Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Eastern Plains

January 31, 2007

We birded Flagler Reservoir at first light. No Short-eared Owls were found. The place was pretty quiet. One Red-bellied Woodpecker was in the trees south of the dam.

Back in Denver, we rushed over to the South Platte River at 88th avenue. A hike from 88th avenue to I270 and back was quite successful. We found 2 male Barrow's Goldeneyes and a female Barrow's Goldeneye about 1.0 miles south of 88th avenue. A pair of Greater Scaups was here also. Continuing South, we found another pair of Greater Scaup on the Platte (halfway between the railroad tracks, around 78th avenue and 74th avenue).

The Long-tailed Duck was missed on our trek south. However, on the trip back, the male duck was about 100 yards south of the 74th avenue (Hwy 224) overpass.

Along the hike there were several parts of the river that could not be seen. Also if the ducks are against the western shore, they will be missed. It is worth several looks if the birds are missed a first time.

We also counted: Mallard, Gadwall, Northern Pintail Duck, American Wigeon, Northern Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Greater Scaup, Lesser Scaup, Long-tailed Duck, Barrow's Goldeneye, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, one male Ruddy Duck!, and American Coot.

Raptors included an adult Bald Eagle, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, and a Prairie Falcon!

The only gulls identified were Herring and Ring-billed Gulls.

January 30, 2007

Bryan Ehlmann, Sue Ehlmann, Rebecca Kosten, and I birded Riverside Park and Fort Morgan Ponds (Morgan County). Nine Eastern Bluebirds were near the east end of Fort Morgan Ponds. The only sparrows found were White-crowned Sparrows and 1 Song Sparrow.

Two Common Redpolls were found at feeders in Fort Morgan. The owner asked us not to reveal her address.

We found Long-eared Owls at two locations in Morgan County. They nested at one of the locations last summer. We won’t put the locations on the internet, but would be happy to help birders to see a Long-eared Owl if asked.

We arrived at the Sterling Water Treatment Plant just before they closed. They allowed us to get a quick look. As we arrived, an immature Golden Eagle flew over and scared the ducks away. One Long-tailed Duck was observed flying away!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Quick Trip to Gateway Park

Did not have much time to bird today. Winds were 15mph; temperature reached 26 degrees.

We did stop by Gateway Park and the west side of LakeCrest (Denver County). Three dozen Common Mergansers and a couple of American Coots were in the small open water area. Four dozen gulls included 9 Herring Gulls and the rest Ring-billed Gulls. An adult Bald Eagle flew overhead and scattered the gulls. The gulls circled low over the water for about 5 minutes; then the Bald Eagle flew on. There was a dead Canada Goose on the ice; perhaps a previous kill of the Bald Eagle.

Female Greater Scaup in Denver County

January 28, 2007

Stan Roth asked me to checkout Greater Scaup sightings along the South Platte River at West Evans Avenue. I eventually hiked a 1/2 mile in either direction of the W. Evans Bridge (Denver County).

At 400 yards north of the bridge, I found a flock of 10 male and 7 female Ring-necked Ducks. An adult female Greater Scaup was among them. When a jogger came down the bike path, the Ring-necked Ducks swam north, while the Greater Scaup went south (upstream).

Her rounded head stood out among the pointed heads of the Ring-necked Ducks.

Later, I relocated the female Greater Scaup among 5 male and 3 female Lesser Scaups. They were about 50 yards north of the Evans Bridge. Her yellow eyes stood out among the brown eyed female Lesser Scaups. Her rounded head and longer, wider bill clinched the sighting. I was not able to find any male Greater Scaups.

Note added 1/29:
I took photos of the 9 scaups on the Platte. As I was leaving, another 5 male scaups flew in from upstream. Looking at the photos this morning, I noticed that one of them was a male Greater Scaup.

Thanks much for David Symonds for finding and reporting the scaup!

A couple of male Common Goldeneyes were also in the area.

Both Veterans and Memorial Lakes at Fort Logan National Cemetery were completely frozen and snow covered. A few Canada Geese walked around the snow covered fields.

Later, I met Rebecca Kosten, Bryan & Sue Ehlmann at the Denver West Office Complex (Jefferson). We hiked around for about an hour. During our stay we counted 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 1 Red-breasted Nuthatch, 2 White-breasted Nuthatches, a dozen Dark-eyed Juncos, and 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet!

We missed the Eastern Screech-Owl at Wheat Ridge Greenbelt.

Sunday, January 28, 2007

Quick Drive Through Cherry Creek Reservoir

January 27, 2007

I took a friend shopping today and did drive through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) along the trek. Cherry Creek Reservoir was quite slow. The only gulls observed were Herring and Ring-billed Gulls. Two Great Blue Herons stood in the snow down by the southwest marina. On the open water were many Common Mergansers, a few American Coots, and Mallards.

