Friday, November 7, 2008

Pawnee National Grasslands and Surrounding Area

November 6, 2008

Richard Stevens:

Kevin Story, Brad Phillips, and I ventured up to Pawnee National Grasslands (Weld County). Temperatures reached the low 50s and winds were constantly 15+ mph.

Crow Valley Campgrounds was pretty quiet. We did find a flock of American Tree Sparrows, looked for Common Redpolls around campgrounds and Briggsdale; without success.

Lapland Longspurs are easy to find this year. They seem to be everywhere. Just look for a flock of Horned Larks and separate out the longspurs.

We did have a great day for owls. We found a Long-eared Owl (location not to be announced). At a friend's ranch we were able to see a Short-eared Owl. At another friend's home we also added a Northern Saw-whet Owl for our day!

While searching for Common Redpolls and Snow Buntings along Cow Creek we came upon a Great Horned Owl. Both species have been found more than once in this area which is about a mile north of the Central Plains Experimental Range Office (north of CR 114 & CR 37). Ask at the office for permission to walk to the old barn and continue west to Cow Creek.

We missed Barn Owls, but let's not get greedy :-)

At a friend's ranch we missed both Sharp-tailed Grouse and Rosy Finches. They had a visit from 4 Gray-crowned Rosy Finches less than 10 days ago. They see Sharp-tailed Grouse now and then on their property. I hope to have better luck next time as both species are rare sightings on the plains.

After dropping Brad and Kevin off, I passed through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). Bonaparte's Gulls stood on the sand spit off the Bird Observation Platform, Cottonwood Creek Loop. I did not find any loons, scoters, or Red-necked Grebes.

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