Friday, April 24, 2009

Grouse Trip Day 7

April 23, 2009

Richard Stevens:

This concludes a 7 day grouse trip. Because of blog format, the days are reversed with newest on top. A barely had time to write these as most days we had four hours for a shower and some sleep. It was one of my most successful trips considering that migration has not started yet. I leave for another soon and migration should add birds to the trip. Enjoy!

Bob Bucci and I decided to "bite the bullet" and climb the 4 mile round trip to the top of Eagle's View at Reynolds Park, Jefferson County. The forest edge at the top and overlooking the clearing to the south is the best spot to find Dusky Grouse.

However, it is quite a climb! We had gone about a mile when we ran into the Babics (from Florida). It was day 2 for them in this search. After talking to us they went back up for a third search. Bob and I decided that if they could not find them, we would not either.

Bob and I did very briefly see a probably Dusky Grouse fly across the trail at about 0.2 miles south of the intersection of the service road and Raven's Roost trail. Dusky Grouse tracks were in the snow here. Also the Babics had heard a male Dusky Grouse at the top of Eagle's View, but were not able to find it.

Instead of the hike, Bob and I headed up to Pawnee National Grasslands area. When we arrived I was sorry to see that the rancher is running cattle in the field at highway 14 and Weld County Road 51. In the past this has been the most productive Mountain Plover nesting field. I can not believe that the Mountain Plover will nest under several hundred cows.

Burrowing Owls were found: 8+ at the northeast corner of Hwy 14 & CR 51; 2+ at CR 90 & CR 51; and several additional locations.

We found Mountain Plovers at two traditional and productive locations: the fields north of CR 94 & CR 61 and south of CR 96 at 1.7 miles west of CR 77 (CR 77 runs along the east side of Crow Valley Campgrounds).

Crow Valley CG was pretty quiet. No owls or Vermilion Flycatcher. We found many McCown's Longspurs along CR 96; did not have time to search for Chestnut-collared Longspur.

The wet field south of Lower Latham Reservoir (Weld County) was quite interesting. Three species of teal, 2 Least Sandpipers, a Solitary Sandpiper, White-faced Ibis, Willet, and Baird's Sandpipers. Many Great-tailed Grackle were around also.

Beebe Draw Ponds area added a Stilt Sandpiper, 3 species of teal, 4 Marbled Godwits, and hundreds of Yellow-headed Blackbirds to our trip list. That was all the time we had. We did see Burrowing Owls at the site along Tower Road at 0.4 miles north of 56th avenue as I took Bob to the airport.

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