We did see a gull that had no black on it? Wing tips appeared completely white; however it just flew over us and continued to the north side of the lake. We were not able to locate it once we reached that side.

Four Bald Eagles were perched in the trees at the campgrounds. Two were full adults and two with white heads with much brown on them.

Twenty six Horned Larks were feeding in the field below the Ranger’s Office. Unfortunately, no Snow Buntings were in the mix.

We could not find the Northern Shrike today (searched main road, campgrounds, and firing range).

We also drove over to Mt Simeon Cemetery (East 6th Avenue & Picadilly Road). We watched 54+ Pronghorn walk around the cemetery. Views were from 10 yards!!!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

Another Trip into the Mountains

January 26, 2007

KC Martin and I only had half a day, but we headed into the mountains anyway. While searching for mountain birds in Summit County we stopped by the Blue River Water Treatment Plant. Four Barrow's Goldeneyes were on the small pond.

We searched for White-tailed Ptarmigan on Loveland Pass (Clear Creek County); without success. It was again quite windy up there. Two Mountain Bluebirds were there however.

After Kelvin left for DIA, I drove over to Barr Lake (Adams). The 1st year Harris's Sparrow was again feeding below the feeders behind the Visitor Center. Many Ring-necked Pheasants were feeding along the road to the boat ramp. Several Red-tailed Hawks were around also.

I could not find any Horned Larks or Snow Buntings or Short-eared Owls while driving the DIA Owl Loop. My day ended under another fantastic sunset over the silhouettes of Mt Evans, Long’s Peak and Pikes Peak.

Another highlight was watching 3 dozen+ Pronghorn wander around the Mt Simeon Cemetery near Picadilly Road and East 6th Avenue.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Arapahoe County Reservoirs

January 24, 2007

Did not get much birding in today. Temperatures were around 34 degrees; winds were mild.

We drove through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) while doing chores. Most of the loops are still snow covered and not passable even in 4 wheel drive vehicles.

Not many birds were moving about. Two adult Bald Eagles stood on the snow covered ice (in the middle of the lake). We did not count more than 8 gulls (all Ring-billed) along our drive. Most of the ducks in the small open water area around the southwest marina were Common Mergansers. Two American Coots and a few Mallards were joined by 2 Great Blue Herons.

Few birds were seen at the campgrounds. Mostly European Starlings and House Sparrows were all that were observed.

We could not find the Northern Shrike. The shrike when found is usually west of the riparian area where Cherry Creek runs under the main road and as far west as the Cottonwood Wetlands Pond. Checking the road to the firing range is also useful for success. However, we did not have any today.

We drove by Quincy Reservoir (which is closed for the winter). Saturday’s trip was cancelled as the water is covered with snow and ice and the hiking paths are covered with several feet of snow.

Aurora Reservoir (also Arapahoe) was in a similar condition. Few birds (even gulls) are around.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Return to Boulder

January 23, 2007

Yesterday, we knew that we were observing something special. The Boulder Varied Thrush stayed out in the open for an hour on a tree branch about 12 feet over our head (though we stayed 30 yards away from the tree). Normally a shy bird which offers brief looks, the bird was perched in the sun and did not move.

Today we returned to Boulder for another look and a possible photograph. The Varied Thrush was seen in the morning rummaging around the garden area at the southeast corner of the house. It disappeared about 10:00am, approximately 10 minutes before we arrived.

I spent a couple of hours during two stops hiking around the area. A Sharp-shinned Hawk was perched in a tree along the canal and about 40 yards from Simmons Drive. An adult Red-tailed Hawk was perched overlooking the yard along Piedmont Avenue when we arrived. It came and went several times during the day.

While I missed the thrush, I was able to watch over a dozen American Robins feeding on various grassy spots devoid of snow around the neighborhood. Two Cassin's Finches visited a feeder along Simmons Drive (near the canal mentioned above). Two Mountain Chickadees and half a dozen Black-capped Chickadees were also observed.

It was a pleasurable time hiking in the 35 degree temperatures after the last few weeks of below freezing weather.

Back in Aurora, we stopped at the Mt Nebo Cemetery off Peoria and 13th avenue. We searched about 1.5 hours for the sapsucker that Jerry Petrosky reported last week. No geese were across the street at Nome Park.

A few small flocks of Canada Geese were found as we drove by several parks. No Brant or Greater White-fronted Geese were found. We stopped by: Expo Park, Delmar Park, BiCentennial Park, Library Park, Mira Vista Golf Course, Aurora Hills Golf Course, and Utah Park.

