Thursday, June 26, 2008

Return to Castlewood Canyon State Park

June 26, 2008

My time yesterday before sunrise at Castlewood Canyon State Park was so enjoyable that it begged for a return. Today I decided to investigate a question I asked yesterday on my Blog:

"Note yesterday: As I conducted my "hearing only" point counts through Castlewood Canyon State Park, it became interesting that at the various stops many of the birds singing were of the same species.

One stop had 3 Plumbeous Vireos, another Lazuli Buntings, one had 4 Cordilleran Flycatchers singing, another Black-headed Grosbeaks. Too many stops had numerous Spotted Towhee singing.

A question that came to mind was; were the many birds of the same species singing because they had competition from peers or were they just doing "their thing"? That maybe worth additional investigation."

I arrived at Castlewood Canyon State Park area at 3:00am this morning. First I walked the roads west of the park searching for Northern Saw-whet Owls; again without success.

Yesterday's audio point counts were repeated; however this time I used recordings after counting the birds. Again as yesterday, several stops appeared to have birds of the same species as the predominant songsters. When I played recordings at stops without apparent songs from a species I got responses from species previously not recorded at that spot.

While no definite conclusions can be drawn, it maybe possible that when 3 or 4 same species birds are in an area, they are more vigorous when faced with competition. Or is it that a silent bird already has a mate and no need to chime in?

In any case, recordings produced additional recorded numbers of bird species at each of the stops.

Still no owls and I did not find yesterday's Common Poorwill today.

Also went back to the Winkler Ranch in hopes of getting a Blue Grosbeak photo. Two males were still along the road, but did not offer a photo opportunity. Over a dozen Bobolink counted in the taller grasses south of the cut field at the Winkler Ranch entrance.

In the late afternoon, Rebecca Kosten and I rode our birds along the east side of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Buckley Road between 56th & 88th avenues. Temperatures were in the low 90s; winds 20+ mph. Bird count was down. We did see 4 Burrowing Owls just north of the closed barrier at the north end of Buckley.


Jeff said...

I've enjoyed reading your posts. I have a day for birding in Denver late this month. No target species, just like to see different birds from those I see in southeast Texas. I'm planning to go to the Arsenal, Chatfield and Roxborough.
Are there other sites near Denver that are better this summer?

Anonymous said...

Hello Jeff (Rebecca Kosten here):
Richard Stevens is on the western slope of Colorado for the month of June and July.
If you contact me with an email address, I can provide some better places to bird than the ones you mentioned. (kostenrebecca (at)
The places you mentioned are fairly dead in the heat of summer. You maybe served better by visiting Pine Valley Ranch Park, Reynolds Park, and Genesee Mt Park (all three in Jefferson County).
The RBA birds are listed by county on the Colorado Birding Society's website: