Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mt. Evans & Genesee Mt Park

May 27, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Tried to stay home today, did not make it. Gary called, he and another birder wanted to go to Mt Evans (Clear Creek County). I wanted to checkout the campgrounds for Three-toed Woodpeckers anyway, so up we went.

No American Three-toed Woodpeckers were found. Two Brown-capped Rosy Finches were at the northeast corner of Summit Lake when we arrived. Did not have to hike to northwest corner where they usually are found. No Ptarmigan today.

Observed several Broad-tailed Hummingbirds at the southeast corner of Echo Lake. A Lincoln's Sparrow was at the northwest corner. No Three-toed Woodpeckers around Echo Lake either.

On the way home we stopped at Genesee Mountain Park (Jefferson County) and found a pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers around the group picnic area. Other birds found included 4 Red Crossbills, Pine Siskins, Mountain Chickadees, and White-breasted Nuthatches.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Another Trip to Barr Lake

May 26, 2009

Richard Stevens:

While waiting for friends' flight to land at DIA Airport, I made a quick trip (4 hours) to Barr Lake (Arapahoe County). It was raining all around the state park, however party sunny at the park. Winds did pick up to 25+ mph around 9:00 am.

During my stay, I hiked from mile marker 0.0 (Visitor's Center footbridge to 0.6, then back to 0.0 to 7.0 (south end of dam) and back to the Visitor's Center.

Highlights included a Hooded Warbler mm 0.1 (just west of the Niedrach red footbridge). This bird slowly worked its way north of the red footbridge before disappearing in thicker cover.

A Northern Waterthrush was hidden deep in the taller grasses at the northeast end of the loop defined by the Niedrach Boardwalk (mm 0.5). Quite a few Bullock's Orioles and Western Kingbirds were setting up territories here.

At mm 0.6 just west of the Boardwalk Loop, I found a brightly yellow and orange colored warbler. Unfortunately it flew deep into the willows and did not come out in the 20 minutes I waited. It was either a Townsend's Warbler or Blackburnian Warbler; I will never know.

Several Western Wood-pewees were found between mm 0.0 and the Pioneer Trail at mm 8.1. Another Northern Waterthrush was below the main road at mm 7.9. This most likely is the same bird that has been around the Pioneer Trail the past week.

Only two thrushes were found today. A Swainson's Thrush was near the banding station at mm 8.7. A Hermit Thrush was at mm 7.8.

I hiked all the way to the south end of the dam at mm 7.0. I did not relocate the Magnolia Warbler found yesterday.

After picking up Bryan and Sue Ehlmann at the airport, we drove over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). The Least Tern was not found. The mudflats at the new wetlands were covered by last night's and this morning's rain. We did not see any terns flying over the lake.

Nine Burrowing Owls were found at various locations along the DIA Owl Loop (see CoBus website for additional details).

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cherry Creek Reservoir & Barr Lake

May 25, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Again as I returned from owling all night I drove over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County). At 6:00am and again at 7:00am, the Least Tern was not at yesterday's new wetlands pond southeast of the model airplane field. Eight American White Pelicans, 2 Spotted Sandpipers, 3 Snowy Egrets, one Greater Yellowlegs, one Lesser Yellowlegs, and 7 Killdeer were there.

I ran into Jerry Petrosky and we circled the reservoir in search of the Least Tern; without success. Note: it was later found by Kirk Huffstater flying around the southwest corner. We had searched that area and only found American White Pelicans swimming around. The sandbar was completely covered by last night's rain.

I was glad to see that the 3 Black-chinned Hummingbirds had made it through the rain and hail storm. The hummingbirds perch and sing from the taller and barer trees south and east of the wooden fence around the Ranger's Office.

We walked down to the 12 mile beaver pond. Yesterdays, storm had risen the water level there also. Most of the mudflats were covered; again no Least Tern.

The bird population had changed much since my visit on Monday, May 18th. Not one grosbeak flew around or sang. Many male American Goldfinches and Northern Flickers were about flashing their "new coats" to any nearby females.

The southeast sand spit was also mostly covered. No sandpipers were around today; just 39 Pelicans and a couple of Killdeer.

