Friday, May 30, 2008

Search for Foothill Birds

May 30, 2008

Richard Stevens:

Five of us traveled up to Guanella Pass (Clear Creek County) by way of I70, then dropped down to Grant (Hwy 285) and back to Denver. What a beautiful day up there today! We left Denver before sunrise in hopes of finding an owl or two (optimistic, weren't we) above Georgetown; that we did not do.

We were quite lucky and found 2 White-tailed Ptarmigan by scoping the hillside to the south-southeast of the upper parking area. Our scopes were set up about 50 yards south of same parking area and we found the birds in less than 20 minutes.

Afterwards we stopped briefly at Pine Valley Ranch Park (Jefferson). A male American Three-toed Woodpecker was found along the Strawberry Jack Trail east of the Buck Gulch Trail. This bird or similar has been seen or heard on 3 or 4 occasions in the past 2 months. It was southeast of where Strawberry Jack Trail turns from eastward to north and is a series of switchbacks. We did not continue to the top where several additional American Three-toed Woodpeckers have been found on several occasions this spring-summer.

At Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) we split up. Jack & I were dropped off at the Discovery Pavilion area and walked the west side of the S. Platte River up to Kingfisher Bridge. Meanwhile, Bryan, Peter, and Andrew hiked the Plum Creek Delta area.

The major push of migration may be over, but we thought a few stragglers could be picked up. Neither group found any uncommon birds.

Jack and I did see two American Redstarts (which may nest in the area). An adult male was south of the trail that runs west from the Pavilion to the Platte River. A second American Redstart was in the tall cottonwoods about 200 yards north of the same trail.

Bryan's group found a Northern Waterthrush along Plum Creek at about 300 yards south (upstream) of the Plum Creek footbridge.

As a group we found many birds, just nothing uncommon. There are nesting Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Western Wood-pewees, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, House Wrens, Yellow Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats, Spotted Towhees, of course American Robins. Other birds found included 1 Least Flycatcher, several unidentified Empidonax species, a Cooper's Hawk, a Great Horned Owl, a Green-tailed Towhee, Gray Catbird, a Sharp-shinned Hawk, and a Lazuli Bunting.

Birding Boulder County

May 29, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I wanted to bird Boulder County as much as possible today. Before sunrise I walked to the picnic area at Doudy Draw and back. Many Yellow-breasted Chats sang along the route. At the thickets about 100 yards from the parking area, a male Lazuli Bunting was very vocal.

It was too dark yet for photos and I walked across the street and surveyed the parking area for the Mesa South Trail. Several Spotted Towhees walking around the short grassy areas more interested in eating than me. If it had not been so dark, I could have taken some nice, close photos. I did not hear any owls along the creek.

At sunrise I headed toward Eldorado Springs to search for the Hooded Warbler in Eldorado Mountain Open Space. It was suggested to park at the gate for the Open Space, but when I arrived there were "no parking" signs all along the road. The alternate route was the Fowler trail near the Post Office in Eldorado Springs. However, when I got to the post office, I could not find the "trailhead".

So I walked the 0.3 miles back to Highway 67 (at Ashram complex) and then 0.2 miles to the Eldorado Mountain Open Space road (which is marked as the Fowler trail on several maps that I have. Along the way, I heard one or two Red-eyed Vireos in the deep thickets surrounding several homes east of the Post Office and east of the for sale sign for a condo.

I was quite glad that I close this route. Once I reached the first switchbacks and entered the sparse forest, birds were numerous. Chipping Sparrows sang constantly. Two Olive-sided Flycatchers joined in the chorus. A couple of Western Wood-pewees were also in the area. A male Broad-tailed Hummingbird buzzed by my head.

At the rock cut through the mountain a male Virginia's Warbler frantically waved his yellow undertail coverts at a female. She on the other hand kept moving to new rocks to get away from him.

As the trail turned south it was lined with fir trees and bushes. I tried to get photos of several pairs of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers fluttering around the lower bushes. They just do not stay still and all my photos are slightly blurred.

