Thursday, March 19, 2009

Western Slope Birding, Continued Grouse Trip

March 18, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Allyson Marceau and I sat at the 20 Road Sharp-tailed Grouse outside of Hayden (Routt County) at first light. Three Sharp-tailed Grouse eventually made an appearance. However none showed up until 8:15am.

We drove south from Craig to Rifle (no Great-tailed Grackles today at the Rifle Rest Stop) and continued to the Grand Mesa (Mesa to Delta County).

At the Powderhorn Ski Area we hiked around about 1/2 mile and missed American Three-toed Woodpeckers and Northern Pygmy-Owls.

We then drove to the Visitor's Center 14 miles south of Powderhorn. With great luck we were only out of our car about 10 minutes before a male White-winged Crossbill and male Red Crossbill perched on the top of fir trees east of the building!

Several large flocks of Pine Siskins with accompanying Mountain Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatches, and White-breasted Nuthatches also were around.

We stop at the Mesa Lodge and Store to watch their feeders for 30 minutes. Allyson saw her lifebird Gray Jays when a pair visited the Lodge's feeders.

To linger around until dark, we returned to Powderhorn Ski Area. This time a Northern Pygmy-Owl was heard behind the maintenance shed! No Three-toed Woodpeckers could be found.

Finally at dark (8:15 pm) we drove south on the highway. Four Boreal Owls were found between the Spruce Grove Campgrounds and the Visitor's Center.

Weather was fantastic all day. The temperatures on the Grand Mesa were quite warm and we experienced no wind (NO Wind). Can't remember if this has ever happened to me before as usually there are 20+ mph winds and snow in March and April.

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