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
yesterday.

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.

Later......

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
cabinets.

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
Center."

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

Tuesday:

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
neighborhood.

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
success.

Wednesday:

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
observed.

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.

Thursday:

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
shore.

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!

1 comment:

Terry said...

Congrats on posting the blog! I have missed your bird reports. Keep up the great work! Terry Michaels