When I arrived at the junction of the road and the trail to Eldorado Mountain, the Hooded Warbler was singing constantly (7:22 am). It called until about 7:37 am and then flew south deeper into the thickets. This was just south of the large chokecherry field on the east side of the road.

My return route was the "Fowler horse trail" which is a narrow, disguised path that drops down to Eldorado Springs from near an orange survey sign. Do not make the mistake I almost did of taking the well marked trail (a little fewer south). This trail goes into Eldorado Canyon and is quite a long mistake.

Along this route I watched several pairs of Black-capped Chickadees, a most likely Willow Flycatcher, Chipping Sparrows, and a Western Tanager. The highlight was a Red-eyed Vireo which came out of the bushes and sang (about 10 feet from me)! This was just south of where the trail crosses a irrigation canal.

When I reached the bottom I discovered the "trailhead". I never would have found it earlier. It is a narrow path between the two homes just south and just west of the rock pillars (west of the post office). I would not have figured out that this old horse path was the correct trail.

My next plan was to quickly drive over to Walden Ponds to see if the Least Tern was still around. The route was not quick as 75th avenue between Valmont and Jay Road was reduced to one lane because of construction.

I made a quick stop at the Boulder Bobolink Meadow just west of Cherryvale and Baseline Roads and then sat in traffic for about an hour before getting to Walden Ponds.

My first attempt at finding the Least Tern was not successful. If it was on standing on the backside of one of the many islands in the marsh, it never flew up in the hour I waited. The American Bitterns reported around the Cottonwood Marsh area also did not make an appearance.

So, I decided to drive over to nearby Sawhill Ponds and search for the Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Northern Bobwhite previously reported. Neither was found and I returned to Walden Ponds. This time I was lucky, the Least Tern stood on one of the short sticks along the north side of the Cottonwood Marsh.

I took Lookout Road east from 75th street and saw a Burrowing Owl east of 79th street, then headed south on Hwy 287 to Baseline Road and west to the Greenlee Preserve. My walk around Greenlee and Waneka Lake last about 2 hours or so. It was not as birdy as Ted Floyd's day yesterday.

I did find a MacGillivray's Warbler and American Redstart in the trees behind the bench near the southeast corner of Greenlee. The woods along the south side of Greenlee Reservoir were quiet except for a noisy Great-tailed Grackle, 2 or 3 Western Wood-pewees, and a singing Willow Flycatcher.

While trying to photograph the American Redstart a Yellow-billed Cuckoo flew out of the taller cottonwoods and headed north along the east side of the reservoir. I followed it for a hundred yards and made sure it was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and not a Black-billed.

A walk around Waneka Lake was uneventful. I did not run into the Magnolia Warbler that Ted Floyd reported later in the day. I did see a noisy Great-tailed Grackle and wondered if it was the same bird that was encountered about an hour earlier?

A few Blue Jays, American Goldfinches, and a pair of Black-capped Chickadees were seen along the west side of Waneka Lake as I returned to my car.

It was getting quite hot around 1:00pm. After a quick lunch I headed over to Gregory Canyon to bird at not a good time of the day. I did think that the heat may convince the birds to drop down to the lower canopy where the shade would offer cooler temps.

My hike up Gregory Canyon went as far as last year's Scarlet Tanager sighting. Along the trail bird encountered included: Virginia's Warblers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, MacGillivray's Warbler, Pine Siskin, Western Wood-pewee, and a White-breasted Nuthatch. Nothing uncommon turned up.

Up the southern trail to the first intersection (past a previous year's Hooded Warbler & Kentucky Warbler sighting) few birds moved around in the heat. Another Virginia's Warbler and several Broad-tailed Hummingbirds were seen.

By 4:00pm it was even warmer. A search for the Worm-eating Warbler and Yellow-billed Cuckoo along Boulder Creek below Folsom Field did not turn up any uncommon birds. The Northern Parula reported by Steve Larson earlier or later than my trip was missed by me.

I stopped at several pullovers Flagstaff Mountain Park but did not find anything surprising. Walking around the northern and southern sides of Gross Reservoir also was not very productive. Sunset over the northern end was quite colorful and serene. Winds died down briefly as they usually do at sunset, but then picked up again.