We searched many of the cattails around the park for a Green Heron; without success. A quick walk through the woods from the Mountain Loop to the Lake Loop did not find any uncommon birds.

We then headed over to Barr Lake. Similar birds were found as on Friday, May 22nd. Highlights were:

Magnolia Warbler: moving east from mile marker 7.4.
Northern Waterthrush: along the west side of the Pioneer Trail
Olive-sided Flycatcher: mm 8.2
Tennessee Warbler: mm 3.0

Strange miss; I have not found one Empidonax species Flycatcher yet this year at Barr Lake?

In the afternoon, Rebecca Kosten and I found ourselves at Welchester Tree Park. Birding was a little slow however we did count 9 Spotted Towhees, 3 Gray Catbirds, and 4 Yellow Warblers.

The highlight was an Ovenbird that ran across the path on the north side of the creek (where the large cottonwoods form a tunnel. A female Lazuli Bunting was at the northeast corner of the park.

The Least Tern was back at the Wetlands Pond southeast of the Model Airplane field at Cherry Creek Reservoir at 7:00 pm.

We called off our Boulder County Owling for tonight. The rain was too persistent; not conducive to finding owls.

Quick Trip to Cherry Creek Reservoir

May 24, 2009

Richard Stevens:

I had been up all night owling, but had to go over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) to see the possible only second Least Tern reported in Arapahoe County. At 8:15am the Least Tern was on a small island in the new wetlands southeast of the model airplane field. The area can be observed from inside the park or outside of the park; along East Bellevue Avenue. I managed to show the bird to Steve & Debbie Kennedy and six other birders who had not heard about it. The tern was still there at 8:34am.

The White-rumped Sandpiper was no longer there, however I did find 2 White-rumped Sandpipers in the southeast corner of the lake. They could not be seen from the northeast corner. I had to walk in from the Shop Creek trail (east side of the park).

Went to check on the Black-chinned Hummingbirds southeast of the rangers office fence. Most the "south facing" male show up. However once two additional male Black-chinned Hummingbirds came and there was a three way fight for the "favorite perch". The south facing male won each time. Later I observed the other two males (still being able to see the one to the south) east of the fence at 50 paces south of the northeast corner of the wooden fence bordering the ranger's office.

Boulder Owl Count Continues

May 23, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Gary Weston and I were joined by two additional birders tonight for our owl count in Boulder County. We continue to search the roadless canyons along the foothills. Final report will be later next week.

Return to Barr Lake & Welchester Tree Park

May 22, 2009

Richard Stevens:

After owling all night, I decided to hit Barr Lake (Adams) before getting some sleep. When I arrived at 6:00am winds were calm and skies cloudy (until around 9:00am).

The park was quite birdy this morning. I walked from the Visitor's Center Footbridge left (south-southwest) for a mile, then reversed and walked to the boat ramp (mm 7.5). Highlights follow:

A Rock Wren was picking insects of the picnic tables next to the Visitor's Center footbridge. Several Blue Jays flew around the same area. Three pairs of Wood Ducks swam just off shore.

As I walked across the Niedrach little red footbridge which is just west of the Visitor's Center footbridge, a Cassin's Vireo flew around the taller cottonwoods. This bird stayed very high in the cottonwoods at 6:15 AM.

Not as many birds were in the Niedrach boardwalk circle. Many Bullock's Orioles and Western Kingbirds appear to have set up territories here. A pair of Orchard Orioles also hunted for insects on the willows here.

Black-and-white Warbler was again in the thick cottonwoods at mile marker 0.6 which is just west of the Niedrach Boardwalk. It came out briefly as I watched a male Blue Grosbeak singing from the top of one of the taller trees.

It was quiet until I reached the lone tree at mm 8.5 (the clearing is north of the old banding station). A Gray-cheeked Thrush was under the lone tree. Eventually the thrush flew along the west side of the next tree line to north-northeast. Four pairs of Eastern Kingbirds were observed between mm 0.0 and 8.5.

At mm 8.3 I found an interesting Oriole. She appeared to be a female Baltimore Oriole. It will be interesting to see if another birder runs into this bird!

