Monday, June 29, 2009

Return Trip for American Three-toed Woodpeckers

June 28, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Tim Lary, Matt Rosone, Roger Danka, and I searched for owls in Pike National Forest before sunrise Sunday morning. We tried to relocate the Flammulated Owl I had heard last month along Forest Road 550; without success.

We did see an adult Northern Goshawk about 0.1 miles east of the Tramway Trail which leads north off of FR 550.

After several hours of searching an American Three-toed Woodpecker was found about 50 feet east of the Buck Gulch Trail and 200 yards north of the Skipper Trail.

We continued to the old bridge along the Skipper Trail where American Three-toed Woodpeckers and Williamson's Sapsuckers have been observed in the past. We found neither.

We did hear a Northern Pygmy-Owl in the rocky cliff area of the Strawberry Jack Trail at about 600 yards south of the Parkview Trail. However, we never did see the owl.

A second American Three-toed Woodpecker was found southeast of the Strawberry Jack Trail where the trail drops down to the level of the Buck Gulch Trail (with the help of switchbacks, perhaps 300 yards east of the Buck Gulch Trail).

The forest and Pine Valley Ranch Park was quite birdy. We saw many Western Bluebirds, Mountain Bluebirds, White-breasted Nuthatches, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, a flock of Pygmy Nuthatches, 2 Brown Creepers, many Chipping Sparrows, a Cordilleran Flycatcher, Mountain Chickadees, Black-capped Chickadees, many Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and a Band-tailed Pigeon!

Mountain Birding

June 27, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Tim Lary, Matt Rosone, Roger Danka, and I birded in the mountains today. We started at Mt. Evans where we searched for White-tailed Ptarmigan; without success. I see where another birder had success today and a Chris Sherry enjoyed success both Friday and last Monday.

We did find 2 Brown-capped Rosy Finches at the northwest corner of Summit Lake. It took about less than 5 minutes to find them; so we enjoyed some luck.

No American Three-toed Woodpeckers could be found at the Echo Lake campgrounds or along the south side of the lake. We did see several Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and a male Rufous Hummingbird!

Along the west side of Echo Lake we found Lincoln's Sparrows, Green-tailed Towhees, and a pair of Pine Grosbeaks!

Next we drove to Guanella Pass (Clear Creek County). Again luck was with us, as we popped over the hill to the southeast of the parking area, two White-tailed Ptarmigan were feeding about 15 yards below the top of the hill.

We searched unsuccessfully for American Three-toed Woodpeckers around the Guanella Pass Campgrounds. A flock of 8 Red Crossbills, a pair of Pine Grosbeaks, and a MacGillivray's Warbler (along the creek) were added to our trip list.

A quick stop at Genesee Mountain Park found a pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers around the flag pole area at the top. A second female Williamson's Sapsucker was found around the building at the group picnic area. Last year I located which tree the lower pair used to nest. Can not seem to find their nesting sites of either pair this year.

Douglas County Before Severe Thunderstorms

June 26, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Four of us birded Douglas County this morning and early afternoon. The weather was turning bad with severe thunderstorms possible so we departed by 1:00pm.

We searched unsuccessfully for the Northern Cardinal of Louviers. The town is quite birdy. Both Lesser and American Goldfinches flying about.

A flock of Cedar Waxwings was at the Sedalia Cemetery. Bobolink, Western Bluebirds, and Mountain Bluebirds were found at the Winkler Ranch south of Castlewood Canyon State Park.

Trip for Dickcissels in Elbert County

June 25, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Roger and Judy Danka, Rebecca Kosten and I drove out on the eastern plains today. Thunder storms were all around us, but not along Elbert Road (Elbert County).

The highlight was counting 6+ Dickcissels at the field along Elbert Road at 4.1 miles south of highway 86. We lingered at these old alfalfa fields for a couple of hours as a tremendous rain and thunder storm passed us by about 10 miles west of Kiowa.