At dusk I drove the east side of the reservoir in search of Common Poorwills. I finally heard one calling at about 2 miles south of the northern parking area. I played Northern Pygmy-Owl tapes at half a dozen locations but did not get any response. In past years Common Poorwill hawked insects around the manger's residence at the southeast corner of Gross Reservoir; unfortunately none were around this night.

I had no luck with getting Northern Pygmy-Owl or Flammulated Owl responses along the trek down to Golden and gave up around midnight.

Exploring Elbert & Douglas Counties

May 28, 2008

Administator, Richard Stevens: This blog is no longer just my trip reports. Anyone can post a trip report and is invited to do so. I have given the password to six people. Anyone not having the password can have a trip report added by emailing it to me.

Contact me though the Colorado Birding Society's website:

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I decided to explore Elbert and Douglas Counties today and visit an old friend.

Our first stop was a drive along Elbert County Road. Well we did drive through the subdivision of homes along the south side of Highway 86 and just east of Franktown. Northern Cardinals and Scissor-tailed Flycatchers have been reported in this area in the past. We of course found neither. There were Pine Siskins, Western Wood-pewees, White-breasted, Red-breasted, and Pygmy Nuthatches. No real surprises.

Along Elbert County Road at 4.1 miles south of hwy 86, we stopped and walked the road for 0.5 mile in either direction. At least 2 Dickcissels were heard and we finally managed to put our scope on one after about an hour. The Dickcissels are in the scraggy alfalfa field on the east side of the road. There were plenty of Vesper Sparrows and one or two Grasshopper Sparrows on the west side of the road.

Two Western Kingbirds and an Eastern Kingbird, a pair of Blue Grosbeaks, many Western Meadowlarks, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a Swainson's Hawk were also observed along the road.

We had lunch at my friend's ranch. In several of the past half dozen years we have found nesting Common Poorwill on his property. None could be found today, but perhaps it is a little early in the year. I only heard of a few Common Poorwill being found across the state so far.

After our hike we wandered down to highway 24 and back up Judge Orr Road. A few Burrowing Owls were located, again nothing surprising.

Near sunset we were back north at the Winkler Ranch (along Castlewood Canyon Road, south of the southwest entrance to the State Park). We stood and heard Bobolinks, Cordilleran Flycatchers, and Vesper Sparrows all singing an end to the day. A Wild Turkey wandered across the section of road where it runs from east to west between the Winkler Ranch and the park.

After dark we listened for Northern Saw-whet Owls at several locations of past "sightings". It was quiet this night.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Memorial Weekend Birding

May 26 & 27, 2008

Bryan Ehlmann:

Originally we were only going up to Julesburg for one day, Sunday. Birding was so great that we stayed Monday also.

NOTE: I could just change the days, but don't want anyone to think something is funny. We stayed Monday and Tuesday, not Sunday & Monday. Because of Memorial Day, I thought yesterday was Monday all day. Missed my garbage pickup date also.

We ended up seeing 24 species of warblers, 4 species of vireos, and some other great birds. In total, 205 species in two days!

The cloudy skies, rain, stormy weather that blew in from Nebraska and Kansas helped to bring some really great birds into Colorado!

Here's what we saw:

Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Red-breasted Merganser
Ring-necked Pheasant
Wild Turkey
Northern Bobwhite
Pied-billed Grebe
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
American Bittern - jumbo reservoir
Great Egret - sedgwick bar wla
Cattle Egret
Green Heron - tamarack ranch wla
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White-faced Ibis - flyover, Red Lion wla
Turkey Vulture
Mississippi Kite - --julesburg, 5/26
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Broad-winged Hawk - --private ranch #1
Swainson's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon - sterling
Prairie Falcon
Virginia Rail
American Coot
Mountain Plover - two private ranches #3 & #5
American Avocet
Spotted Sandpiper
Solitary Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Upland Sandpiper - Duck Creek & Sedgwick Bar wla
Sanderling - jumbo reservoir
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper - private pond/ranch #2
Long-billed Dowitcher - jumbo reservoir
Wilson's Phalarope
Franklin's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Common Tern - sterling reservoir
Forster's Tern
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
White-winged Dove - private ranches #1 & #5
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo - tamarack ranch wla
Black-billed Cuckoo - tamarack ranch wla
Barn Owl - 3 private ranches #1,#3,#5
Eastern Screech-Owl - private ranch #1
Great Horned Owl
Burrowing Owl - sedgwick county
Long-eared Owl - private ranch #3
Short-eared Owl - private ranch #1
Lesser Nighthawk - private ranch #1
Common Nighthawk
Common Poorwill - heard; sedgwick & logan ctys
Chimney Swift - julesburg wayside rest stop & julesburg
Ruby-throated Hummingbird - private ranch #1
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Downy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Western Wood-Pewee
Alder Flycatcher - private ranch #5
Eastern Phoebe
Cassin's Kingbird - private ranch #3
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
Bell's Vireo - tamarack ranch & private ranch #3
Yellow-throated Vireo - private ranch #2
Blue-headed Vireo - private ranch #2
Red-eyed Vireo - tamarack & private ranch #1
Blue Jay
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Horned Lark
Purple Martin - flyover private ranch #5
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
White-breasted Nuthatch
Rock Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Eastern Bluebird
Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Brown Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
Blue-winged Warbler - private ranch #1
Tennessee Warbler - private ranch #1 & #5
Orange-crowned Warbler
Virginia's Warbler - tamarack ranch wla
Northern Parula - private ranch #1
Chestnut-sided Warbler - private ranch #3
Magnolia Warbler - private ranch #1
Cape May Warbler - private ranch #2
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler - tamarack ranch wla
Blackburnian Warbler - private ranch #3
Prairie Warbler - private ranch #2
Blackpoll Warbler - private ranch #1 & #5
Black-and-white Warbler - private ranch #5
American Redstart - private ranch #1, #3, #5
Ovenbird - private ranch #3
Northern Waterthrush - private ranch #1
Mourning Warbler - private ranch #3
MacGillivray's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Hooded Warbler - tamarack ranch wla; private ranch #1
Wilson's Warbler
Canada Warbler - sedgwick county
Yellow-breasted Chat
Summer Tanager - private ranch #2
Western Tanager
Green-tailed Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Cassin's Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Field Sparrow - 3 locations, sedgwick & logan ctys
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Lark Bunting
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Fox Sparrow - private ranch #1
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Swamp Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow - private ranch #1
Harris's Sparrow - private ranch #1
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
McCown's Longspur
Chestnut-collared Longspur
Northern Cardinal - tamarack ranch wla
Rose-breasted Grosbeak - private ranch #4
Black-headed Grosbeak - private ranch #4
Blue Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting
Dickcissel - 3 locations; sedgwick & logan ctys
Bobolink - 3 locations; sedgwick & logan ctys
Red-winged Blackbird
Eastern Meadowlark - private ranch #4
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orchard Oriole
Bullock's Oriole
Baltimore Oriole - private ranch #1, #3, #5
House Finch
Red Crossbill - sedgwick county
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Final Grouse Trip of Year

May 17 to 25, 2008

Roger Danka and I went on the grouse trip. I will just list the highlights and any different locations that we visited. Refer to the April 12, 2008 trip for additional details. (From the Blog homepage you can search for any bird, location, or date (April 12, 2008).

May 17, 2008

Loveland Pass: White-tailed Ptarmigan
Summit County: Rosy Finches, Evening Grosbeak, Pine Grosbeak
Windy Gap Reservoir: Barrow's Goldeneye
Rabbit Ears Pass: American Three-toed Woodpecker
Steamboat Springs: Sharp-tailed Grouse
Near Delaney Buttes Reservoir: Greater Sage-Grouse

May 18, 2008
20 Road Lek: Sharp-tailed Grouse
Oxbow Wildlife Area: Sage Sparrow, Sage Thrasher

Brewster's Ridge: First visit this year as it has been too early to search for Scott's Orioles. Roger and I found one at the usual location (past the switchbacks).

