Springs Break

Copulation of Prairie Falcons at Garden of the Gods, Colorado, make a group of friars blush.

“The clearest way into the Universe is through a forest wilderness.” ~ John Muir

Spring Break week in March is revered by each member of our family. Some years, we host my brother’s kids and stay-cation in the Houston area instead. On the odd years, my brother reciprocates, takes all four of mine, and Scott and I get a week all to ourselves. There’s never any argument on where it is we’ll go either: Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

From southeast Texas, Colorado Springs is a relatively short 2-day drive with lots of outdoor places to explore once we get there. Manitou Springs is a hippy-dippy place that actually has vegan/vegetarian cuisine, plus the brewery down the road is just what the doctor ordered after a long hike in the woods.

Each day starts with an early morning hike at the Garden of the Gods with Pike’s Peak’s glory in the distance. Two-legged animals abound, mostly in the trees and shrubs and in the air and water; the un-feathered variety are generally sparse. Being mostly western species, Colorado’s birds pad up our eastern annual list. There are dozens we might otherwise never see from our homestead nearer the Gulf Coast, even on migration.

Enjoy these favorite bird photos taken during our Spring Break week earlier this year.

~ Shannon @ DirtNKids Blog

Gray Jay

Camp Robber
Gray Jay

Woodhouse Scrub Jay

You Talkin’ To Me?
Woodhouse Scrub Jay


Angry Bird

Hooded Merganser

Show Off
Hooded Merganser

Brown Creeper

Barely Visible
Brown Creeper (Lifer!)

Clark's Nutcracker

The Prize!!
Clark’s Nutcracker

Northern Shoveler

Duck Soup
Northern Shoveler

Prairie Falcon (Mating)

XXX Show
Prairie Falcon (Mating)

Black-billed Magpie

Black and White
Black-billed Magpie

Mountain Chickadee

Too Cute For Words
Mountain Chickadee

The Colorado Springs Area List — 43 New Species for 2017

Click on any hyperlink to see any photo that didn’t quite make the cut for the blog post.

  • Black-billed Magpie
  • Common Raven
  • Dark-eyed Junco
  • Eurasian Collared-Dove
  • Western Meadowlark
  • Woodhouse Scrub Jay
  • American Dipper
  • Canada Goose
  • Cackling Goose
  • Mountain Bluebird
  • Black-capped Chickadee
  • Say’s Phoebe
  • Northern Flicker
  • Spotted Towhee
  • Prairie Falcon
  • White-breasted Nuthatch
  • Townsend’s Solitaire
  • Western Bluebird
  • Mountain Chickadee
  • Hairy Woodpecker
  • Gray Jay
  • Steller’s Jay
  • Common Merganser
  • American Tree Sparrow — Lifer!
  • California Gull — Lifer!I
  • Horned Lark
  • White-throated Swift
  • Canyon Wren
  • Peregrine Falcon
  • Greater Scaup
  • Hooded Merganser
  • Bushtit
  • Brown Creeper
  • Clark’s Nutcracker
  • American Wigeon
  • Golden-crowned Kinglet — Lifer!
  • Pygmy Nuthatch
  • Northern Shrike — Lifer!
  • American Three-toed Woodpecker
  • Williamson’s Sapsucker — Lifer!
  • Cinnamon Teal
  • Ladder-backed Woodpecker
  • Juniper Titmouse — Lifer! 
  • Wild Turkey

14 thoughts on “Colorado Springs Break

    1. Two days is definitely not enough time! There are plenty of beautiful spaces to explore there, and some are even free to the public (Garden of the Gods being the most notable).

      I loved the one of yours with the long evening shadows — people like posing giants. I was off blogging most of the summer as am I am now, I’m afraid.

      This one is Rainbow Falls underneath a structural ‘rainbow’ bridge with some decidedly rainbow artwork (which is both sad and cool) at Manitou Springs. You really must go visit there someday; very liberal and fun artsy little town.

      Rainbow Falls, Rainbow Bridge


      1. We knew there was more to see in the Colorado Springs area but we had a commitment back in Austin that limited our total trip to three weeks. I say “limited” but we managed to cram in a whole lot of stuff, from the Badlands and Black Hills and Devil’s Tower in the north to Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Carlsbad Caverns in the south.

        Yes, we’ll have to include Manitou Springs on a future trip. I’m sorry to see the graffiti at Rainbow Falls.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. By a book do you mean paper and words and pictures bound together to adorn someone’s coffee table or toilet magazine rack? No, probably not.

      Currently, anyone can enjoy photos digitally any time they choose on SmugMug. I certainly do! Thanks for the lovely compliment, Courtney. They are beautiful aren’t they?

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I love that little brown creeper. And it was fun seeing the shovelers. They were just thick last year at Brazoria. It will be interesting to see how things develop this year, since the refuge still is a bit of a mess. They’re still working on roads, and access to the slough is limited.

    The big news today was that I saw a really big flock of white pelicans wheeling in on the front. There had to be at least thirty of them, and maybe more. Whether they were “our” pelicans that stay around Galveston Bay, or some on their way to somewhere else I can’t say, but it was thrilling to see them.


    1. I’m curious how the wintering birds will do with the abrupt change in their habitats. Hopefully, there will be enough food for everyone! I adore the shovelers and will watch them for a long time with field lenses at Brazoria or Anahuac NWR’s. Thanks for stopping by, Linda. I hope you’re enjoying this cooler weather.


  2. Thank you for sharing your impressions from your trip, Shannon. I love your photos, finally some birds that I have encountered, too. 🙂
    If/when you come back here, I hope we can get together!!!


    1. We are definitely coming back! And you can bet I’ll give you a better heads up (than just a few days) on our itinerary so you can schedule to join up with us for some friendly outdoor birding and photography. Cheers!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow! That merganser has got serious grounds for showing off!
    Awesome pics! LOVE!
    Magpie pic knocked my socks right off.


    1. We ran into him quite by accident. Turns out he was hanging with a small flock of Mallards; in this pic he’s in a hurry to meet back up with them. Glad you enjoyed them all. Can you see why we love being there?

      Liked by 1 person

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