Monday, March 19, 2018

Windy Afternoon In Aurora

March 18, 2018

Temperatures reached 51 degrees today.  The strong winds 9-10 mph with gusts to 22 mph made for a cold day.  Snow started to fall around 5:00 pm

In the afternoon I discovered that access to Windsor Lake, TAVA Waters was limited to property owners.  However, I did talk myself into visiting as a potential leaser.  The American Avocets reported yesterday were not found by me.

Then I scoped Bluff Lake Nature Area (Denver) from the upper lookout.  Nothing uncommon was on the lake.  Eventually I did find one of the two Eastern Bluebirds reported earlier by Jeff Dawson.

Winds were stronger at the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver).  Gusts to 22 mph, then rain turning to snow sent me home.

Windy Afternoon at Arapahoe County Reservoirs

March 17, 2018

Winds were outrageous today.  After taking my tax papers to Parker, I returned by way of Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Temperatures were 61 degrees.  However, anemometer readings were 19-20 mph with gusts to 32 mph.

I scoped Aurora Reservoir four times and only found a pair of Buffleheads.  Perhaps the waterfowl were at the northwest corner using the dam as a windbreak.  Hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls swam in a raft.  Nothing uncommon was found.

Two of the four Long-eared Owls were at their usual spot at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).

Slow Drive Through Rocky Mountain Arsenal

March 16, 2018

It was another windy winter day.  Winds were measured at 13-14 mph with gusts to 30 mph.  One gust topped 39 mph.  High temperature was 54 degrees.

Rebecca and I drove the Wildlife Tour at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  Migration has not started there yet.  I scoped Lower Derby Lake for 30 minutes or so.  Nothing I would call a Greater Scaup was found.  The Lake does have a nothing collection of common waterfowl, unfortunately too far away for photos.

Waves were quite high at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) and Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  There was not much to see on the lakes.  We watched an American Crow try to fly into the wind.  It stayed in one spot for minutes.

North Park Trip

March 12-15, 2018

Rebecca Kosten and I headed up to North Park for a few days.  Typical for the area this time of year, temperatures were in the middle 40s.  Winds were 6-9 mph with gusts to 12 mph at night.

March 12

On the trip up, we stopped at Fort Collins City Park (Larimer).  The Red-necked Grebe (David Leatherman, 2/28) was still there.  We stopped at the Joe Wright Reservoir parking areas, found no Boreal Owls.

We walked highway 14, west of Cameron Pass and eventually heard two Boreal Owls. It was a strange night as winds were calm.  Another Boreal Owl was heard at Ranger Lakes.

March 13, 2018

Five Greater Sage-Grouse came to the Jackson County 26b leks around sunrise.  It was the first time I have observed them dancing this season.

Rebecca and I continued on to Steamboat Springs (Routt).  Target birds were Sharp-tailed Grouse and Bohemian Waxwings.  Fifty percent was not bad.  Two Sharp-tailed Grouse were found along Anglers Drive (east of the McDonalds Restaurant).

While searching for Bohemian Waxwings another two Sharp-tailed Grouse were found along Elk Lane.  Both locations are traditional wintering spots for Sharp-tailed Grouse.  

On the way to Craig, we detoured to the 80 Route.  There was no way our SUV would make it down the road.  

March 14, 2018

About an hour before sunrise, we drove down Moffat County Road 3.  A Sharp-tailed Grouse crossed the road as we drove to the Lek.  Another five Sharp-tailed Grouse were on the Lek.  Unfortunately, a scope is required to view the birds off in the distance.

Next, we returned to Craig and searched unsuccessfully for Bohemian Waxwings.  Then we drove west to Oxbow State Trust Lands.  Public access is closed this time of year; however, birds can be seen and heard from the parking area.  Two Sage Thrashers and a Sagebrush Sparrow were added to our trip list.

Another search for Bohemian Waxwings around Craig was unsuccessful.

After dinner, we listened for Boreal Owls on Rabbit Ears Pass (Routt/Grand).  None was heard this night; winds were 18-22 mph.  Hearing the soft calling owls is quite difficult under these conditions.

March 15, 2018

About two hours before sunrise, a Boreal Owl was heard 1/4 mile up Ruby Jewell Road (Jackson).  Flammulated Owls are heard in the same area; however, it may be too early for them to be in the area?

An American Three-toed Woodpecker was encountered as we hiked back to our SUV parked at Michigan Creek & Ruby Jewell Road.

Again, we checked the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center feeders without finding any Rosy Finches.  The Rosy Finches reported around Gould also avoided us.

We had missed the inclement weather down in Denver and west of the Front Range this week.  A snowstorm was predicted to arrive farther north of west of the Front Range; we decided to return to Denver a day early.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Long-eared Owls at Cherry Creek State Park

March 11, 2018

Richard Stevens:

After dinner, Rebecca & I passed through Cherry Creek State Park (Arapahoe).  No evidence that the Sagebrush Sparrow remained was found.  The two Long-eared Owls were close to the entrance road. 

I will post new photos of the owls to the recent favorite photos, CoBus photo library soon. 

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Return to Aurora Reservoir

March 11, 2018

Richard Stevens:

High temperature was 48 degrees.  Winds of only 4-8 miles per hour helped keeping the wind chill factor down.

In the afternoon, Rebecca Kosten and I went to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Most gulls were quite a distance from the swim beach pavilion #4.  After scoping the lake four times, one White-winged Scoter was found in the middle of the lake.  We were not able to relocate the two Red-necked Grebes reported two days ago.  The four Long-tailed Ducks appear to have moved on.

From our vantage point, perhaps 15 percent of the reservoir cannot be seen.

A Brief Drive Through Cherry Creek State Park

March 10, 2018

Richard Stevens:

It was colder today with a high of 51 mph.  The 12-13 mph winds with gusts to 27 mph made the wind chill much colder.

I passed through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) while out doing chores.  The two Long-eared Owls were at their usual spot along the shooting range entrance road.  I circled the Lake Loop three times, did not find the Sagebrush Sparrow.  It was last reported four days earlier.  The high winds created high waves and few birds could be found on the water.