Our birding day ended on the Grand Mesa. Where found one Boreal Owl south of the Spruce Creek Campgrounds. An American Three-toed Woodpecker at Powderhorn Ski Area. We missed the Northern Pygmy-Owls there.

May 19, 2008

Colorado National Monument: Gambel's Quail, Black-throated Sparrow, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Pinyon Jay, White-throated Swift, Juniper Titmouse, Bushtits.
Escalante Canyon: Black Phoebe, Chukar
Fruitgrower's Reservoir: Lewis's Woodpecker
Black Canyon Gunnison National Park: Northern Pygmy-Owl, Dusky Grouse

May 20, 2008
Waunita Hot Springs: Gunnison Sage-Grouse
Canon City: Curve-billed Thrasher
Swallows Road: Scaled Quail
Cottonwood Canyon: Western Screech-Owl

May 21, 2008
Cottonwood Canyon: Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Canyon Towhee, Eastern Phoebe, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and usual suspects.

Besides the "usual" suspects we also found a Tennessee Warbler, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Common Poorwill.

May 22, 2008

We drove the eastern border with Kansas and found a few interesting birds.
Undisclosed Colorado lek: 2 Lesser Prairie-Chickens
CR 50 at 1.7 miles north of CR H: Mountain Plover
CR 40 near CR G: Eastern Screech-Owl
CR 48 near CR
CR G: Curve-billed Thrasher

May 23, 2008

CR 45 Lek: Greater Prairie-Chicken
At a friend's ranch in Yuma County: Fox Sparrow (eastern), Northern Cardinal (2)
Wray City Park: Blackpoll Warbler
Sandsage Wildlife Area: White-throated Sparrow
Bonny Reservoir: Burrowing Owl, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Baltimore Oriole, Eastern Bluebird, Great Crested Flycatcher, Prairie Warbler, Common Yellowthroat.

May 24, 2008
Alvin: Broad-winged Hawk
CR 45 & CR RR: Field Sparrow

May 25, 2008
Private Ranches in Logan/Sedgwick Counties
Eastern Screech-Owl, Alder Flycatcher, Harris's Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, Baltimore Oriole.
Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area: Black-throated Green Warbler, Bell's Vireo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo,

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Search for Bobolinks & Dickcissels

May 16, 2008

After hearing about all the Bobolink sightings, Rebecca Kosten and I decided to check out the Bobolink field at the Winkler Ranch south of Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas County).

On the trip down we first made a detour over to Kiowa and Elbert County Road. No Dickcissels have shown up yet. We did see a couple of Western Kingbirds and an Eastern Kingbird south of Hwy 86.

Few birds moved about at the east side of Castlewood Canyon State Park. We did see a couple of White-breasted Nuthatches, missed Canyon Wrens below the Hwy 86 overlook.

Around to the western side off Castlewood Canyon Road, we found both Mountain Bluebirds and a few Western Bluebirds. It took about 30 minutes but eventually a couple of male Bobolinks flew up from the field south of the Winkler Ranch entrance. No female Bobolink were observed.

We exited the area by driving north on Castlewood Canyon Road to Hwy 86, but first decided to stop at the old homestead at the northeastern entrance. A walk along the trail behind the old building added Spotted Towhee, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Pine Siskins, and White-crowned Sparrows to our day list.

The highlight however was an Ovenbird walking along the creek. This was approximately 300 yards southeast of the old homestead. No Golden Eagles were found today, but 8-10 Turkey Vultures flew overhead.

A check of the Walker Pit (north of hwy 86) only turned up a Common Goldeneye and a few coots.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Barr Lake and Adams County

May 15, 2008

The weather report of drizzle and cool temperatures were my favorite for birding and I headed to Barr Lake State Park (Adams County). Unfortunately, it did not rain in the morning; however birding was terrific anyway.

Around Civil Twilight I drove the DIA Owl Loop to see if the Short-eared Owl reported two weeks ago by Rebecca & Sue could be found. It was not. After sunrise I counted 11 Swainson's Hawks included one beautiful dark morph, 1 Ferruginous Hawk, and a pair Red-tailed Hawks. No Burrowing Owls were out yet and I headed over to Barr Lake.