A check of Gateway Park (west end of LakeCrest) did not find any uncommon gulls or geese. The open water area is quite small. Perhaps it will open in the next few days with the warm winds and temperatures.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Boulder and Adams County

January 22, 2007

We enjoyed a marvelous day of birding. At first light we watched 20+ Evening Grosbeaks in the trees uphill and west & south of Fawnbrook Inn at Allenspark (Boulder County). They only passed by for about 8 minutes and never returned during our stay.

About 60 Rosy Finches came in to the trees and feeders behind the building. Only one Black Rosy Finch was among them. Other birds visiting the feeders included: Pine Siskin, Mountain Chickadee, Downy Woodpecker, and Hairy Woodpecker.

We ran into a flock of about 12-15 Red Crossbills about a mile or 2 south of the road to Brainerd Lake (while we were driving along Highway 72). We drove into Ward and found 2 Pine Grosbeaks at houses along the road that goes by the old train station (I forgot to look at the name, Humboldt or Nelson?).

The main reason for the trip was to checkout Eldora Ski Area (Boulder). Last Thursday and Friday, two birders reported seeing 2-3 White-winged Crossbills in the evergreens southeast of the main building. No Crossbills showed during our stay.

Next we dropped down to the plains and went over to Debra Sparn’s house. The Varied Thrush was quite cooperative and allowed us excellent looks! Thanks much to Debra for finding the bird and inviting birders to come and watch it!

Our subsequent search was at Sheridan Blvd & 104th avenue (Adams). The question came up last week: is the partial albino Red-tailed Hawk being seen in Colorado Springs the same one that was reported for years in Westminster? As we drove east along 104th past Sheridan Blvd, we observed a Western Red-tailed Hawk and the partial albino Red-tailed Hawk together in one of the large cottonwoods (about 0.2 miles east of Sheridan Blvd).

We stopped at 88th avenue & Colorado Blvd (Adams). I hiked south along the Platte River. The male and female Barrow's Goldeneyes were approximately 1.0 miles south of 88th avenue.

South of Brighton, we drove around the subdivision of homes where most owners have airplane hangers (Harvest Road and East 160th Avenue) looking for Waxwings and whatever. However, no Waxwings were found anywhere. The Russian Olive Trees along 152nd avenue and west of Harvest Road again had 200+ American Robins; no Varied Thrush.

The Harris's Sparrow was again below the feeders behind the Visitor’s Center at Barr Lake (Adams). Yesterday’s snowstorm seemed to bring more Song Sparrows (9) and American Tree Sparrows (11) than I have seen previously. Two male Ring-necked Pheasants were also under the feeders. A dozen or so winter plumaged American Goldfinch visited the feeders in front of the building. Another 19 Ring-necked Pheasant were counted along the road out of the state park.

Approximately 90 Horned Lark walked around the horse corrals just north of the Barr Lake entrance, no Snow Buntings though. A male Northern Harrier hunted near the entrance also. A dark morph Red-tailed Hawk stood on the telephone poles around the oil tanks south of the entrance.

Our birding day ended with a drive around the DIA Owl. Three flocks of Horned Larks totaled only 15 birds. No Snow Buntings or owls could be found. A Ferruginous Hawk stood on the telephone poles near Grandbay Street and 114th avenue.

The sunset was fantastic also!

A Drive During a Snowstorm

January 21, 2007

I drove the DIA Owl Loop in the late afternoon. Few Horned Larks were found. Two Northern Harriers were observed along 128th avenue. The Harris's Sparrow was below the feeders behind the Barr Lake Visitor’s Center. Of course the snowstorm did not help. During a snowstorm a few years ago I found a Short-eared Owl on a mile marker along 120th avenue; none were around today.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

January 20, 2007

I joined the Boulder Bird Club trip to Valmont Reservoir. The temperature reached about 30 degrees; fortunately winds were mild.

I arrived about an hour before the noon start time and chose to walk down 63rd avenue. I photographed three Eurasian Collared-Doves which were on the telephone wires near Arapahoe Road. They also flew into the few fir trees in the area.

At the two fir trees along the Power Plant Entrance Road I heard a Yellow-rumped Warbler. A White-breasted Nuthatch also flew out of the same trees.

Passerines were few once inside the restricted area. We did find a few Song Sparrows. A Northern Shrike flew to telephone wires above our heads. The group included 83 birders so we had to split into 6 groups. One group did find a Brown Thrasher at the north end of the property. It was not relocated later in the day when several of us went to search for it. Several American Robins and Black-billed Magpies were in the area. Several American Crows and a Raven flew over.

