Thursday, February 6, 2020

Birding Around Adams County

February 6, 2020

Richard Stevens:

The high temperature was 37 degrees; it felt warm after the last few days.  Winds were 9-10 mph with gusts to 14 mph.  Another snowstorm is forecasted for the next few days.

A stop at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) found both Lake Ladora and Lower Derby Lake completely ice covered and without one Gull or waterfowl.

Then, I walked the South Platte Birding Area from 88th avenue to hwy 224 (Adams).  No Barrow's Goldeneyes found today.  A Say's Phoebe, Northern Shrike and half a dozen American Tree Sparrows were seen.  

In order of visit:

Many lakes were scoped for the Long-tailed Duck.  Its recent venue East Gravel Lakes had almost no waterfowl and was mostly ice covered.

West Gravel Lakes had two pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, a pair of Common Mergansers and many Hooded Mergansers, no Long-tailed Duck.

East Gravel Lakes was mostly ice covered and had no waterfowl.  Three dozen Ring-billed Gulls and one Herring Gull was the bird count there.  No parking signs have been posted on the northern side; I had to walk from the 88th avenue parking area to see the Lake.

South Dahlia Pond had the most open water.  The Long-tailed Duck was swimming around just south of the halfway point.  Many American Coots, a dozen Common Goldeneye and a few Gadwalls were also there.

I checked North Dahlia Pond because of some birders have reported a second Long-tailed Duck.   This pond was the most ice free and had dozens of Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, American Coots, Northern Shovelers and Gadwalls however no Long-tailed Ducks.

A pair of Great-tailed Grackles was at the south end of the Town of Barr.  A Bald Eagle was on a nest just east of Town, north side of Barr Lake.  Barr Lake itself was almost completely ice covered.

My birding day ended by parking along W. Cargo Road, 0.2 miles south of Third Creek.  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

Mountain Birding

February 1-3, 2020

Richard Stevens:

February 1

High temperature today was 34 degrees in Gould.  Winds were 7-8 mph with gusts to 14 mph.

Rebecca and I headed up to Gould to enjoy Colorado's fantastic winter.  On the trip up we made a detour to Warren Lake (Larimer).  It appeared to be the "Gull hotspot" this month.

Without giving our final decision, we did see the reported Slaty-backed Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull and two Iceland Gulls among a horde of more common gulls.

We stopped at Joe Wright Reservoir, the Summit of Cameron Pass and then walked highway 14 for about a half mile west of the Pass.  Only one Boreal Owl was heard this night; it was 0.2 miles west of the Summit.

February 2

The high of 32 degrees was similar to yesterday.  Winds grew at 9-10 mph with gusts to 21 mph.

On the way to breakfast in Walden, we drove around the small town.  A flock of 40 Rosy Finches was over the School!  We picked out two Brown-capped Rosy Finches among the Gray-crowned Rosy Finches.  No Black Rosy Finches were observed.

Another 400 Rosy Finches (3 species) were observed at a friend's ranch.  Most of the day was spent playing bridge.  After dark, we listened for owls along highway 14 toward Gould.  None was heard this night.

February 3

Another day of high 30 temperatures, winds were 13-14 mph with gusts to 23 mph.

Before sunrise, we drove Jackson CR 26 in search of Greater Sage-Grouse.  None was encountered this morning.  A few hardy Horned Larks were just about all found. 

No Rosy Finches were around Walden this morning.  Nothing uncommon was found from Walden Reservoir to Rand to Gould.

We enjoyed cross-country skiing into the Colorado State Forest.  No uncommon birds to report; however, the American Three-toed Woodpecker was again drumming north of the Visitor's Center.

We were met by Terry Michaels and Sue Ehlmann and drove highway 14 after dark unsuccessfully searching for owls.

February 4-5, 2020

Richard Stevens:

High temperatures reached 13 degrees in Steamboat Springs.  Lows at Summit Lake (Buffalo Pass Road) dipped into -20s.

Terry Michaels and I enjoyed quite an adventure.  We took snowmobiles up Buffalo Pass and camped overnight.  Low temperature at Summit Lake February 4 into 5 was close to -20 degrees.  It tested our sleeping bags, which are rated to -40 degrees.  We stayed comfortable; however getting up in the morning was brutal. 

During the trip, we found three American Three-toed Woodpeckers and a Northern Pygmy-Owl.

On the afternoon of the 5th, we moved to Forest Road 550 near the town of Columbine.  No additional American Three-toed Woodpeckers or owls were encountered; however, we did pick up a Dusky Grouse sighting for the trip!

We would have enjoyed staying in the mountains; however, forecast calls for 2-3 feet of additional snow in the area.

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Another Birding Day Around Denver

January 30, 2020

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures only reached 39 degrees today.  Winds were 12-13 mph with gusts at 4:00 of 29 mph along the DIA Owl loop.  It started snowing around 2:00 pm

I started my birding day scoping Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  Several thousand gulls stood around the shore, mostly at mile 2.5 and 4.0.  Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were the only uncommon gulls picked out.