When I turned the corner at mile marker 7.8 a Northern Waterthrush was below the trail. This was the spot the Mourning Warbler was first observed on Monday, May 16th. My first Warbling Vireo at Barr Lake was also here.

At mm 7.6 a Swainson's Thrush and another Western Wood-pewee were found.

I walked down the Pioneer Trail and found another male Blue Grosbeak. This bird took food to a female Blue Grosbeak. She carried nesting material away on several occasions. Will keep an eye on the possible nesting attempt! A male Lazuli Bunting was singing at the north end of the trail.

A pair of White-breasted Nuthatches and a pair of Black-capped Chickadees were observed carrying food. I followed them back to trees where they disappeared with the food. They carried food in several times and were apparently feeding young. At the Black-capped Chickadee "nest" I could hear the young beg for food when the adults came close.

On the return to my car, a Olive-sided Flycatcher was observed at mm 8.2.

I drove around to the Old Stone House and searched the trees south. Nothing uncommon was found. Continuing west, I parked in the town of Barr and hiked to mile marker 2.5 and back. The "best action" was at the tall cottonwoods around mm 3.0. A male Townsend's Warbler and male Tennessee Warbler worked the trees here.

On the way home, I drove the DIA Owl Loop. Burrowing Owls were found at the site 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue; along Powhaton Road between 128th & 120th Avenues; south of Powhaton Road and 112th Avenue; and along Tower Road at 0.4 miles north of 56th Avenue.

Unfortunately someone had plowed the field at 112th and Trussville where a pair of Burrowing Owls had been nesting. I hope the birds escaped to another location! Just north of there, a pair of Ferruginous Hawks were walking along the field in search of food!

In the afternoon, I picked up Rebecca Kosten and we headed over to Welchester Tree Park. It is a small but beautiful park with really nice old growth cottonwoods and underbrush (of choke cherries, goose berry bushes, and other plants).

It only took about 15 minutes to relocate the Chestnut-sided Warbler reported earlier by Peter Plage. We continued around to the east side of the park and observed a singing male Western Tanager, singing male Blue Grosbeak, and singing male Lazuli Bunting.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Chatfield Reservoir!

May 21, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Again we went owling all last night (Wednesday) in Boulder County.

After catching a few hours of sleep I drove south to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) to search for Glenn Walbek's Least Tern. At 3:00pm the Least Tern was not on the southeast sand spit. The only Gull there turned out to be an adult Laughing Gull! Not a bad consolation prize!

A walk along Plum Creek Delta was uneventful. A couple of Yellow Warblers and many House Wrens sang.

I decided to check the old White-eyed Vireo spot south of Kingfisher Bridge. The woods were surprisingly quiet. Again Yellow Warblers and House Wrens were about the only birds singing. Occasionally a Northern Flicker would drum on a hollow limb.

Finally another species, a male American Redstart fluttered about 10 yards south and 20 yards west of the paved path. Yellow Warblers and a Gray Catbird were the only birds at the White-eyed Vireo spot (the thickets along the S. Platte River and 60 yards south of the paved Kingfisher Bridge path (west side of the Platte).

While doing my terrible imitation of a White-eyed Vireo a vireo answered back. It was not a White-eyed Vireo or Warbling Vireo. Separation of the Solitary Vireo complex by voice is beyond my ears. It took 20 minutes to see the Plumbeous Vireo that was deep in the cottonwoods about 15 yards south of the above White-eyed Vireo spot.

I continued south on the main path until a fork where the western fork returns north at 215 degrees northwest. This path runs along the east side of a long and narrow cattail field. Just southeast of the cattails a medium size flock of birds were found.

The flock was feeding on insects on some medium sized willow trees underneath large cottonwoods. There were 9 Yellow Warblers, 1 Orange-crowned Warbler, many House Wrens, 2 Western Wood-pewees, and a Downy Woodpecker. A male Black-throated Green Warbler was also in the mix!

As I returned to my car, I thought of the misses. Not one Chickadee was found in the 1.5 hours of the trek.

According to the radio, traffic on the major highways was a mess, so I returned to the southeast sand spit for another search for the Least Tern. Another birder was scoping the spit where the adult Laughing Gull was still there. Also on the sand spit were 2 Spotted Sandpipers, and 2 Killdeer.