Three Black-crowned Night-Herons (2 juveniles, 1 adult) and many Great Blue Herons were found.

The highlights of course were the gulls. We found at least the following:

Glaucous Gull (2)

Great Black-backed Gull (2 adults)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult, 1st year)

Thayer's Gull (2 juvenile)

Herring Gull (hundreds)

California Gull (6+)

Ring-billed Gull (over 5000)

A few other gulls offered some interesting possibilities. A 4th year Lesser Black-backed Gull? Adult Thayer's Gulls. A couple of hybrids which produced much discussion.

Raptor’s were represented well:

Golden Eagle (3)

Bald Eagle (3)

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Northern Harrier (2-4 if not the same birds showing up in different areas)

Red-tailed Hawk (8)

Ferruginous Hawk (1)

Rough-legged Hawk (outside of property at park)

American Kestrel (2 males, 2 females)

Waterfowl also was represented well:

Pied-billed Grebe, Western Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Canada Geese, Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon (1), Northern Shoveler, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, and American Coot.

Notable misses:

I went in hopes that the possible Iceland Gull would show up. Perhaps the Iceland Gull reported at Green Ridge Glade Reservoir was formerly here? Or the Pueblo gull?

This reservoir was usually good for my first Greater Scaup every year. They have been absent the past two years however. Every Lesser Scaup was scrutinized, but no luck on a Greater Scaup. By the way, Sibley’s “Sibley Guide to Birds” has a great discussion on how it is easier to identify scaups when they are “sleeping” rather than swimming around. (p. 93).

No Dark-eyed Juncos, we thought a little odd. The north end has plenty of thickets and a marshy area. No birds flew about it?

Even with the two misses, it was a great if not “nippy” day to walk around this area that is only open to the public one day a year. Birders can still scope for gulls by entering the Boulder Open Space accessed from 75th avenue. See CoBus website for directions:

In all a rewarding birding day; and not to forget meeting many nice fellow birders!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Search for White-tailed Ptarmigan

January 19, 2007

We drove around Summit County looking for mountain species. A few Rosy Finches, Pine Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, Mountain Chickadees, and Pine Siskin were found. Barrow's Goldeneyes were still on the Blue River Water Treatment Plant (3 miles south of I70 & Hwy 9).

We scoped the hills at the top of Loveland Pass for about an hour. No White-tailed Ptarmigans could be found. It was again quite windy at the top. Our scopes were barely useable. Keeping them steady enough to see anything was quite a chore.

Western Trip

January 18, 2007

Owling last night was interesting. The temperature was -7 degrees with absolutely no wind. I wear an old Air Force coat which keeps me quite warm and dry. I have to say, that the Armed Forces do know how to dress their people!

Even with no moon, we could see fairly well because of light reflecting off of the snow. It’s a little eerie, but quite engrossing.

We again missed on Gunnison Sage-Grouse before sunrise. A quick check found about 50 Rosy Finches at yesterday’s feeders. We then tried to figure out where to find Lewis's Woodpeckers. We would have driven down to Cottonwood Canyon in Baca County, but figured the roads could still be impassable from our last blizzard.

Finally success! The drive to Fruitgrower's Reservoir was a success. Jay found a Lewis's Woodpecker. Afterwards we drove into Escalante Canyon in search of Chukars. Three birds were in the cultivated field just after crossing the river.

Once in Grand Junction, we drove to the southern entrance to the Colorado National Monument. A Gambel's Quail walked along the road just outside of the entrance.

We drove over to Shipwreck Pond, but did not find the Swans reported on 1/16. Then we headed to CO 139 and O Road. The Barn Owls were not around this evening.

After dark we looked for Northern Saw-whet Owls around DeBeque. Jay thought he heard one briefly, but it called for only a few seconds. As usual on this trip, we were hampered by road conditions.

January 17, 2007

Jay and I were up early and again missed on Gunnison Sage-Grouse. The temperature reached -23 degrees during the night. My respect for people living in Gunnison raised much. That is too cold for me! I left my cell phone last night on the car dash board for only 3 hours. The cold killed the battery in that short of time. At 8:00am we walked around for an hour. I was carrying my camera and the newly recharged battery went dead in that hour. Too cold………

We found Rosy Finches visiting a feeder in town. Got all three species and turned to our search for Lewis's Woodpeckers. They have been reported in the past at the Gunnison Cemetery. We scoped the trees; without success.

Missed Gunnison Sage-Grouse at dusk and after dark we tried to find some owls. A Great Horned Owl at the cemetery was it for this night.