Birds were plentiful. It took 1.5 hours just to see all the birds along the Niedrach Trail (mile marker 0.0/9.0 to 0.5). I was thinking that each spring a Baltimore Oriole shows up in late May, but it was a little early. Just about the same time I heard the unmistakable song of a male Baltimore Oriole. He was originally between the Visitor Center's footbridge and the Niedrach boardwalk. When I left him, he was fluttering about the trees in the boardwalk loop. There were at least a dozen male Bullock's Orioles and 2 females also.

As I headed southwest (away from the visitor's center) I noticed an adult Great Horned Owl. Another Great Horned Owl was also in the larger cottonwoods along the shore. They let me get pretty close which was a surprise. Then I discovered why as two rather large owlets were in the same tree. I put photos on the CoBus photo library.

Just south of there a pair of Spotted Sandpipers walk along the shore. What I thought was a third Spotted Sandpiper turned out to be a bobbing Northern Waterthrush. Nine Wood Ducks swam in the shallow waters in the Niedrach boardwalk loop. A male Blue Grosbeak sang at the southern end of the boardwalk.

As my walk continued northeast from the Visitor Center footbridge it become apparent that the Swainson's Thrush count was going to be high today. Between mile marker 9.0 and 8.0, it was 57 Swainson's Thrushes.

A couple of Warbling Vireos flew about the trees west of the footbridge. There appeared to be another at mm 8.8 (where the tree hangs over the trail). On closer inspection the bird turned out to be a Red-eyed Vireo! This group of trees is usually good for some migrants. Many Swainson's Thrushes, a Lincoln's Sparrow, a flock of Chipping Sparrows, 2 Green-tailed Towhees, a pair of Orchard Orioles and many loud Red-winged Blackbirds were between here and just south of the banding station.

While inspecting another group of 9 or 10 Swainson's Thrushes just south of the clearing (one lone tree in middle, at mm 8.4) I noticed a rather large thrush with a darker cheek than the Swainson's. The water level was high which pushed the shoreline close to the road/trail. This meant that the thrushes walking along the water's edge were quite close.

I was able to watch several of the thrushes including the Gray-cheeked Thrush closely and for as long as I wanted. It definitely showed a grayish cheek lacking the buffy color of a Swainson's Thrush. Body wise it showed a uniform brown gray color (while I am use to picking out contrasting colors on the upper parts to tail of a Hermit Thrush).

Continuing northward, I carefully watched the flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers and Yellow Warblers with an eye out for an uncommon one. A Blackpoll Warbler was observed at mm 8.2. Another pair of Orchard Orioles was here too. I did come across one Orange-crowned Warbler at mm 8.1.

I continued to the boat ramp at mm 7.6 and turned around. Returning southward, I would have missed a Peregrine Falcon in a tree at mm 7.8 except it decided to fly around. It eventually landed close to where it started.

Back at mm 8.0 I stopped to watch another group of 10-12 thrushes and again noticed a different looking bird. It also turned out to be a Gray-cheeked Thrush.

While watching these thrushes, it sunk into my head that the birds were in an uproar. Inspecting the trees, I found a Barn Owl. While deciding if it was a male or female (it was a female), it flew south and landed just south of the Pioneer Trailhead. When I went closer for another look, I noticed a second Barn Owl (which turned out to be a male). The male eventually flew south first to the banding station and when I left it was just south of the Niedrach trailhead.

Next I drove out of the park and went around to the west side. Here I hiked from mm 2.5 to mm 4.5 and back. A Blackpoll Warbler was at mm 2.8. Several Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Double-crested Cormorants, and American White Pelicans were added to my day list. A pair of Red-breasted Nuthatches and several White-breasted Nuthatches was also observed.

Finally after getting a late lunch at Wendy's north of I76, and a drive around the DIA Owl Loop, I returned and walked from mm 5.0 to 7.0 and back. In the trees behind the old rock building I found an American Redstart and several additional Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Below the dam I found my first Common Yellowthroat, several Great Blue Herons, and Snowy Egret and additional 9 Swainson's Thrushes. A Black-crowned Night-Heron also flew by. Eleven Burrowing Owls were counted along the Owl Loop today.

