Sunday, July 11, 2010

Western Slope Bird Trip (Part 3)

July 1 to July 10, 2010

Bryan Ehlmann:

July 1st

Group B
We drove to the west end of the south rim of the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park in Montrose County before sunrise. A Northern Pygmy-Owl was heard along the trail to the western overlook. On our way out, two Dusky Grouse were found west of the entrance station. Usually suspects included many Spotted Towhees, Evening Grosbeaks and White-throated Swifts. Two birds surprised us. A Lark Bunting sang from the scrub oak. A Common Poorwill responded to our recordings near the Campgrounds.

Next we took Highway 92 north to Crawford, passing Gould and Crawford Reservoirs. A Green-tailed Towhee was seen at Gould Reservoir. The Common Loon was still at Crawford. Other birds recorded included Cinnamon Teal, Blue-winged Teal, 2 White-faced Ibis, Franklin's Gulls, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and a Clark's Grebe.

Our last stop of the day would be the northern rim of the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park. We did find a Gunnison Sage-Grouse near the overlook. Two Northern Pygmy-Owls responded to recordings.

Group A
After driving up La Plata CR 207 to Perins Wildlife Area in search of owls (2 Northern Pygmy-Owl) they stopped at Wildcat Canyon and found 2 Acorn Woodpeckers.

Their main goal was to find Ptarmigan around Kennebec Pass in La Plata. Grace's Warblers were found at several stops along 124 Road. They also found a Northern Pygmy-Owl and Flammulated Owl. It took them four hours but a female and 2 young White-tailed Ptarmigan were found. Other birds included Pine Grosbeaks, Lincoln's Sparrows and Brewer's Sparrows. The Brewer's Sparrows were found in alpine tundra. Could they be nesting Timberline Sparrows?

At Junction Creek Campgrounds they recorded Grace's Warblers, 2 Northern Saw-whet Owls, a Flammulated Owl and a Dusky Grouse. A pair of Lewis's Woodpeckers was seen along Junction Creek Road between the Campgrounds and Durango.

Later they drove up to Lake Haviland mainly in search of bats. A pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers and American Three-toed Woodpeckers were added to their La Plata County lists. Others: Osprey, Grace's Warbler and Cordilleran Flycatchers.

Campgrounds searched included: Cherry Creek, Animas and Kroeger.

July 2nd

Group B
We spent our day around Hotchkiss and Paonia areas in Delta County. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was heard in Hotchkiss. Hummingbirds were a surprise. We had Broad-tailed, a Rufous and a Calliope. Other birds included 4 Band-tailed Pigeons and a couple of Common Nighthawks.

A Lewis's Woodpecker was found in Paonia. Also seen Great Horned Owl and Lazuli Bunting. An American Dipper was recorded at Paonia Reservoir.

Group A
They birded Mancos State Park, Summit Reservoir and Puett Reservoir today.

Best birds at Mancos S.T.P. were Grace's Warblers and an Ovenbird. A Grace's Warbler was found at Summit Reservoir.

They hiked in Box Canyon to Green Beal Spring. Along this route they found two nesting pairs of Purple Martins. Later another pair of Purple Martins was found at Jersey Flats.

A Lewis's Woodpecker was found at Cottonwood Park in Mancos. Black Phoebes were relocated at the J Road Bridge and Mancos River Bridge in Montezuma County.

Owls were quiet this night. They only found one Northern Pygmy-Owl near Transfer Campgrounds.

July 3rd

Group B
We continued our birding in Delta County today. Our search focused on Chukar in Peach Valley. As previous 2010 visits went, no Chukar were found.

Our attempts took us up Chukar Trail and Chukar Road. A few Say's Phoebes were the most interesting until the trip up Chukar Road. The isolated road goes through evergreen forest and 4 flocks of Pinyon Jays were chanced upon. Total count was 137 jays.

We made it all the way down to the Gunnison River, no Chukar in spite of sightings this spring. Our only owl was a Northern Saw-whet Owl along Chukar Road.

Group A
They spent most of the day exploring Yellow Jacket Canyon where a pair of Lucy's Warblers and a pair of Summer Tanagers was relocated.

Pinyon Jays were seen at the Sleeping Ute Rest Stop. Little was found at McPhee Reservoir. Highlights were an Olive-sided Flycatcher and one Black Phoebe. Also recorded Dusky Flycatcher and Gray Flycatchers.

Owl count was again low: 1 Northern Pygmy-Owl and 1 Flammulated Owl.

July 4th

Group B
A Northern Pygmy-Owl and several Grace's Warblers were found along Dave Wood Road. Another Northern Pygmy-Owl was heard along highway 90.

At Sweitzer Lake State Park in Delta County: a Peregrine Falcon flew overhead. Four Chimney Swifts also were flyovers. A late migrating or perhaps early migrating Snowy Plover walked the shore.

Our second Delta County American Dipper was seen at Billy Creek Wildlife Area. Other birds seen included 2 Virginia's Warblers, a small flock of Bushtits, a Sage Sparrow, Loggerhead Shrikes and Spotted Towhees. We thought the Sage Sparrow to be a little out of its element.

Owls heard only included a Northern Saw-whet Owl and 1 Northern Pygmy-Owl.

Group A
They drove between Cortez and Telluride by way of Lizard Head Pass

Campgrounds visited before sunrise included: Montezuma County: Priest, Forks, Dolores: Emerson, Mavreeso, West Dolores, Fish Creek and Burro.

Owl count: Montezuma County: 1 Northern Pygmy-Owl and Dolores: 2 Northern Pygmy-Owl, 1 Northern Saw-whet Owl, 2 Flammulated Owls at different locations.

They searched for White-winged Crossbills and American Three-toed Woodpeckers previously reported at Lizard Head Pass in San Miguel County. Neither species was found.

In the afternoon, several Black Swifts were seen flying over Bridal Falls outside of Telluride.

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