He said that the Least Tern had been there 45 minutes ago but now was nowhere to be seen. However within five minutes the Least Tern returned! The yellowish bill and white spot on the forehead were unmistakable for the small tern.

With Traffic still bad I drove out the south entrance of Chatfield Reservoir which led me past Louviers. Forgot to mention that is was raining ever since my trip to Kingfisher Bridge. I walked around for an hour in Louviers in the rain. Kind of a favorite thing of mine next to walking in the dark (great reason to go owling).

Many Lesser Goldfinches (green and black backed) were observed at 4th Street and Elm. I would never have known where the male Northern Cardinal was visiting except the woman who has it visit her backyard came out to talk to me (First Street, across from the Library).

She said that the Northern Cardinal usually visits her feeder around 3:00pm most days. It then flies to the taller trees north of her house. I made another circuit of the small town and found the Northern Cardinal in the short trees south of the lime green house on 2nd Street (just behind or east of the above home).

This small town has an Eurasian collared-Dove problem. In the hour of the visit I counted way over 100 of them.

We still had not decided whether to return to Boulder County for owling in the rain.

We cut our owling short tonight (Thursday) as the rain appeared to quiet the owls. We only found 1 Flammulated Owl while hiking through the wet woods.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Boulder County Owl Count

May 18 through May 20, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Owl Count through three nights:

Flammulated Owl: 8
Northern Pygmy-Owl: 2
Northern Saw-whet Owl: 1
Long-eared Owl: 2
Eastern Screech-Owl: 5

Update later!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Birding Around Denver Again

May 18, 2009

Richard Stevens:

After owling all night, I decided to head over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) to see if I could relocate the Rose-breasted Grosbeak reported yesterday by Steve Kennedy.

I arrived at 6:00am. There was much noise south of the parking area for the 12 mile Beaver Pond. Dozens of birds were singing. I did pick out a Rose-breasted Grosbeak among several Black-headed Grosbeaks.

Eventually I was able to see a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak for a minute or two. He and a male Black-headed Grosbeak were just south of the parking area. They both flew deeper into the western woods when an unidentified female grosbeak flew by and west. The area is quite wet and I could not follow.

I walked down to the southern end of the Beaver Pond and continued to the larger cottonwoods farther south. Birds observed included: Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, American Goldfinches, Pine Siskin, 2 Lesser Goldfinches, Common Yellowthroat, and Marsh Wren.

I heard a Virginia Rail but never found it. American Avocets and Killdeer walked the mudflats. Quite a few Cinnamon Teal were joined by Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal. Never found any Green Herons.

On the way back to the parking area, I may have discovered why the male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was there. A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak popped out of the willows and gave great looks.

Grosbeak count in total: 7+ male and 2 female Black-headed Grosbeaks; 1 male and 1 female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

While walking back to my car, I observed two Broad-tailed Hummingbirds but also a male Black-chinned Hummingbird. This gave me the idea to check behind the ranger's office for hummingbirds.

Two Black-chinned Hummingbirds were southeast of the office. They preferred the two taller (10 foot) trees southeast of the back fence. One always faced south when he landed, the other north. The south facing Black-chinned Hummingbird appeared to have priority? If my photos come out, I will put a few on the CoBus photo library before I leave for my next trip.

I walked along the eastern fence line to get a look at the southern field. Last week's Bobolinks appear to be long gone. If the hummingbirds are not on their perch, check the five hummingbird feeders in the subdivision to the east.

Later, I walked the woods east of the Mountain Loop. Bird count was different than last Saturday. The pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were still there. Yellow-rumped Warblers were up to 57. There was a unidentified thrush that in 30 minutes I could not put my binoculars on for more than 2 seconds.

At the southeast end of the Lake Loop a Yellow-billed Cuckoo flew (would have missed him it he had not moved). He was moving toward the cottonwoods at the bird platform, Cottonwood Creek Loop.

Few birds were at the Smoky Hill Group Picnic area and the small pond northwest of the swim beach.

I drove to Louviers and looked for Northern Cardinal and Green Heron. Without any directions I had little to go on as to where to search and did not find them.

