Sunday, January 19, 2020

A Third Snowy Owl Search Is Unsuccessful

January 19, 2020

Richard Stevens:

High today was 45 degrees.  Winds were 4-5 mph with afternoon gusts to 12 mph.

Terry Michaels and I heard a Long-eared Owl and Eastern Screech-Owl while we camped at Jackson Reservoir (Morgan) this morning.

Again, most of the day was spent searching for the reported Snowy Owl.  Our search today extended north to hwy 14 and then west to Kersey.  That was in addition to driving most of the gravel roads north of Riverside and Jackson Reservoirs east to Weldona and west to Kersey.

Five Lapland Longspurs were found along the trek.  A Merlin was found near Weld CR 93 and CR 80.  Raptors included Red-tailed Hawks, one Ferruginous Hawk, two Rough-legged Hawks, half a dozen American Kestrels and a Great Horned Owl.

Another Search for a Morgan County Snowy Owl

January 18, 2020

Richard Stevens:

High temperature today was 43 degrees.  Winds were 8-9 mph with gusts to 18 mph.

Terry Michaels and I spent the day again searching unsuccessfully for the Snowy Owl reported near Riverside Reservoir.  The rancher who reported the owl is adamant that it is a Snowy Owl.

We did not relocate it.  A couple of Lapland Longspurs were found along Morgan CR 4.

We found a Swamp Sparrow along the western side of Andrick Wildlife Area.

A hike to the northwest corner of Jackson Reservoir 30 minutes before sunset found a Short-eared Owl flying back and forth across the field to the northwest.

Friday, January 17, 2020

Birding Around Denver

January 17, 2020

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I birded around metro Denver area today.  High temperature was 54 degrees.  Winds were quite strong at 16-17 mph with gusts to 31 mph.

We returned to Centennial (Arapahoe) for my fourth stakeout of the Carolina Wren.  Already missed 10 hours over three days I was going to give it three hours today.  

After we sat for two hours, the Carolina Wren flew to below the feeders in the backyard.  By the time I retrieved my camera, the wren had walked into a small depression in the yard.  As we waiting for the wren to pop back out, the forever present squirrel scared the bird away.  It did not return in the next hour and we left.

Our next stop was Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  The Lesser Black-backed Gull (photos on Colorado Birding Society's website) flew in from the direction of Havana Ponds.  When not on Lake Ladora, I would look at Havana Ponds if interested in seeing the Gull.

We continued east to the Town of Barr.  Only four of the resident flock of fifty Great-tailed Grackles were found today.  Winds of 20+ mph did not help the search.

At Barr Lake, we scoped the Lake from the boat ramp and found a Common Loon swimming in one of the few open water areas.  Less than a dozen gulls were seen.  Only seven Bald Eagles were counted.

No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver).

Search for Snowy Owl in Morgan County

January 16, 2020

Richard Stevens:

It was a cold day with a high of only 36 degrees.  Winds were 5-6 mph with gusts to 18 mph late in the afternoon.

I received a report of a Snowy Owl north and east of Riverside Reservoir (Morgan County); Terry Michaels and I headed up that way.  We spent over four hours searching unsuccessfully for the Owl.  Riverside Reservoir is private; perhaps it is staying on that property?

We ran into several flocks of Horned Larks that were accompanied by Lapland Longspurs.  One Northern Shrike was found along Morgan CR 89.

On the trip home we swung by Jackson Reservoir (Morgan).  The Lake was mostly ice covered.  Only a few gulls hung around.

One Long-eared Owl was found in the western Campgrounds.  The resident Eastern Screech-Owl did not call this evening.

A White-throated Sparrow was between Pelican Campgrounds and the Lake.  Not much else was moving about.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Adams County

January 15, 2020

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I birded in Adams County today.  The high temperature was 46 degrees.  Winds were 16-17 mph with gusts to 28 mph.

The Lesser Black-backed Gull was back on the ice at Lake Ladora, Rocky Mountain Arsenal.

The Long-tailed Duck was swimming in the open water on East Gravel Lake.  Susan Rosine reported it yesterday on Dahlia Pond; however, the sign on the dam tower states East Gravel Lake.

I first saw it on East Gravel Lake on 12/18.  I believed it to be the Long-tailed Duck reported by Scott Somershoe 12/16/2019 on the pond near the Dog Hearing Training Center, just north of Dahlia Pond & 88th avenue.

We then walked the South Platte Birding Area from 88th avenue to Steele Street.  The pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes continues on the South Platte River, just upstream of the green/white tower.

After dropping Rebecca at home, I drove to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).   I walked down from the south side to the bench near mile 2.5.  Eventually I found the Yellow-billed Loon, two Common Loons and the Pacific Loon.

Later entering from the north side, I found one of the Lesser Black-backed Gulls below the lower parking area pavilion.

No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening along the DIA Owl Loop.  I was parked at 88th avenue just east of the toll road bridge.

I put photos of both Lesser Black-backed Gulls on the Colorado Birding Society's photo library:

Photos of the Long-tailed Duck and Barrow's Goldeneyes are posted on the "recent witness photos" link

Jackson County

January 11-14, 2020

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I spent four leisure days cross country skiing and snowshoeing around Gould (Jackson County).  Weather was quite good with moderate winds for this area in winter.  Several nights were calm


American Three-toed Woodpecker: one was found during a snowshoe trip up Zimmerman Lake Loop trail 1/11

American Three-toed Woodpecker across from Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center on 1/12

American Three-toed Woodpecker at Ranger Lakes on 1/14

Several stops at the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center only saw one Gray-crowned Rosy Finch 

Boreal Owls were heard on a windless night (1/11-early 1/12) at the upper Joe Wright parking area (Larimer)

Boreal Owls (one each) were heard just west of Cameron Pass and in the Colorado State Forest

Boreal Owl was heard at Ranger Lakes on 1/14

Rosy Finches (160 at one private ranch and 110 at another),  none found in Walden

Misses: two attempts to find Greater Sage-Grouse west of Coalmont (CR 26) were not successful

No Dusky Grouse ran across this trip

Best time: playing bridge with friends whose ranch is west of Walden.  Usually their driveway is snow bound but not yet this year.  Their resident Northern Saw-whet Owl has not been heard in a month or so

On the drive back to Denver shortly after midnight 1/15, we stopped at five of the Campgrounds/picnic areas along hwy 14 between Cameron Pass and Fort Collins.  No owls were heard

Friday, January 10, 2020

Search for Uncommon Geese in Adams County

January 10, 2020

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures only reached 30 degrees.  High were 12-13 mph with gusts to 17 mph.

We tried to stay away from traffic today.  It is a difficult goal in today's crowded metro area.

Rebecca and I spent the late morning and early afternoon searching for uncommon geese in Adams County.  While hundreds of geese were observed only one Greater White-fronted Goose was found (no Brants).

The Greater White-fronted Goose was on the ice at the Montbello Recreation Center.

Places searched included Gateway Recreation Pond (many geese), Gateway Pond, Star K Ranch, and Barr Lake State Park.

Again, no Short-eared Owls appeared at the DIA Owl Loop.  Today we parked at 88th avenue and Toll Road location.