January 16, 2007

Jay Melvin and I birded around Canon City today. We missed the Rufous-crowned Sparrows along Tunnel Drive. The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Centennial Park was fairly easy to find (a quick find is always nice once in a while)! The Red-naped Sapsucker at the Abbey was cooperative also as it was found in about 15 minutes.

We searched for the previously reported Winter Wren and Swamp Sparrow reported along the Arkansas Riverwalk; without success. We did find Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches. Again sparrows included Song and White-crowned Sparrows. Bushtits numbers were about 9. Two Great Blue Herons stood along the river. It was again quite cold.

Our birding day ended with a search for Gunnison Sage-Grouse; without success.

January 15, 2007

Jay Melvin and I birded around Pueblo County today. At 7:00am it was about -12 degrees. In two trips to Pueblo Reservoir we found nine species of gulls. These included:

Great Black-backed Gull (2 adults)

Glaucous Gull (1st year)

Herring Gulls (adult, 1st year)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (2 adults, 3rd year, 1st year)

Possible Iceland Gull (1st year)

California Gull (adult, 1st year)

Thayer's Gull (1st year)

Mew Gull (adult)

Ring-billed Gull (many)

We searched part of the Arkansas River in Rock Canyon and found one of the Black Phoebes. The only sparrows found included White-crowned and Song. We did find 5 Bushtits!

A drive down to Greenhorn Meadows Park in Colorado City did not add Lewis's Woodpeckers to our trip list. A few usually hang around the ball fields; none were found today. We looked for bluebirds around the pool area and Lake Beckwith. A few Mountain Bluebirds were found, however no Western.

After dark we tried to go owling in Fremont County. We checked previous Northern Saw-whet Owl locations (Oro Juno and the Oro north of it, I forget the name). Roads were really bad and we did not get far up Phantom Canyon. No Spotted Owls in any case.

Monday, January 15, 2007

A Cold and Snowy Day

This is mostly a test of sending reports to my blog by way of my cell phone. If it works I will update our bird trip of today. I am also supposed to be able to send photos; the challenge would be getting close enough to a bird to take pictures with a cell phone. Technology is pretty cool!

Yesterday, Jay Melvin and I realized early that the roads were going to be too icy for any major bird trip. It snowed lightly almost all day. We did search for Ken Pals Northern Cardinal twice; without success. In between, we parked ourselves on a warm dry sofa and watched the football playoffs.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Bird Reports for 2007, New Blog is up and running!

First I want to thank Terry Michaels for suggesting and helping to
set up this blog. Several birders will have the password to post
reports. Anyone can comment about any of the posts by clicking on
"comment" and pushing anonymous button. Clicking anonymous
button allows one to post a comment. However, please add your
name and city of location with each comment!

All the reports below for 2007 will have the same date as
obviously they were posted today. I was deciding on whether to
continue my trip reports or not. Terry helped with this blog
which allows posts from my cell phone. Also, it does not require
that I spend the hours formatting the reports with HTML code to
post as before.

Enjoy and please leave your comments or add bird sightings!

January 13, 2007

Bill Cryder, Jay Melvin, and I ventured into the mountains this
morning. Half a dozen Barrow's Goldeneyes were with some Common
Goldeneyes at the Blue River Water Treatment Plant (Summit). We
observed several small flocks of Rosy Finches flying overhead.
However, never found a feeder that they might visit.

We checked the area of a Northern Pygmy-Owl report that came in
yesterday; without success.

Since Guanella Pass is closed for quite awhile (maybe well into
spring) we decided to search at Loveland Pass. It took three of
us about 45 minutes to find a pair of White-tailed Ptarmigan. They
were 400 yards east of Highway 6 and about 50 yards below the
parking area.

After lunch we headed back on the DIA Owl Loop. Bill found a Snow
Bunting in a flock of 200+ Horned Lark. We were along 88th avenue
and east of Tower Road. This field which is along the east side
of Tower Road and between 88th and 96th avenues has produced three sightings in 2007. Loch Kilpatrick reported one at the northern
end of the field earlier Saturday.

We ended our birding day by observing the Harris's Sparrow at the
Barr Lake Visitor Center's feeders. No owls were found tonight
along the DIA Owl Loop.

January 12, 2007

Rebecca Kosten and I spent about 4 hours or so searching for the
Brant reported yesterday near the Aurora Municipal Center
Building. Last night's snow appears to have scattered the geese.
No geese were around the building or across the street at the
Aurora Library Ponds.

We found scattered groups of 12 or less Canada Geese. The Brant
was no where to be seen by us. We searched many Aurora Parks and
fields where previous large flocks of geese were observed. Hope
the geese found some uncovered ground to feed, we however did not
find any uncovered ground.

