Sunday, September 21, 2008

Mt Evans and Denver Foothills

September 20, 2008

Richard Stevens:

John Carlson and I headed up into the mountains today. Our first stop was Mt Evans and Summit Lake. When we hiked to the northwest corner of Summit Lake, three+ Brown-capped Rosy Finches were flying around the shore line. They were to the rocks up the hill, landed for half a minute and then continued to the southwest corner of the lake.

We decided to try our luck and hike up the Mt Evans Road (south and uphill). While trying to decide how far we would hike, I noticed a White-tailed Ptarmigan on rocks on the west side of the road. We barely had lost sight of Summit Lake (perhaps only 200 yards up the road).

Our next stop was Genesee Mountain Park to see if any Williamson's Sapsuckers were still around. We barely got out of our vehicle when a male Williamson's Sapsucker flew to the Ponderosa trees surrounding the parking area for the group picnic area. A 30 minute check of the area did not turn up a female and we decided that a trip to Pine Valley Ranch Park (for American Three-toed Woodpeckers) would be better use of our time.

The Three-toed Woodpecker that is quite often on the hill south of Pine Lake was not cooperative. We had to hike up the Buck Gulch Trail and Strawberry Jack Trail all the way to the Parkview Trail before hearing the distinctive drumming of a Three-toed Woodpecker. We eventually observed a female Three-toed about 200 yards south (downhill) from the Strawberry Jack & Parkview Trails.

I played a Northern Pygmy-Owl recording as we descended back to our car by way of the Parkview Trail. At the switchbacks where we could still see the eastern hills/mountains we heard a Northern Pygmy-Owl. It called for a good 10 minutes; however we never could put binoculars on the bird.

Daylight ended before we could hike to the western end of the Narrow Gauge Trail (where I had heard another Northern Pygmy-Owl earlier in the week).

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