Swung by Castlewood Canyon Road and saw at least 2 male and a female Bobolinks 200 yards or so south of the entrance to the Winkler Ranch. Western and Mountain Bluebirds, Lark Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, and one Savannah Sparrow along south of Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas).

Then finally went home for some sleep around 4:00pm.

Repeated Owling Trip

May 17, 2009

Richard Stevens:

I was asked to repeat last week's owling trip. After making a few calls we ended up with 9 birders. Two additional birders joined us at Lower Latham Reservoir, but they gave up before heading into the mountains.

Our three car caravan went up Kersey Road to Beebe Draw Ponds area (Weld). In the Beebe Draw Ponds area we found a couple of Red-necked Phalaropes, many Wilson's Phalaropes, American Avocets, dozens of Yellow-headed Blackbirds, Killdeer, a Stilt Sandpiper, and Black-necked Stilt.

At Lower Latham Reservoir (Weld) we saw just about the same (another 2 Red-necked Phalarope), Willet, Cattle Egret, and many Great-tailed Grackles. A few Red-necked Phalaropes! were still at Loloff Reservoir also.

Crow Valley Campground was quite productive as we relocated the Tennessee Warbler, Rose-breasted Grosbeak Veery, a White-throated Sparrow, and male Hooded Warbler. A Eastern Screech-Owl gave us nice looks also. Missed the Barn Owls again.

We found 2 Mountain Plovers in the field south of Weld County Road 96 at 1.7 miles west of CR 77. Burrowing Owls were found at CR 90 & CR 51 and Highway 14 & CR 51.

We had to drive up to Highway 85 and CR 114 to get out Chestnut-collared Longspurs. McCown's Longspurs, Brewer's Sparrows, Clay-colored Sparrows, and Lark Buntings were all over CR 96.

We passed by Cameron pass and drove to Walden Reservoir. Here we relocated the Red Phalarope and Red-necked Phalarope before it was too dark to see.

At Cameron Pass we found at least 6 Boreal Owls. Then continued to Pennock Pass where 2 Flammulated Owls were found.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Birding Around Denver, Long & Great Day!

May 16, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Barr Lake, Rocky Mountain Arsenal, & Cherry Creek Reservoir

When I heard that the wind which was coming out of the south most of May 15th had shifted to the north-northeast around 10:00pm, it seemed that Saturday would be a good day to bird around Denver. Perhaps I would catch some of the migration that I missed while conducting many grouse trips the past two months?

It was raining, windy, & cold when I left home around 5:30am. After meeting Jerry Petrosky and on the way to Barr Lake (Adams County) by way of the DIA Owl Loop, we almost hit a Barn Owl. It missed my car by less than a foot.

We found out that a foot race was being held at Barr Lake today. Start time was 9:00am; that limited our birding time if we were to leave before the hundreds of runners ran down the same path we wanted to bird.

Walking the Niedrach Trail (mile marker 0.0 to 0.6) found a few birds. Many were in the center of the field defined by the trail loop. A pair of Black-headed Grosbeaks, a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak (mm 0.3), many Yellow Warblers, Chipping Sparrows, and Clay-colored Sparrows fluttered about the short willows.

Once at the Niedrach boardwalk (mm 0.5) a Cassin's Vireo was observed in that loop to the south. Half a dozen Bullock's Orioles and twice as many Western Kingbirds were also here. West of the boardwalk (mm 0.6) a small flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers also included 2 Black-capped Chickadees and a Plumbeous Vireo.

Reversing direction, many House Wrens, 2 Spotted Towhees, and again many Bullock's Orioles moved about from mm 0.0 (9.0) to the banding station. As we scoped the willows next to the banding station (mm 8.7) a plain thrush jumped out and searched for food along the water's edge. It allowed good looks for over a minute and turned out to be a Gray-cheeked Thrush.

We passed up the Pioneer Trail and hiked to mile marker 7.6. A yellowish warbler with a dark head jumped out of the willows at mm 7.8. The dark head, with contrasting darker breast and no eye ring definitely indicated an adult male Mourning Warbler! The bird worked the willows along the water's edge and moved back west.