Twice a male Bobolink also jumped out of the high weeds east of Elbert Road. Only one Bobolink was ever seen; we listen to many Dickcissels and a few Grasshopper Sparrows (west side of road). A pair of Say's Phoebes flew around the electrically buildings at the Dickcissel site.

I have always found the cool early mornings or late afternoons best for seeing the Dickcissel. After a rain storm also seems good as the birds will come out of the wet grasses and sing!

Earlier we passed Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) and found 3 male Black-chinned Hummingbirds southeast of the ranger's office. I have not found a female Black-chinned Hummingbird there this year.

Birding Colorado's Northeastern Plains

June 20 to 24, 2009

Richard Stevens:

June 20
Roger Danka and I headed northeast. Our first stop was Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington Counties). We did not find any uncommon birds on the reservoir. However, we found a Yellow-throated Vireo and Yellow-breasted Chat below the dam. No screech owls answered our recordings (during the mid afternoon).

The riparian areas around Jumbo Reservoir and Red Lion Wildlife Area were checked. The only uncommon bird found was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in the northern woods. The Barn Owl found by Roger a few days earlier was nowhere to be found.

A quick stop at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area added a Bell's Vireo, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and a Northern Cardinal to our trip list.

At Roger's ranch we found a pair of Eastern Screech-Owls. We visited two of Roger's neighbors but could not locate any Long-eared Owls (seen earlier in the year at both locations).

June 21
Roger and I walked around Julesburg Wildlife Area in search of the cuckoos Roger had found a couple of days earlier. We heard a Yellow-billed Cuckoo (never seen). The Black-billed Cuckoo was not relocated.

A male Northern Cardinal was observed in the southwest corner of town. A walk through Ovid Woods (along Lodgepole Creek) and the Ovid Sewage Ponds proved to be uneventful.

The rest of our day was spent driving around Sedgwick County searching for Dickcissels and Mountain Plover. We found a couple of Dickcissels on a private ranch, but none with public access. Cassin's Sparrows were found at 2 locations. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was at the Sedgwick Cemetery.

June 22
Today Roger and I birded several less visited wildlife areas.

We missed any Upland Sandpipers at Sedgwick Bar Wildlife Area. The consolation prizes were a Great Crested Flycatcher and a pair of Eastern Bluebirds. An Upland Sandpiper was later added to our day list at a nearby private ranch (one of Dan Bridges old favorite birding locations).

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker drumming away at the Pony Express Wildlife Area. Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop was pretty quiet. A male Baltimore Oriole was west of the parking area. A couple of Chimney Swifts flew high over the river.

Our birding day ended at DePoorter Lake. The weedy fields around the lake are usually good for a sparrow or two. We found White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Lark Sparrows, and a couple of Chipping Sparrows. We thought the Chipping Sparrows should be farther west in the foothills or mountains? The highlight was a Field Sparrow along the southern fence line. As hard as we tried, no Northern Bobwhites could be found.

June 23
Today Roger and I birded Bonny Reservoir at first light. We did not find any Eastern Screech-Owls (probably due to a late arrival). Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Eastern Bluebirds, and a Common Poorwill were around Hale Ponds.

The highlight was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo sighting and a second heard along the Republican River (north of Hale Ponds).

We did not spend a long time but did search for Long-eared Owls at Hale; without success. We briefly checked Wagon Wheel Campgrounds and Foster's Grove without finding any uncommon birds.

At Flagler Reservoir, a few Song Sparrows, Lark Sparrows, and White-crowned Sparrows fluttered about the eastern side.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker was at the southeast corner. While a Ladder-backed Woodpecker was along the southern end of the reservoir. This is quite far north for a Ladder-backed Woodpecker and a good find!

June 24
Today, Roger and I counted birds at Hugoo, Karval, and Kinney Lake Wildlife Areas. Birding was pretty slow most of the day. We did find Cassin's Sparrows (difficult in past years, but not this year).