We checked three times for the Glaucous Gull found yesterday at
LakeCrest Pond at Gateway Park. It never appeared. There were a
dozen Herring Gulls and many more Ring-billed Gulls than

January 11, 2007

I left Sedgwick County early Thursday morning and scooted for home
before another snowstorm which was predicted to hit Denver. Again
hoping to cross paths with a Snowy Owl, however I restricted my
travel to main highways.


After 4 enjoyable however uneventful days on Colorado's Eastern
Plains, I returned early Thursday afternoon. I picked up Rebecca
and we drove the DIA Owl Loop after resupplying household

A Great tailed Grackle was in the Russian Olive Trees on the south
side of 152nd avenue at 0.3 miles west of Harvest Road. We
stopped to look at the 400+ American Robins feeding on the seeds.
Our hope for a Varied Thrush did not materialize.

The 1st winter Harris's Sparrow was below the feeders behind the
Barr Lake Visitor Center. Photos are now on the CoBus Photo
Library. Several times it flew to below the feeders at the front
side of the building.

We drove the Owl Loop; not finding any owls or Snow Buntings. Then
decided to visit the Wal-Mart at Tower Road and I70. Along Tower
Road we noticed are large (800+) flock of Horned Larks on the
ground, perhaps 10 yards from the road. We turned around and
scoped the flock. At least one elusive Snow Bunting was among the
flock. Every time a large truck zipped by, the flock would fly
up, but eventually return to the same spot.

After shopping, we decided to look for geese at Emerald Strand
Park and Lakecrest. The pond at the park was frozen, no geese. We
drove down 40th avenue and only saw a few geese on the western end
of the Lakecrest Pond (Gateway Park). I decided to drive in and
check anyway. It was a good choice.

On the ice near the small open water at the western end were 7
adult Herring Gulls, 9 first year HEGU, and 1 second year HEGU.
Next to one of the adults stood a slightly taller and white first
cycle Glaucous Gull. The rest of the gulls included 19 Ring billed
Gulls of various ages. If you visit, please respect private
property and ONLY park in the parking areas for the mailboxes.
There is no parking allowed on the streets themselves.

My photo of the Glaucous Gull will probably be used for the
February cover of "Colorado Field Notes"

Well it is 11:00pm, off to look for Pygmy Owls with a birder from
Missouri. It is only snowing a little out, temperature is around
17 degrees. Predictions are several inches of snow later with
temps down to zero.

Stay warm and dry, continued good birding!

January 10, 2007

After spending the night in Wray, our Snowy Owl search once again
continued; again without success. In the past three days we
covered as much territory as the snow covered roads would allow.
Some of the County Roads will be impassable for many days.

A stop at a friend's home in Wray added a pair of Northern
Cardinals to our trip list. Eurasian Collared-Doves were found
along East 3rd Street near the Butte Motel.

We checked Sandsage Wildlife Area for sparrows without finding any
uncommon ones. A White-throated Sparrow was observed near the
bridge on the road into the Wray Fishing Unit.

The rest of the morning was uneventful as we kept our eyes out for
Snowy Owls. Quite a few Ring-necked Pheasants were found out
looking for food in the snow covered fields.

Our birding day ended as we listened to 2 Eastern Screech-Owls
call after dark on Roger's Ranch.

January 9, 2007

The search for Snowy Owls continued, this time south of
Burlington. We had to be careful to not travel down county roads
that might cause us to get stuck. A Great Horned Owl was found in
the Burlington Cemetery.

In the afternoon we drove up to Bonny Reservoir and Hale Ponds
(Yuma). The usual flock of Eastern Bluebirds was found at Hale.
Red-bellied Woodpeckers were found along CR 4 just before entering
Kansas. A Long-eared Owl was also located below the Bonny
Reservoir dam.

After dark we got 3 Eastern Screech-Owls to answer our playback.
All three were along the Republican River.

January 8, 2007 Roger and I first searched for owls and Snow
Buntings along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams County); without success.
We then headed east in search of Snowy Owls; also without success.
We tried to get to several areas where Snowy Owls were found in
the past (south of Limon, etc). However, many roads were
impassable or not worth trying because of our recent blizzards.

Many Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, and American Kestrels
were found along the way. We ran into several Lapland Longspurs
usually among Horned Lark flocks.

A Great-tailed Grackle was found in the windbreak at the first
house south of I70 and west of Highway 385. We spent the night in
Burlington (Yuma).

January 7, 2007

Roger Danka:

"We struck out again in our search for Snow Buntings
along the DIA owl loop. Two huge flocks of Horned Larks were seen.

