Saturday, February 3, 2007

Up into Colorado Mountains & Down along the Platte River

February 3, 2007

Yes, I did not go birding yesterday; I am a little amazed myself! Too cold and nasty out, winds were outrageous.

Today was much better. David Bear and I drove up to Summit County to look for mountain species. We enjoyed much success. Our list included:

Rosy Finches

Evening Grosbeaks

Pine Grosbeaks

Pine Siskins

Mountain Chickadees

Red-breasted Nuthatches

White-breasted Nuthatches

Pygmy Nuthatches

Brown Creeper

Red Crossbills (Clear Creek County)

Six Barrow's Goldeneyes were still at the Blue River Water Treatment Plant just south of Silverthorne.

We stayed on Loveland Pass for about 2 hours. Our search for White-tailed Ptarmigan was not successful. In my experience, weekends are not the best time to search. Too many snow boarders and skiers use the pass as a jumping off point to avoid the pricey lift tickets at Loveland Ski Basin.

After lunch we decided to see if the Greater Scaup were still on the South Platte River at Evans Avenue. They were relocated about 200 yards south (upstream) of the Evans Bridge. This is just north of the footbridge going across the river (south of Grant-Frontier Park).

We were sidetracked for awhile. We parked at the parking area for Pasquinel’s Landing Park (1 block south of Evans and Huron). Overland Golf Course is just north and we could see Ruby Hill Park off to the northwest.

In an hour, the Pied Crow (probably same one from last summer) flew over our car four times. When it was not in the trees near the radio tower (alley, northeast of South Huron Street & W. Ashbury Avenue), it was constantly harassed by dozens of American Crows and a Sharp-shinned Hawk. When we left, it was still in the neighborhood at S. Galapago & W. Jewell Avenue (about 3 blocks from the park at south end of the Overland Golf Course).

According to Microsoft Streets and Trips, this sighting is 3.6 miles (as the Crow flies) from the 10/6/2006 sightings at Sheridan Blvd & Alameda Ave.

Our hike took us up and down the Platte (for a 1/2 mile in each direction). Many Northern Shovelers, Lesser Scaups, Ring-necked Ducks, Mallards, and Gadwalls were counted. Several American Coots were also around.

And one less…….as we approached the Evan Bridge a Peregrine Falcon swooped down and grabbed an American Coot! It then flew over the bridge and landed on the sandbar about 50 yards south of the Evans Avenue Bridge. We did not notice its landing until we got down there; then the Peregrine Falcon flew east. Several American Crows and another Sharp-shinned Hawk harassed it as the Falcon departed; without its prize.

There was a dead female/immature Hooded Merganser near the Evans Bridge. Perhaps another victim of the Peregrine Falcon?

Next we stopped at Wheat Ridge Greenbelt. The Eastern Screech-Owl was not out of its tree (just east of Jack’s Place Picnic Table) at 3:30pm.

Our final stop of the day was the Denver West Office Complex. A Western Scrub-Jay was in the park at the northeast corner of the complex. We found no warblers today. A couple of Townsend's Solitaires (which were David’s target bird) and 2 White-breasted Nuthatches were about all we found. We looked for an hour in Georgetown and Silver Plume for Townsend's Solitaires; without success. Quite glad to find one in Denver!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks again Rich for showing me so many lifebirds. I'm impressed with your knowledge of Colorado Birds. Give me a holler if you make it to California. Dave Bear