The usual nesting birds of the eastern plains were found (such as Western Kingbird, Eastern Kingbird, Song Sparrow, an occasional Say's Phoebe, White-breasted Nuthatch, and blackbirds).

The only uncommon bird was a Short-eared Owl flying around the southwest corner of Karval Reservoir Wildlife Area (where we ended our birding day).

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Pawnee National Grasslands

June 19, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Quite a few birds were coming to the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center feeders this morning, but we did not see any Rosy Finches. An American Three-toed Woodpecker was relocated at the east side of Chambers Lake (Larimer County).

We found 3 Mountain Plover, many McCown's Longspurs, and a few Lark Buntings while surveying the fields north of Weld County Roads 94 and 61. Afterwards we drove CR 96 and found a Chestnut-collared Longspur about 1.5 miles west of CR 77. Another Mountain Plover was found in the field south of CR 96 at 1.7 miles west of CR 77.

A quick stop at Crow Valley Campground did not find any uncommon birds. The two traditional Upland Sandpiper fields were checked but no Upland Sandpipers could be found.

Owling in Jackson County Continued

To be filled in later!

Owling After a Great Birding Day in Boulder County

June 10, 2009 (continued)

Richard Stevens:

Five Texas birders and I stopped at Pennock Pass (Larimer County) just before dark. A Flammulated Owl was calling when we pulled up. Another Flammulated Owl called in the distance.

Later, when we arrived at Cameron Pass (12,294 feet), Jackson County it was snowing above 10,200 feet. The area had received 2-3 inches before their arrival. I stayed the night and woke up to 8-10 inches additional snow. It continued to snow and was still snowing at noon at 10,000 feet and above. Any attempts to find Boreal Owls were futile.

June 11, 2009

At 6:30 am I visited the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center 10 miles west of Cameron Pass. Twenty to thirty Brown-capped Rosy Finches visited the feeders behind the Center. It down poured during my whole stay.

A young female moose ate grass about 15 feet from me! I was wearing green coat and pants and perhaps she did not see me as I stood against the wet dark brown building? In any case, my presence did not appear to bother her and she kept on eating while I watched the birds and her. Boy, moose appear quite large when they are that close!

Here at around 9,400 feet it rained heavily for the 2.5 hours I watched the many feeders. Other very wet birds seen included dozens of Broad-tailed Hummingbirds (only Broad-tailed), 20+ Evening Grosbeaks, a pair of Pine Grosbeaks, hundreds of Pine Siskins, several White-crowned Sparrows and several Dark-eyed Juncos.

No telling how long the Brown-capped Rosy Finches have been visiting or if they will continue. Skies appeared as if the snow/rain mix would continue throughout the day.

Later back in Larimer County Richard found an American Three-toed Woodpecker along the east side of Chambers Lake. He walked west from the first pullover south of highway 14.

Joe Wright Reservoir, Larimer County was snow and ice covered and no birds.

Many Wilson's Snipe were seen along puddles up Ruby Jewel Road, off Michigan Creek Road in the Colorado State Forest.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Chasing Uncommon Birds in Boulder County

June 10, 2009

Richard Stevens:

I am using a friend's computer up in Longmont. Everyone from the CoBus office is either on the western slope today or Colorado

At first light I was at Gregory Canyon this morning. While looking for the Kentucky Warbler I found the male Hooded Warbler!
After a 45 minute search for the Kentucky, the male Hooded Warbler popped out of the thickets north of the Bluestem Trail and
east of the Gregory Canyon parking area.

I gave up on the Kentucky Warbler and headed up the Gregory Canyon trail to get a look at the Scarlet Tanager. The male Kentucky
Warbler was singing out in the open in the large willow tree just west of the intersection of Saddle Rock and Gregory Canyon
trails. This was at 6:50 am.

When I arrived up the trail at the telephone pole (above #50) where the telephone wires cross the trail, the male Scarlet Tanager
was constantly calling. I took about two dozen photos from less than 15 feet. Hopefully one or two will come out? Unfortunately I
am on a week trip and do not have the means to download the photos until I return home.

