Monday, November 19, 2007

Mountain Birding

November 17, 2007

We returned to my friend's ranch and watched 350+ Rosy Finches as we ate a late breakfast. Said our goodbyes for a couple of weeks and headed back to the Colorado State Forest.

Again an hour wait at the KOA campground and Gould did not find the Common Redpoll. At the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center, we watched a pair of Gray-crowned Rosy Finches visit several times. Reports of up to 7 American Three-toed Woodpeckers around the building did us little good. We were not able to get any to respond to our playback recordings.

We stopped at several of the campgrounds along Highway 14 (Larimer). No owls could be found and we continued back to Denver.

November 16, 2007

We started the morning at a private ranch of a friend. Over 300+ Rosy Finches (3 species plus Hepburn's) came to his feeders! He also had a Northern Saw-whet Owl in one of his fir trees! It is a beautiful ranch; the downside is that he and his wife are snowbound for 2 to 3 months minimum every winter. That's too claustrophobic for me.

We drove over to the lakes west of Walden but enjoyed little success. Gary Z found one female Barrow's Goldeneye in the high waves. Winds had to be 30+ mph; it was cold. At Delaney Buttes Lakes, Gary Weston added 2 Common Loons and another Barrow's Goldeneye to our day list. Walden Reservoir was quiet. No scoters were found anywhere and the Burrowing Owl reported last week could not be relocated.

We searched feeders at the KOA campgrounds (at entrance to the Colorado State Forest) and around Gould for the Common Redpoll reported last week. It would have been a great Jackson County and trip bird for all of us. Oh well, we tried.

After dark we searched for Boreal Owls around the Colorado State Forest. We managed to hear 2, observe none. They just would not come close enough for us to great looks.

November 15, 2007

Our group checked the Blue River Water Treatment Plant (Summit County) and Green Mountain Reservoir for Barrow's Goldeneyes; none were around.

We ate lunch while watching feeders in Kremmling (Grand). No Rosy Finches came down from the mountains today. The weather has just been too warm to force them to look for food at feeders. The home owner stated that she had only seen 2 Brown-capped Rosy Finches in the past month.

Windy Gap Reservoir was interesting. Three Barrow's Goldeneyes swam with several dozen Common Goldeneyes. One California Gull was left from last summer's large flock. A Prairie Falcon flew over while we scoped the lake.

Grand Lake and Shadow Mountain were not kind to us. No additional Barrow's Goldeneyes were found.

We ended our birding day by driving the roads around the old Coalmont Lek (Jackson). While there were plenty of Greater Sage-Grouse tracks in the snow, we could not find any birds.

November 14, 2007

We got up early and searched for owls along Cottonwood Pass. Did not enjoy success and continued to Taylor Park Reservoir. Here we found 7 Barrow's Goldeneyes (first reported by Tyler Hicks on 11/12). We were not able to locate the Black Scoter or Rosy Finches that Tyler also found.

At Evelyn Lane near Gunnison we enjoyed better luck. Both Gray-crowned and Brown-capped Rosy Finches were coming to feeders in the neighborhood.

After lunch, we turned around and headed back toward North Park. A quick stop at Twin Lakes added a Common Loon to our day list. We could not find the Pacific Loon that had also recently been reported here.

Once at I70, we headed east and over to Sylvan Lake State Park. We struck out on relocated the Bohemian Waxwings reported there on 11/11.

Our birding day ended by watching 3 species of Rosy Finches come to a feeder in Summit County.

November 13, 2007

Gary Weston, Gary Zeeto, and I headed back into the mountains today. The Park County Reservoirs had fewer birds than my previous visit; there was enough to keep our interest up.

The five Tundra Swans were still at Antero Reservoir. We also found 2 White-winged Scoters and a Pacific Loon. At Spinney Mountain Reservoir, we added another White-winged Scoter and a Surf Scoter to our trip list. No additional scoters were observed at Eleven Mile Reservoir, but we did see 3 Common Loons and 2 Pacific Loons.

Our next stop was the Buena Vista Overlook. A small flock of 5+ Bushtits fluttered about here. Three+ Pinyon Jays could be seen at the KOA campgrounds below the overlook.

We checked several ponds around Salida (Chaffee County). Not many birds were found today. Franz Lake WLA has been slow my last two trips here. Sands Lake WLA was just as slow. Nothing was found at the Arkansas River WLA.

A few Mountain Bluebirds were observed along the road between Salida and the Buena Vista Overlook. About 9 Pinyon Jays flew around the parking area for Ruby Mountain.

We stopped at the Buena Vista home where a Western Screech-Owl was found on my last trip up here. It did not make an appearance this evening. If it is nesting, it would be a first county nesting record. We supplied the home owners with a pair of binoculars and a Peterson's Field Guide to Western Birds. Looking forward to further visits and looks at the bird. Photos will eventually appear in "Colorado Field Notes".

After dark we headed up to the BLM Land north of the Buena Vista Overlook. This night we enjoyed much success by locating two Northern Saw-whet Owls.

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