We reversed our tracks and went down the Pioneer Trail. The Northern Waterthrush that had been around for several days was today walking the eastern side of the trail. To our surprise, the male Mourning Warbler had reached the northeast corner of the Pioneer Trail and allowed us additional looks.

Back at the Pioneer Trailhead (mm 8.1) we saw a Blue Grosbeak and followed it west a little bit. At mm 8.2 a very reddish thrush jumped out of the wild mint. After 5 seconds or so, it returned to the mint. We both agreed that it was a Veery and not a Wood Thrush. The strange morning light did give it an unusual orangish-red color. To both of us the face seemed rather plain and no large spots were observed on its breast.

Jerry was to continue east and north while I hiked back to the parking area to get the car and us out of the increasing foot race traffic.

I drove to the old Stone House and met Jerry around mm 6.2. Jerry had found a 2nd Gray-cheeked Thrush around mm 6.8 (south end of the outlet canal running south to north). Jerry pointed out a large flycatcher south of the old house (turned out to be an Olive-sided Flycatcher).

Our plans were to head to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) with a quick stop at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Weather had improved to partly cloudy skies, less wind, and warmer temps. So we decided to hike the Lake Ladora trail.

It was a good choice; less foot traffic made for quieter air waves. While scoping up the creek running west-southwest from Lower Derby Lake we found a Blackpoll Warbler in the tall cottonwoods. Motion underneath the trees turned out to be a Northern Waterthrush.

Hoping to find one of the Long-eared Owls that I had discovered earlier in the year, we walked to the end of the Rod and Gun Club trail. A Black-and-white Warbler walked up and down the limbs of the large cottonwood at the end of the trail.

Nothing uncommon was found down the Havana Ponds trail and we never relocated any of the Long-eared Owls.

By the time we returned to my car, Jerry decided it was time to leave. I planned to go home and take off my hiking boots (already breaking another promise to my feet to not put them in shoes today).

After hearing of the Philadelphia Vireo at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) Rebecca Kosten and I decided to give that search a go.

The woods west of the Lake Loop were very busy. A Green-tailed Towhee scurried up and down one path. A pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers gobbled insects off the short willows. American Robins, a couple of Black-capped Chickadees, 2 Yellow Warblers, 3 Yellow-rumped Warblers, and one Orange-crowned Warbler were also found.

At the extreme western end (just east of the Mountain Loop parking area) we observed a thrush skulking under some heavy brush. Eventually it allowed 30 second looks; it was another Gray-cheeked Thrush!

It was here that I observed my only "Empidonax" Flycatcher of the day. It was a Cordilleran Flycatcher. The Philadelphia Vireo was never relocated.

We spend another hour around the Russian Olive trees and small pond northwest of the swim beach. The previously reported Northern Waterthrush and American Redstart were not relocated. We were surprised by the large number of Clay-colored Sparrows among the 50+ Chipping Sparrows.

As sunset drew close, I walked from the swim beach to the picnic area to the southeast. Just south of the Covered Smoky Hill Group Picnic Area, I ran into a flock of 124+ Yellow-rumped Warblers. Also in the couple of trees with opposite leaves (Locust?) was an Orange-crowned Warbler. Another warbler had quite an active tail. Thinking it could be the previously reported Palm Warbler, I hung around a bit longer. Not a Palm Warbler, I did identify a colorful Virginia's Warbler!

Another Owl Prowl

May 14 & 15, 2009

Richard Stevens:

On May 14: three of us planned to spend Thursday night-Friday morning searching for Boreal Owls on Cameron Pass (Larimer/Jackson). From the upper Joe Wright Parking area to the Colorado State Forest Visitor's center to the west, we found 6+ Boreal Owls. We got looks at 2 of them. The search lasted from 10:00pm to 5:00am.

On the way up to Cameron Pass we did a little birding in the afternoon. Red-necked Phalaropes were found at Beebe Draw Ponds area and Lower Latham Reservoir (Weld). A Willet was among several dozen peeps south of CR 48.

At Crow Valley Campgrounds we relocated the male Hooded Warbler and White-throated Sparrows.