A Northern Shrike was east of the shooting range at Cherry Creek
State Park. An adult and 2 sub-adult Bald Eagles stood on the ice.
Another two adult Bald Eagles perched in the trees around the
campgrounds. One Tree Sparrow was the only sparrow found. Also
seen were 2 Northern Harriers and 9 Red tailed Hawks. Only the
main road was open; loop roads are covered in snow. The road over
the dam was closed at 11:00am; don't know if it will open today?"

January 6, 2007

Roger Danka came to visit for the weekend. Originally our plan was
to head over to the DFO Bird Trip to Cherry Creek Reservoir
(Arapahoe County). Bill Cryder had been there on Friday and
stated the water was completely frozen and bird count was low.

Instead we headed up to the South Platte River at 88th avenue. We
again found a male Barrow's Goldeneye about a mile south of
Colorado Blvd. A female was also possibly there but looks were
not good enough for a positive id (as it flew as we approached).
Most of the ducks reported on 1/1 were also relocated.

Roger Danka:

"We went back out birding after lunch, driving the DIA
owl loop in search of Snow Buntings and or Short eared Owls.
Struck out on both, but we did see many Horned Larks and 1 or 2
Lapland Longspurs. It took a while, but we also saw the juv.
Harris's Sparrow at the feeders behind the Barr Lake Visitor

January 5, 2007

Bryan Ehlmann:

"Yesterday Sue Ehlmann, Rebecca Kosten, Rich
Stevens, and I went on a half day skiing trip to the Loveland Ski
Area. Our goal was to look for Ptarmigan on the upper ski runs.
Dani Heck-Garrett had seen them several times in the past. We
could not find any. A flock of about 9 or 10 Gray-crowned Rosy
Finches flew over at the top several times.

We also searched for Ptarmigan on the top of Loveland Pass. Again
we could not find any. Winds were unbelievable. Scopes were
useless. We barely could keep on our feet while walking.

A few more Rosy Finches were seen flying over Silver Plume. But
we could not find any feeders that they might have been using. We
struck out in Georgetown too.

Our other goal was to find someone who would let us put up a
feeder or two for Rosy Finches. While we got a couple of maybes,
nothing definite was found. If someone knows of anyone in the I70
corridor that would allow us to put up a feeder we would be glad
to keep it stocked with seed. Negotiations with the forest service
have been going on since they forced Loveland Ski Basin to take
down their feeders. That avenue appears to be at a stand still.

What we need is permission to put up feeders while informing the
people about what traffic would occur from the many birders who
would visit. It�s not just feeders, but many birder visits
which could be a problem. It was too many birders visiting in
Georgetown that caused the surmise of the feeders there.

Please email me privately with suggestions." Or leave a comment
with this report.

January 2 to 4, 2007


Second day of the new year and Bryan Ehlmann and I headed down
well before sunrise to Pueblo and Fremont Counties to pick up some
of the more uncommon birds still around this winter.

We arrived at Tunnel Drive in Canon City not far past sunrise. A
Rufous-crowned Sparrow was fluttering about the hill behind the
broken down shed. We then hiked the trail west and found about 60
Rosy Finches (Gray-crowned and Black Rosy) on the sunny rocks
above the tunnel.

Our next goal was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker. Several had been
reported around Canon City in late 2006. We had no luck at
Lakeside Cemetery (reported in previous years), Rouse Park, and
the Abbey. Our final stop was better. Bryan found a female
Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at Centennial Park. Several Eurasian
Collared-Doves were found not far to the northeast in their usual

We stopped by a house of a friend and found one of the Curve-
billed Thrashers that have nested in his yard for the past four
years. Several Scaled Quail were also walking around his yard. A
male Spotted Towhee was also around!

A search for the Swamp Sparrow reported by Joey Kellner along the
Arkansas Riverwalk on 1/1 was not successful.

After dark, we searched for owls north of Canon City; without


Our birding day started before daylight. We missed Northern
Pygmy-Owls at Beaver Creek Wildlife Area and a Northern Saw-whet
Owl we had found last fall near Oro Juno (draw along Phantom
Canyon Road).

We did not find any Sage Thrashers along the Swallows Road (west
side of Pueblo West). A Curve-billed Thrasher and 2 Scaled Quail
were observed. A Northern Shrike stood on a fence post. This
road to the Swallows Cemetery sometimes has both shrikes
(Loggerhead Shrike too) in the winter; it was not the case today.

We knew our bird list would greatly increase at Pueblo Reservoir
(Pueblo County). Our hopes were outrageously fulfilled. Among
the gulls we found at the reservoir: a Mew Gull, adult Thayer's
Gull, Great Black-backed Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and a
1st year Glaucous Gull. Any of which would have been a fabulous
prize. Together it was extraordinarily!