Other birds observed: Virginia's Warblers both up Gregory Canyon and Bluestem trail (2 near the Kentucky Warbler)

MacGillivray's Warbler southwest of the restrooms near parking area Many Western Tanagers, Western Wood-pewee, Townsend's
Solitaire, 2 Plumbeous Vireos (between the two bridges), Broad-tailed Hummingbirds

Before leaving Boulder County I stopped at a few additional locations.

Teller Lake Trail No Bobolink but at least one Dickcissel. It was singing in the field about 3/4 miles from the parking area
(where the trail runs east to west).

Bobolink Meadow along Baseline Road (0.3 miles west of the bobolink trailhead below Baseline Reservoir

At least 3 male and a female Bobolink. I did not get out of my car, but looked from the little pullover area south of the field.
It is illegal to park here.

Walden/Sawhill Ponds At least one Green Heron (between Duck Lake and Sawhill)

Pella Crossing Park Field to the South of Heron Lake At least one male Bobolink At least one Dickcissel (the Dickcissel was
calling from a small area of alfalfa 60 yards

south of the lake. A Red-eyed Vireo was singing when I returned to the restrooms near the parking area. It eventually flew to the
trees southeast of the picnic table south of the restrooms.

I walked to the west side of 75th avenue to the western Pella Crossing Ponds (having never been there or known they were there.
The most southwestern pond (Clearwater Pond) has some old growth trees around it and potential during migration)

Have some time before meeting six birders for an owling trip and I may backtrack and look for the Northern Parula reported this
morning by Christian Nunes around the City of Boulder's Open Space and Mountain Parks office at 66 S. Cherryvale Rd.

In the afternoon:

Instead of driving back to Boulder from Loveland, I chose to hike from Dotsero Drive and 16th to the west side of Bud Mielke
Reservoir and back (a little over 3.2 miles).

I did not relocate the possible Eastern Meadowlark, but did see Bobolink, a pair of Great-tailed Grackles, Yellow-headed
Blackbirds, and many Western Meadowlarks.

The cool walk was a nice way to end my daylight birding! Going owling all night!

Return to Pike National Forest and Pine Valley Ranch Park

June 8, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Ivan Ebershoff, Cassie Gore, Bill Cryder and I hiked the 7.4 mile loop at Pine Valley Ranch Park and Pike National Forest. I found an adult male Three-toed Woodpecker at 400 feet south of the Skipper Trail and 400 yards east of the Buck Gulch Trail.

We also saw Western Bluebirds, Mountain Bluebirds, Hairy Woodpeckers, White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Pygmy Nuthatches, Western Wood-pewees, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Brown Creeper to name a few.

I want to send a message to Gregg C who looked several times last week. Once we were in the area I told you about, it took almost 2 hours to find a Three-toed. A Virginia's Warbler was in the willows along the Narrow Railroad trail and west of the far bridge.

Two American Dippers were along the Platte River at 1.2 miles east of Pine Road.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A Quick Trip Through Cherry Creek Reservoir

June 7, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I drove through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) late in the afternoon after the rain storms passed. Skies were partly cloudy; winds were mild.

Nine+ Snowy Egrets searched for food at the Cottonwood Creek wetlands pond.

Another 2 Snowy Egrets were at the new wetlands pond southeast of the model airplane field. A dog walker came by and lost control of his 2 dogs. One of the dogs jumped in the water and scared up a Green Heron. In the pond were also Cinnamon Teal and Blue-winged Teal. The only shorebirds were 2 Killdeer.

The eastern sand spit is still under water. Several dozen American White Pelicans stood on the submerged sand spit.

Eastern Plains and Mountains

June 6, 2009

Richard Stevens:

David Neal, Carson Denison, and I found ourselves at Crow Valley Campground (Weld) at first light. Nothing uncommon was found and we continued north to Murphy's Pasture. Several McCown's Longspurs were observed along CR 96, but we did not find one of the few Chestnut-collared Longspurs usually in the area.