Mountain Plovers were found at the field south of Weld CR 96 at 1.7 miles west of CR 77. Also at Highway 14 & CR 51 and one at CR 90 & CR 51. Burrowing Owls at CR 90 & CR 51 and Hwy 14 & CR 51.

Lark Buntings, McCown's Longspurs, Brewer's Sparrows, and a large number of Clay-colored Sparrows were easy to find on the Pawnee National Grasslands. Chestnut-collared Longspurs not so much.

A quick stop at Weld CR 57 and Highway 14 did not relocate the previously reported Lewis's Woodpecker.

The afternoon of May 15, Rebecca Kosten and I hiked at Barr Lake (Adams County) from the boat ramp (mile marker 7.5) southwest to mm 1.5).

We could not find the previously reported Palm Warbler; however the Northern Waterthrush reported yesterday by Andy Carpenter was along the water edge off the Pioneer Trail (mm 8.1). A Black-and-white Warbler was just west of the Niedrach Boardwalk (mm 0.6).

Birding was awful slow except for the expected summer crew: Western Kingbirds, Burrowing Owls, House Wrens, and swallows.

Carpenter Trip

Three Warbler Day!

May 7, 2009

Richard Stevens:

No time to rest after spending all night owling, I hoped the Grace's Warbler at Matthew Reeser Bird Sanctuary in Estes Park would still be there.

Fortunately it was and many of us were treated to great looks! The bird spent most of the time along the western edge of the small pond at the Bird Sanctuary.

I walked around a bit and also found a male MacGillivray's Warbler, House Wrens, a Northern Waterthrush, an Eastern Kingbird, and many Chipping Sparrows. Spotted Sandpipers walked the shore line.

On the trip back to Denver I detoured to Twin Lakes Open Space to search for the Worm-eating Warbler previously reported. The secretive warbler is always difficult to find and conditions at the Open Space looked dismal. The willows were quite thick.

I search the general area for about 20 minutes; without success. Then decided to walk a bit and continued east to a wildlife area east of Twin Lakes Road. A hundred yards up this trail I walked a Warbling Vireo gathering nesting material.

Turning back west I notice motion under the two tall cottonwoods just west of Twin Lakes Road. It turned out to be a Northern Waterthrush!

Back at the most recent Worm-eating Warbler sighting (huge log fallen down across the canal) I was there only about 2 minutes before noticing the Worm-eating Warbler! It allowed about 4 minutes for me to watch the plain but colorful warbler and then buried itself in the thick willows.

As I returned to my car, I ran into another birder (Dee). The Worm-eating Warbler was a lifebird for her (see was searching in the wrong area) so I backtracked to try and relocate the warbler.

As most birders know, finding the bird once is difficult enough, relocate a bird even more so. After about 20 minutes, the Worm-eating Warbler jumped out of the willows exactly where I had watched it dive into. Dee was able to watch the bird for a good 6-8 minutes before it again disappeared.

Two for two on target birds, I decided to test my luck and continue south to Belmar Historic Park (Jefferson) and search for the Prothonotary Warbler found this morning.

It was 2:00pm when I arrived and it did not look good. I walked completely around Kountze Lake four times and twice around all the other trails; without success. I was heading back to my car and stopped to say "hi" to Tim Smart.

Tim had not seen the bird either (in 20 minutes) and as I started to leave, he shouted its behind you. It took a few minutes to decide that he was not pulling my leg. Sure enough, the Prothonotary Warbler was less than 10 feet from me! Thanks Tim!

Not a bad day, being three for three on difficult target birds.

Owling Trip

May 6, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Larry Kent and I decided to try and find Boreal Owls on Cameron Pass (Larimer/Jackson Counties). If success there was quick, we planned to give Pennock Pass a try.

Two Boreal Owls were found quickly at Cameron Pass and we headed back east to Pennock Pass around 11:00pm. I had expected conditions to be anything from several feet of snow to deep mud to dry roads.

The road was closed (gated) from the west side. Fortunately it appeared that there was only a thin layer of snow in patches. We set out on the 6 mile hike without our snowshoes and fortunately they were not needed.

When in the right habitat, we eventually heard 3 Flammulated Owls; they are back.

Kent Trip