Sunday, December 6, 2009

Northeastern Birding

November 24 and 25, 2009

Richard Stevens:

November 24

I headed to the northeastern plains for a couple of days of birding. On the trip northeast, a stop at Barr Lake relocated the two Common Loons that have been there for about a week. Several Great-tailed Grackles remained at the Tree Nursery at 152nd avenue and Picadilly Road.

My next stop was a good one at Andrick Wildlife Area (Morgan). The Long-tailed Duck reported a few days earlier on a pond at the south end of the Wildlife Area was now on Pond #1 (most northwestern pond). A few Northern Shovelers, Gadwall, and American Coots were also here.

On pond #3 (most northeastern pond) a pair of Greater Scaup swam around with half a dozen Lesser Scaup and Northern Shovelers.

A walk through the western Campgrounds at Jackson Reservoir (Morgan) found 17 Long-eared Owls and 60+ American Robins.

I then drove around to the southern parking area and walked about a mile of the dam. Five Greater Scaup and four Common Loons were in the middle of the reservoir. Fifty-seven Great-tailed Grackles were in the trees next to the first ranch house west of CR Y.5 and CR 3.5.

No Eastern Screech-Owls responded to my recording as I walked along the dam, west of the parking area (many large cottonwoods here have hosted nesting owls in the past).

At sunset, I walked north of the western Campgrounds hoping to find a Short-eared Owl. Two Great Horned Owls called from the Campgrounds. No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.

On the way out of the park, a recording was played at the Cove Campground. An Eastern Screech-Owl answered back for about 10 minutes (recording was played only 2 minutes).

After dark, I drove over to the Brush Wildlife Area (Morgan) and another Eastern Screech-Owl answered by recordings.

November 25

Shortly after midnight, Roger and I heard two Eastern Screech-Owls at his ranch.

Roger Danka and I walked the northern side of Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) before sunrise. The resident Eastern Screech-Owl responded quickly to my recording! After sunrise, we found both the Yellow-billed Loon, Common Loon, and Greater White-fronted Goose previously reported on Jumbo Reservoir.

After dropping Roger off at home, I headed for Denver (after seeing a White-throated Sparrow and eastern Fox Sparrow that have been on his ranch for a week).

A search for sparrows around the Ovid Sewage Ponds came up empty. A Brown Thrasher was near the bridge at the southern end of Ovid Woods. A male Northern Cardinal was observed at the northern end of Ovid Woods.

The resident Eastern Screech-Owl came out in response to my recording. Dark-eyed Juncos (50+) mobbed me during the playing! I had really been hoping to draw out an uncommon sparrow or Purple Finch from the taller grasses, but was happy to see the owl!

My birding day ended at Sedgwick Draw and Cemetery. A White-throated Sparrow was in the woodpile at the southeast corner of the cemetery. Ten minutes after sunset, a Short-eared Owl flew down the Draw!

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