A drive up the field south of CR 96 at 1.7 miles west of CR 77 relocated 2 Mountain Plovers.

We continued west to the Mountain Plover Loop and relocated another 2 Mountain Plovers in the field north of CR 94 and CR 61. Here additional McCown's Longspurs and Lark Buntings were found, but still no Chestnut-collared Longspurs.

In order to find Chestnut-collared Longspurs we drove up to the field southeast of CR 114 and highway 85. We walked toward the windmill about 1.0 mile south of CR 114. Two male Chestnut-collared Longspurs were found as we only had to hike about halfway to the windmill.

After dinner we drove up to Pennock Pass (Larimer) where I was able to relocate a Flammulated Owl. Afterwards we continued west to Cameron Pass and found a Boreal Owl to add to our trip list. Although the Boreal Owl took us quite a bit longer to find.

Drive Up Mt Evans Byway

June 5, 2009

Richard Stevens:

David Neal, Carson Denison and I drove up Mt Evans Byway, Clear Creek County this morning. Skies were cloudy, winds mild.

A White-tailed Ptarmigan was found below the rocks at the east end of the upper Mt Evans Parking Area. It is always helpful for success if you are one of the first cars up there in the morning.

We then hiked the northern side of Summit Lake. Two Brown-capped Rosy Finches eventually came down to the northwest corner of the lake. Later they were seen perched or feeding on the rocks on the hillside to the north.

A check of the Echo Lake campgrounds did not find any American Three-toed Woodpeckers today. We also walked the west and south sides of the lake, again no Three-toed Woodpeckers. Several Broad-tailed Hummingbirds were seen around the Echo Lake Lodge.

We drove into Silverthorne and Summit County looking for mountain species. Pine Grosbeaks and Evening Grosbeaks were found around town. Two Band-tailed Pigeons were also observed.

Rock Creek Road on the way to A.M. Bailey Bird Sanctuary was too muddy for our vehicle and we gave up on a try to get up there.

A quick stop at Genesee Mountain Park (Jefferson) found a pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers first around the flag pole and later along the main road just southwest of the flag pole.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Search for Pileated Woodpecker

May 29 to June 3, 2009

Bryan Ehlmann:

May 29

After hearing about the Pileated Woodpecker report from Telluride we departed Denver about midnight. It took about 8 hours to drive to Telluride.

During the day, Friday we walked the River Trail at least three times. We also walked up and down every street in Telluride at least twice. The town isn't that big.

Hikes along Highway 145 in both east and west directions didn't find any Pileated Woodpeckers. We also checked Forest Roads 632 and 637. No luck.

After dark we went owling and we able to find (hear) a Northern Pygmy-Owl and several Flammulated Owls!

May 30

We again walked the River Trail 2 times and every street in Telluride once before giving up on finding a Pileated Woodpecker. We didn't receive any phone calls that the bird was relocated and decided to move on.

A check around Bridal Veils Falls didn't find any Black Swifts. None were expected as it is just a little early for them to show up.

From Telluride our journey turned south to Lizard Head pass, Dolores County. At dusk we heard a Boreal Owl call from somewhere behind the lake. We would have liked to hike higher up but there was still too much snow to trek through.

May 31

After spending the night in Cortez, we found ourselves at Yellow Jacket Canyon at sunrise. It took several hours for us to locate a pair of Lucy's Warblers. If one of them hadn't been singing, we would have missed them completely.

Along the hike a Summer Tanager was also found singing! The hike was a cornucopia of birds which also included a Scott's Oriole, Black-throated Gray Warblers, Black-throated Sparrows, Gray Flycatchers, a MacGillivray's Warbler, Ash-throated Flycatchers, Gray Vireo and Plumbeous Vireo!

Our trek circled north to Slick Rock where there is nothing there any longer. We drove down Disappointment Valley in search of Curve-billed or Bendire's Thrashers, but found neither.