I was headed toward Richmil Ranch Open Space when a text message stated that the Northern Mockingbird was again spotted at Inspiration Point.  I missed it yesterday; however, it would have been a first Denver County Northern Mockingbird for me.  Plans changed and I headed west.

Yesterday, I wondered what the Mockingbird was eating that attracted it to this small park in the middle of Denver.  There are not many bugs flying about in January; there had to be a source of berries.  That was my focus today.

The north side of the point is rather bare.  Continuing to the south, I found the house with the white metal fence topped with white lanterns had a row of bushes full of berries along the fence.

The wait was less than 10 minutes before the Northern Mockingbird popped up onto the fence.  It disappeared into the large area of low firs before my camera was ready.  It took another 20-minute wait before the Northern Mockingbird jumped back up to the berry bushes; I have no idea what species the bushes were.

Photos of the Northern Mockingbird were posted on the Colorado Birding Society's photo library (recent favorite photos link). 

I passed by Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) on my drive home.  The Lesser Black-backed Gull was searching for food along the northeastern shore of the almost ice free Lake Ladora.

It started to snow as I drove the DIA Owl Loop several times.  In the past, Short-eared Owls have been observed hunting along 114th and West Cargo Road during a snowstorm.  None was seen today.

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Birding Across Western Denver Area

January 29, 2020

Richard Stevens:

It was not much warmer today with a high of 41 degrees.  Winds were calmer at 5-6 mph with gusts to 9 mph.

I birded around Denver today.  My first stop was Inspiration Park at I70 and Sheridan Blvd (Jefferson).  Yesterday's Northern Mockingbird was not found while I circled the Park twice.  

The north side has plenty of bushes for the Mockingbird to hide.  I remember the Northern Mockingbird that spent a month along Dry Creek stayed quite hidden most of the time.

A Snow Goose was with a flock of 50+ White-cheeked Geese.

The next stop was more successful.  The Brant was on the grass along the north side of Lake Arbor (Jefferson), captured some nice photos.

I continued north to Lac Amora Open Space (Broomfield).  Many Eurasian Collared-Doves and the White-winged Dove were in the backyards along the south side of the Park.

The White-winged Dove would not allow close approaching.  Captured photos of several of the Eurasian Collared-Dove; however, I did not get the White-winged Dove.  Saw it a second time along Rock Creek Drive and a final time at the first yard west of Rock Creek Road and Poplar Way.

Ran into Frank Farrell who saw a Harlan's Hawk at the Miramonte Blvd entrance to Lac Amora Park.  I later saw the Hawk in a cottonwood along the north side of Josh's Pond (western entrance to park off Rock Creek Drive).

My next stop was the South Platte Birding Area at 88th avenue (Adams).  One of the Long-tailed Ducks continues to swim with Buffleheads and Common Goldeneyes on East Gravel Lake.

The penultimate stop was Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  The Lesser Black-backed Gull was again on the ice at Lake Ladora.

I parked briefly at the 88th Avenue Bridge over the toll road (east of Tower Road).  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

Photos of the geese will be put on the Colorado Birding Society's photo library later tonight. 

Owling at Jackson Reservoir

January 28, 2020

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures only reached 40 degrees today.  Winds were 10-11 mph with gusts to 13 mph.

I took two friends to Jackson Reservoir (Morgan) hoping to repeat an early four owl trip.  

Regrettably, we only found one Long-eared Owl and one Great Horned Owl.  The Eastern Screech-Owl did not make an appearance today.  No Short-eared Owls flew around the northern Campgrounds at dusk.

Monday, January 27, 2020

Searching for Some Mountain Birds

January 27, 2020

Richard Stevens:

Today was pretty much a bust.  Terry Michaels and I drove to Saint Mary's and searched unsuccessfully for the Bohemian Waxwings reported yesterday.

Then we continued to Idaho Springs and missed on the White-winged Crossbill reported yesterday.

Inclement weather forced us to return shortly after Noon!

Sunday, January 26, 2020

A Trip for Bison With Friends

January 26, 2020

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures reached a pleasant 52 degrees.  Winds were 9-10 mph with gusts to 13 mph.

Rebecca and I took friends out to see the Bison at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  Two adult Bald Eagles thrilled our guests.  Somewhat strange was that one of the Eagles stood on the side of the road near mile 5.0.

After driving the wildlife loop, we stopped by Lake Ladora.  The Lesser Black-backed Gull was standing on the eastern ice.  

Few waterfowl swam in the water at Lower Derby Lake; two days ago, the Lake was completely ice covered.

We passed through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) after dinner.  Nothing uncommon was encountered.  We waited until dusk and civil twilight.  No owls appeared this evening.