Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Pawnee National Grasslands

August 26, 2008

Richard Stevens:

My four friends from New York and I went birding on the Pawnee National Grasslands today. Temperatures returned to normal, high 80s, and it was quite warm on the plains. We stopped briefly at Highway 392 and Weld County Road 67, found no Mountain Plovers, and continued to Crow Valley Campgrounds.

The main attraction at Crow Valley Campgrounds and to avoid was the mosquitoes. While several Empidonax Species (Gray, Cordilleran) were found, there were no uncommon warblers or vireos. Our bird list consisted of a Western Wood-pewee, one House Wren, one Brown Thrasher, one Yellow Warbler, one Orchard Oriole, and an Ash-throated Flycatcher.

It took us quite a while but a Mountain Plover was finally located along the dirt road leading north at Weld County Roads 94 and 63. For those familiar with the area, we searched around the cement drain about a half mile north of the intersection. After 1.5 hours, a Mountain Plover was found walking just below the ridge about 100 yards east of the dirt road. McCown's Longspurs were numerous in the area, requiring no special search for them.

From there, we headed north to CR 114 and Hwy 85. Again our search took longer than average. We had to walk all the way to the windmill in the southeast field. Then return back to our car directly north toward CR 114 before a Chestnut-collared Longspur was found.

Our two searches had taken longer than expected and we had to return to Denver without checking out the wetlands south of Lower Latham Reservoir.

Late in the afternoon, Rebecca Kosten and I drove the DIA Owl Loop. Burrowing Owls were found:
2 just west of 114th avenue and Trussville
9 at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue
4 at Powhaton Road & 128th avenue

The field just west of 114th avenue and Trussville (south side) was being plowed. Twenty+ Swainson's Hawks circled overhead. Two Ferruginous Hawks hunted over the field at the southeast corner of the south end of Trussville. We also observed several Red-tailed Hawks, 2 American Kestrels, and a Prairie Falcon (at 96th and C470). No Short-eared Owls or Lark Buntings were found.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Mt Evans' Birds and Status

August 25, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I took 4 New York birders up to Mt Evans this morning. Shortly after getting out of the car, we found 2 White-tailed Ptarmigan walking along the ridge at the east side of the upper parking area. On the drive back down to Summit Lake, Jerry found another 2 White-tailed Ptarmigan on the east side of the road, just uphill from Summit Lake.

We had to hike to the northwest corner of Summit Lake to find Rosy-Finches. Two or three Brown-capped Rosy-Finches visited the rocks above the lake on several occasions.

Our next stop was the campgrounds at the entrance. We searched about 30 minutes for American Three-toed Woodpeckers; without success. While looking for Pine Grosbeaks along the north and west side of Echo Lake, we ran into a male American Three-toed Woodpecker. Later we found a flock of 6-8 Pine Grosbeaks northwest of the lake.

Around the lake we also observed Lincoln's Sparrows and Green-tailed Towhees.

Note about Mt Evans status: In the past, the Mt Evans Road would be kept open until inclement weather closed it. This usually met it was open until late September or October. The government has changed the policy this year. Mt Evans Road is to be closed the day after Labor Day, 2008.

For those energetic birders, the hike from the Mt Evans pay station to Summit Lake is approximately 10 miles along the road.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Deer Creek Canyon & Elbert Road

August 24, 2008

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I went out searching for owls up Deer Creek Canyon (Jefferson County) this morning. Unfortunately, we did not find any. A walk up Deer Canyon Park was also uneventful.

In the afternoon, we met up with Bryan & Sue Ehlmann and drove out to Elbert County. There was little chance that the Le Conte's Sparrow was still there; we gave it a try anyway. Even if the bird is around, chances of seeing it jump up out of the tall alfalfa field were slim at best.

We also failed to find any Dickcissels. Birds were scarce. The threatening weather did not help our cause. We had planned to visit Castlewood Canyon State Park at sunset. Several tornados (not warnings, but real tornados) forced us to wait in Kiowa until the front passed.

The most uncommon birds found were a pair of Mountain Chickadees and a Warbling Vireo near the museum in Kiowa.

Cherry Creek Reservoir

August 23, 2008

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I stopped off at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) while doing chores late Saturday afternoon. Winds were 25+ mph and it was
raining at 5:00pm. By 6:00pm the rain had stopped and winds died down to almost calm conditions.

The water level was as high as I have seen it. The only shore we found was at the southeast corner of the Lake Loop. A Great Egret stood patiently over the
water waiting for a meal. We found no shorebirds, not even a Killdeer.

A walk around the Smoky Hill Group Picnic area was interesting. While watching a Mountain Chickadee, a Wilson's Warbler flew out of the few fir trees at the
north end of the picnic area. Later a Townsend's Warbler was fluttering about the tall cottonwoods down the hill from the covered picnic area.

That is about all we saw. No hummingbirds, no kingbirds, no rails or Sora at the Beaver Ponds at the 12 mile group picnic area.

Owling in Larimer & Jackson Counties

August 22, 2008

Weston: Last night Richard Stevens and I were met by a car of four birders at Pennock Pass. Flammulated Owls were very cooperative. Four were heard, of which 2 were seen by all. We then went to Cameron Pass where we missed Boreal Owls. Fortunately, Richard was able to find one along Ruby Jewel Road in the Colorado State Forest.

The other birders left, but we camped in the forest. We woke up to a calling Boreal Owl! A stop at Chambers Lake found a male Three-toed Woodpecker along the east side, among the campgrounds. We stopped at several of the campgrounds and picnic areas along highway 14 but found no additional owls. A small flock of Lark Buntings surprised us at the last campgrounds before returning to Fort Collins. Sorry I forget the name and will look it up later.

We also stopped at Cottonwood Hollow Nature Area but couldn't find the Least Bittern or Neotropic Cormorants.

Atlas Work

To be filled in later!

Atlas Work

Atlas Work: To be filled in Later!