By then Gary Weston arrived and I met him back at the boat ramp at mm 7.5. We were able to relocate the Gray-cheeked Thrush just north of mm 8.0.

Spring Counts

Gary Weston:

We only conducted 3 official counts this spring mostly due to the weather conditions. Several days we were met with torrential rains and winds over 50+ mph.

May 11, 2008

Weather was again the topic of the day. Anemometer readings were a constant 24 mph with gusts to 39 mph. We split up 8 people into 4 groups and covered Jumbo Reservoir, Red Lion Wildlife Area, and Tamarack Ranch as best we could.

We conducted the Spring Counts like Christmas Counts. Seven and a half mile radius circle with the epicenter at Logan County Road 89, south of Highway 138. Four of us did some owling which added a couple of owls and increased total birder hours.

Birder hours: 118 Miles Driven 120 Miles walked: 31


Owls included a Short-eared Owl between Red Lion WLA and Jumbo Reservoir. A Barn Owl and 2 Great Horned Owls were found at Jumbo Reservoir. We only heard 3 Eastern Screech-Owls today, at two locations 3 sections apart.

Red-bellied Woodpeckers numbered 7 at Tamarack Ranch WLA and 1 at Red Lion.

A few warblers were around: a nice western Palm Warbler; 2 Black-and-white Warblers, 1 Northern Waterthrush, 1 Common Yellowthroat, and 1 Orange-crowned Warbler. Not that many for such a large area covered.

Sparrows included 2 Field Sparrows and a White-throated Sparrow at Tamarack Ranch WLA and another White-throated Sparrow at Red Lion.

The Northern Cardinal count was a surprising 7 males and 1 female.

Misses: any prairie chickens or grouse; Red-headed Woodpeckers, cuckoos

Total: 116 species; 1106 individuals

May 12, 2008

Weather hadn't improved much today. Winds were again clocked at a steady 27 mph with gusts into the 40s. At least we did not see any rain. Last night there was a downpour. The noise alone probably kept our bird numbers down. Today we only had 7 birders split in 3 groups. The center of the count area was near the Wagon Wheel Campground entrance.

Birder hours: 102; Miles Driven 47; Miles walked: 18


Misses: The Purple Finches from last winter were all gone. No one could locate a Greater Prairie-Chicken today. Winds made it difficult to get a good count on many of the birds that hid in the grasses and bushes.

Owls included 2 Eastern Screech-Owls and 2 Burrowing Owls.

Two Common Poorwills at Hale Ponds were a nice surprise late in the evening.

Red-bellied Woodpecker count was only 3 and lower than anticipated.

Warblers counted included: Tennessee Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, Palm Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, Black-and-White Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, and Common Yellowthroat.

The only tanager found was an adult male Summer Tanager.

Sparrows included: Clay-colored Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Savannah Sparrow, Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, White-throated Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and Harris's Sparrow.

We also found an adult male Baltimore Oriole and 2 Bullock's Orioles.

Total: 138 species 1453 individuals

May 13, 2008

There was no spring count today. We birded our way up from Bonny Reservoir back to Julesburg. It was the finest birding day of the week. Visiting many different locations that were miles apart added a variety of habitats and birds.

This was also the best day of weather we encountered all week. Winds "died down" into the middle teens. Skies were partly cloudy instead of overcast.

Some of the birds we saw included:

At two private yards in Wray we saw a total of 5 male and 2 female Northern Cardinals. A Fox Sparrow wandered around under the feeders at one of the yards.

At Sandsage Wildlife Area outside of Wray we found many sparrows; White-crowned, Lark, Chipping, and Vesper. A Harris's Sparrow molting into adult plumage was among them.

At Beecher Island site of an Indian Battle we enjoyed a good list of birds. These birds included a Tennessee Warbler and Cassin's Vireo.

At Sandy Bluff State Trust Land a Blackpoll Warbler was added to our day list.

We walked around Holyoke's City Park for about 30 minutes and found 2 Blackpoll Warblers and a Tennessee Warbler. An adult male Baltimore Oriole was also in the park.

At Haxtun City Park an additional Blackpoll Warbler was seen plus our first Black-and-White Warbler of the day.

Continuing north we stopped at Sand Draw Wildlife Area for about an hour. We split into two groups and circled in opposite directions. Bird sightings included: Harris's Sparrow, a male Indigo Bunting, a Field Sparrow, and Blue-headed Vireo!

At the Colorado Visitor's Center near Julesburg one of the attendants gave a tip on a male Northern Cardinal that was visiting a feeder nearby. We hurried over there and got good looks at the male.

Our next stop was the Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop. Eastern Towhees have been reported here in the past. There were few birds but we did see a male Baltimore Oriole west of the parking lot.

After that we stopped at DePoorter Lake and circled the lake with a side trip to the South Platte River. Two Harris's Sparrows were in the willows along the Platte. A Red-eyed Vireo was in willows around the old city dump area. A Black-throated Green Warbler surprised us by singing high in the cottonwoods also near the old dump. We heard a Northern Bobwhite but never could find it.

We ended our day with a big barbecue back at Roger Danka's farm. Great food and we heard Common Poorwills at dusk and Eastern Screech-Owls about an hour later.

May 14, 2008

Our final spring count was conducted at North Sterling State Park. It was limited in scope as we were down to just 4 birders. We also did not arrive until 8:00 am as we made a quick stop at Ovid.

Eurasian Collared-Doves were easy to find at the north Ovid Woods. We saw a Brown Thrasher and heard but did not see a Red-bellied Woodpecker at the south Ovid Woods. Interesting birds included a Hooded Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler. We never found any Northern Cardinals or Purple Finches around town.

Our Sterling spring count really was just a walk around the campgrounds and the southeast side of the reservoir.

Birder hours: 24 Miles Driven 8 Miles walked: 6

Species: 82 Individuals: 519


A Barn Owl was seen in the trees at the northeast corner.

Our only hummingbird went unidentified.

Thrushes included 6 Swainson's, 1 Veery, and 1 Gray-cheeked Thrush!

Our only warblers were 8 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 1 Black-and-White Warbler.

No tanagers or unexpected sparrows were found. Two Bullock's Orioles were about all of that.

A Trip to Southwest Colorado

May 1 to May 9, 2008

Bryan Ehlmann, Sue Ehlmann, Rebecca Kosten and I made a trip to southwest Colorado.

Highlights included:

May 1, 2008

Yellow Jacket Canyon: Lucy's Warbler, Gray Flycatcher, Gray Vireo, Black-throated Sparrow

May 2, 2008

Weaselskin Bridge: Black Phoebe
Wildcat Canyon: Acorn Woodpecker
Silverton: Brown-capped Rosy Finches

May 3, 2008

Black Canyon Gunnison National Park: Dusky Grouse, Northern Pygmy-Owl

May 4, 2008
Waunita Hot Springs Lek: Gunnison Sage-Grouse
Florence: Glossy Ibis
Canon City: Curve-billed Thrasher
Arkansas Riverwalk: Canyon Wren
Hwy 120: Black Phoebe
Spring Creek: Flammulated Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl

May 5, 2008
John Martin Reservoir: Wood Thrush, White-winged Dove, Northern Waterthrush
Two Buttes Reservoir: Barn Owl

May 6, 2008

Two Buttes Reservoir: Worm-eating Warbler, Summer Tanager
Birchfield Wildlife Area: Tennessee Warbler
Bonny Reservoir: Eastern Phoebe, Eastern Screech-Owl, Tennessee Warbler, Eastern Bluebird, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Barn Owl, Northern Parula, Black-and-White Warbler, Long-eared Owl

May 7, 2008

Private ranch (Sedgwick County): Eastern Screech-Owl, Field Sparrow, Harris's Sparrow, Fox Sparrow

May 8, 2008

Prewitt Reservoir: Broad-winged Hawk, Warbling Vireo, Mourning Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Palm Warbler, Black-bellied Plover, Plumbeous Vireo
Weld County Road 96: Mountain Plover