And then to our surprise, we found a Red-necked Grebe and Long-
tailed Duck on the reservoir. Two Common Loons were also

Our fortune was not over. We stopped at Valco Ponds Wildlife
Area. Here we added a Black Phoebe and Rusty Blackbird to our
trip list. Both birds were along the Arkansas River.

A quick jot down there added Mountain Bluebirds and 2 Eastern
Bluebirds to our day list. Our birding day ended in search of
White-winged Doves back in Pueblo and Vineland. We did count over
60 Eurasian Collared-Doves; no shortage of them.


After spending the night in Rocky Ford (Otero), we searched for
the resident Inca Doves; without success. A White-winged Dove was
found along Spruce Avenue. Again we found Eurasian Collared-Doves
everywhere in town.

After dropping Bryan off back in Denver, I decided to try for the
Iceland Gull at Valmont Reservoir (Boulder). Sunset appeared to
be the best time and I arrived about 3:30pm. Two other birders
showed up and we waited until it was too dark to see. No Iceland
Gull or Thayer's Gulls were found. We did see a 1st year Glaucous
Gull and an adult and 1st year Lesser Black-backed Gulls!

Valmont also added my first Red-breasted Mergansers (30+) to my
2007 list.

January 1, 2007

First day of a New Year, bird lists start over!

One of the best places to get waterfowl counts in Colorado winters
is the South Platte River at 88th avenue and Colorado Blvd. I
hiked from 88th avenue to I270 and back. The East and West Gravel
Lakes were frozen. This means that the waterfowl are concentrated
on the River, even better!

Besides picking up the expected waterfowl, I also found a male and
female Barrow's Goldeneye. They were on the Platte about 1.0
miles south of 88th avenue. Other waterfowl counted included:

Gadwall, Northern Pintail Duck, American Wigeon, Northern
Shoveler, Green-winged Teal, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser
Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Bufflehead, Hooded Merganser, Common
Merganser, and a pair of Ruddy Ducks. Fourteen ducks is not a bad
start for the year. Canada Geese and several Cackling Geese were
also found.

Several other uncommon birds were also around. A Northern Shrike
stood on the chain link fence along East Gravel Lake. Two
Mourning Doves were not far from there.

A Prairie Falcon flew down the river looking for an easy prey. A
female Northern Harrier also came by. Two Wilson's Snipes walked
the bank of the Platte just south of I270. The only gulls found
at the Sewage Plant south of I270 were Ring-billed Gulls and 1 or
2 California Gulls. A Mew Gull or Herring Gull would have been
nice, but not to be.

Two male and one female Belted Kingfisher were also found along
the hike. Two American Pipits also hunted for food on the rocks
along the Platte. A Western Meadowlark sang from another fence
post. A flock of 9 Brewer's Blackbirds walked along the gravelly

Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings, American Robins,
Northern Flickers, Black-billed Magpies, American Crows, 1 Common
Raven, Black-capped Chickadees, Rock Pigeons, and Killdeer were
some of the more common birds observed. Sparrows included
American Tree Sparrows, 2 Song Sparrows, and 5 White-crowned
Sparrows. Three races of Dark-eyed Juncos also flew about the
thicker brush.

A lone Great Blue Heron peered into the creek at the confluence of
Clear Creek and the South Platte. A little further up Clear
Creek, a juvenile Black-crowned Night-Heron stood on some of the
larger rocks. Near York Street, a Sharp-shinned Hawk flew out of
the cottonwoods and barely missed catching a House Sparrow. Many
House Finches were keeping a close watch on the action.

An adult Bald Eagle perched in a tree overlooking the ponds north
of 88th avenue. Two Red-tailed Hawks, a Rough-legged Hawk, and a
male American Kestrel were also in the area.

A female Downy Woodpecker as well as a male White-breasted
Nuthatch were beating the bark of a cottonwood back near the
parking area. A Townsend's Solitaire whistled its eerie call note
at the top of the same tree.

In all, the hike produced 54 species.

In the afternoon, I picked up a friend and we headed to Parrish
Ranch RV Resort and Event Center in Boulder County, hoping to add
the Golden-crowned Sparrow to the year and day list.

I was quite lucky at the Dude Ranch. It only took about 30
minutes to find the Golden-crowned Sparrow! An American Dipper
was hunting in the fast creek (do not know name?) which pushed by
day (year) list to 56.

My birding day ended at Barr Lake (Adams). The 1st year Harris's
Sparrow was quite cooperative and made several visits to the
feeders behind the Visitor's Center.

White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Dark-eyed Juncos, a Hairy
Woodpecker, and Blue Jay also visited. My first day of 2007
birding ended with 58 birds!