At Uravan we saw a Black Phoebe downstream from the old bridge.

Running out of daylight, we continued to the Uncompahgre Plateau. We hadn't heard about the Lesser Nighthawks at the Nucla Sewer Ponds, passed nearby but didn't stop.

After dark we found 2 Flammulated Owls along the Telephone draw trail on the Uncompahgre Plateau. On the way up we checked the old Northern Saw-whet Owl boxes up one of the draws west of the gate into the plateau. The boxes are in disrepair and it doesn't look like owls have used them in several years.

June 1

In the morning we found Red-naped Sapsuckers across the road from the Telephone draw trail. Two Grace's Warblers responded to a recording near Carson's Hole.

After lunch in Grand Junction we searched for the Lucy's Warbler reported a few weeks ago in Rabbit Valley but didn't find it. A check of several previous locations of Scott's Orioles found them north of Rabbit Valley and up Brewster's Ridge. They were not found in Rabbit Valley south of I70, at Roads 2 and M.80 or Snake Creek.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relocating Long-eared Owls successfully (gps waypoints upon request) and then going to Baxter Pass. We found a Northern Saw-whet Owl before dark on Baxter Pass, then turned around and drove east to Douglas Pass Road.

After dark and after midnight Flammulated Owls were found at three locations on Douglas Pass Road. Two in Mesa County and one in Garfield County.

June 2

We detoured over Cross Mountain to Oxbow Wildlife Area. Here both Sage Sparrows and Sage Thrashers could be seen from the parking area. The wildlife area is closed for the protection of nesting birds, but both our target birds responded to recordings and came out of the sage to see what the commotion was.

Our attempt to reach the Timberlake Greater Sage-Grouse Leks from Highway 318 and Ninemile Basin was not successful because of muddy roads. We had to turn around, drive east to Craig and go up highway 13.

We explored Moffat County Roads 2 and 4 just to see what was up there. A Greater Sage-Grouse crossed CR 4 near the open fence about 3 miles west of highway 13. There was some confusion as to whether this is Moffat County Road 4 or 3. It is marked different on several maps. Hundreds of Vesper Sparrows roamed the hills south of the Wyoming border.

In the afternoon we drove up to California Park, up the 80 Route Road. In previous years White-winged Crossbills have been reported but none were found today. At dusk we looked for grouse at the Greater Sage-Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse and Dusky Grouse "leks"; none showed up. Guess they are done for this spring? We also tried unsuccessfully to call up the Northern Saw-whet Owl that had called in May.

June 3

We tried to find White-winged Crossbills north of Steamboat Springs but again had no luck. Three-toed Woodpeckers and any crossbills were missed on Rabbit Ears pass too.

The rest of our day was spent in the Colorado State Forest checking owl boxes for Boreal Owls again without success.

After dark we did find Boreal Owls at two places around Cameron Pass. On the way back to Denver by way of Fort Collins we also found 2 Flammulated Owls on Pennock pass.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Guanella Pass and Pine Valley Ranch Park

May 31, 2009

Gary Weston: Five birders emailed for a trip to Guanella pass on Sunday. We piled into a van and booked on up. Two White-tailed Ptarmigan were on the rocks southeast of the intersection of the Rosalie and 603 trails.

We also saw a couple of Mountain Bluebirds, American Pipits and White-crowned Sparrows! We looked over the switchbacks south of Guanella Pass campgrounds. No Three-toed Woodpeckers were seen or heard.

Afterwards we stopped at Pine Valley Ranch Park in Jeffco. We heard a Three-toed Woodpecker south of Pine Lake. When we finally tracked down the bird 200 yards uphill of Pine Lake it was an adult male.

A small flock of Pygmy Nuthatches and a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches were 100 yards up the Buck Gulch trail south of Pine Lake.

A hiker/birder said that they had seen a male northeast of the Skipper and Buck Gulch trails.