On our way back, I noticed a trail head with a trail that led through some habitat that looked spectacular for American Three-toed Woodpeckers. We were no more than 50 feet up the trail when we heard a woodpecker drumming on a tree, and we quickly spotted my lifer American Three-toed! Steph didn't get a very good look at the first bird, so we continued on and found another one that gave us much better and longer looks!
On Saturday morning, we headed back towards Denver for the next leg of our trip. It was snowing very hard at Vail Pass along I-70, and we made it through that area only 20 minutes before they shut down the highway. We heard later that it was closed for the next two days! Man were we lucky!
We made a couple of quick stops on the way up to Estes Park, including a stop at Boulder Reservoir. There were tons of Western Grebes on the lake but not tpo much else, so we moved on. As we arrived in Estes Park, we noticed some elk right on the golf course in the middle of town. It was quite a sight, and there were many people who had pulled into the Visitor Center parking lot to check out the herd!
We got an early start the next morning and headed into Rocky Mountain National Park. The wind was howling and Trail Ridge Road was closed 7 miles into the park due to the high winds and heavy snow. Our first stop was right where the road was closed. The view was awesome, and we took some nice pictures, but as I suspected, the birds were not active in the windy conditions. Next, we tried the Endovalley Picnic Area. As we walked around the loop, we noticed that a group of Steller's Jays was following us around! They were very tame and allowed us to capture the photos below!
We battled high winds the next day as well and headed back towards Denver after just a couple of hours in the park. When we got to Denver, we had some time to kill before going to dinner, so we decided to visit Chatfield State Park again. There was pretty much the same mix of birds, but we found a nice spot by the marina to take some awesome pictures of gulls and American White Pelicans. Some of my favorites are below.