Thursday, August 26, 2010

Return to Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Adams County

August 25, 2010

Jerry Petrosky:

Richard Stevens and I returned to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal at 6:00 AM. No owls. Bird numbers were much reduced from what they found yesterday. Until we returned to our car, eleven Eastern Kingbirds outnumbered the two Western Kingbirds. Eastern finally won 11 to 6. They had 223+ Western Kingbirds yesterday.

Uncommon birds included

Plumbeous Vireo on the north side of Mary Lake.

Townsend's Warblers Cottonwoods along Ladora Lake at the end of the bridge over southern section. Cottonwoods just west of Peoria and 64th streets, south side of 64th.

Cassin's Vireo Lone cottonwood just east of where northern section of Ladora Lake trail goes through trees. Same area as yesterday's Yellow throated Vireo. Today's vireo had pale whitish throat, breast and belly with pale yellow flanks. Yesterday's Yellow throated had bright yellow throat and white belly.

I returned to Denver while Richard went to Pawnee National Grasslands. On the way up, he photographed the Pacific Loon at McIntosh Lake, Boulder County.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Adams and Morgan County Birding

August 24, 2010

Rich Stevens called me up at 5:00 AM and suggested that conditions were good today for a fallout of migrating birds. Rain and mild winds out of the north suggested just that!

We arrived at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Adams County just as it opened at 6:00 AM and listened for owls at the old Governor's Row area. While many birds were heard, owls were not among them. It is still a little too light at 6:00 AM with sunrise 6:19 AM. This undertaking has better success when it is completely dark out.

After sunrise, we started out in a counterclockwise trip around the Lake Ladora trail. We circled a wide path around the southwest corner where 49 Double-crested Cormorants were roosting.

Our first interesting encounter was the bird of the day, a Pacific/Winter Wren. It called several times and popped out of the brush north of the lone cottonwood tree where the trail goes from east to south. We had about a 10-second look at its light brown throat. The call and its throat led us to believe that it was a Pacific Wren.

Continuing south, a flock of Lark Sparrows, two Song Sparrows and two Common Yellowthroats came out of the leafless brushes a little farther south of the Pacific Wren sighting.

Two Soras called from the cattails at the southwest corner of Ladora. A Townsend's Warbler loosely accompanied a flock of nine Yellow Warblers. While a Virginia Rail called from 20 yards east of here.

The woodpiles along the south side of Lake Ladora were full of birds. Nineteen House Wrens, the most I have seen at one time, were found along with 39 Chipping Sparrows, 1 Lincoln's Sparrow, 4 Song Sparrows and several hundred Red-winged Blackbirds.

Another flock of Yellow Warblers, seven this time, an Orange-crowned Warbler and our second Townsend's Warbler of the day were in the tall cottonwoods north of the cattails at the southeast corner of Ladora.

A third Townsend's Warbler was at the northwest corner of the trail, just below the Lower Derby Lake dam. The dead snag at this corner held 68 Western Kingbirds! By the time we would get back to the parking lot on the west side of Ladora, another 103 Western Kingbirds were counted.

Continuing around we hit the mother lode where the trail goes through/under a group of cottonwoods. A small Mexican Locust grove is along the north side of these trees. The bird count included 17 Yellow Warblers, 9 Western Wood-pewees, 4 Western Tanagers, and a pair of White-breasted Nuthatches, 2 Orange-crowned Warblers and a male Downy Woodpecker.

The most interesting birds were an Olive-sided Flycatcher and a Yellow-throated Vireo. Our fourth Townsend's Warbler of the day was also there.

Except for a few scattered cottonwoods, the trail leaves any dense riparian area here. So we turned around and walked to the Rod and Gun Club bird blind. Another 57 Western Kingbirds were found along this trail. A flock of 29 Lark Sparrows was seen also.

Nine Yellow Warblers, one Orange-crowned Warbler and a Black-and-white Warbler were around the bird blind.

There were no birds at the Havana Ponds. In fact, we did not see one Gull in six hours. With all the warblers, we did not see one Yellow-rumped Warbler the whole day. In addition, we could just imagine how many Western Kingbirds were on the Arsenal today as our count was just a small portion of the prairie. Many of the Western Kingbirds were perched on the miner's candles and not in the cottonwoods.

Two female or young Lark Buntings flew around the parking lot upon our return.

The skies started to clear before noon and we lost our great cloud cover. Still we decided to go over to Barr Lake State Park.

We split up at Barr Lake in order to cover more ground. While Richard walked the Niedrach trail, mile 0.5 and north to the boat ramp at mile 7.5, I parked at the boat ramp and walked from mile 7.5 east and north to the north end of the dam, mile 6.0.

Richard relocated the Plumbeous Vireo reported yesterday by Jerry Petrosky. He also relocated a Northern Waterthrush reported yesterday near the banding station by McBurney. A Townsend's Warbler was just north of the banding area.

Meanwhile I found a Black-and-white Warbler below the dam. It was in the tall cottonwoods south of the Old Stone House. A Virginia Rail and five Common Yellowthroats were along the outlet canal.

Richard picked me up at the Stone House and we circled around to the southwest corner of the reservoir. I dropped Richard off at mile 2.5 and continued around to the north side, parking the car at mile 4.0.

Richard walked toward the car and found another Townsend's Warbler at mile 3.5, along with 9 additional Yellow Warblers. At a similar time, I found a Tennessee Warbler at mile 4.5. The many gulls here appeared to be Ring-billed and a few California Gulls, nothing uncommon.

When I again reached mile 6.0, Richard picked me up. It was about 4:00 PM, with plenty of daylight remaining we decided to drive the 40+ miles northeast and look for the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher reported on 8/21 by Bruce Cyganowski at the northeast side of Jackson Lake State Park, Morgan County. Somewhere I saw a link to a photo of the bird. When I find it, I will put it on the CoBus Trip Report blog.

We gave it a good try, but never found the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. At dusk, we heard an Eastern Screech-Owl calling while we waited for any Short-eared Owls that might fly by the western Campgrounds. No Long-eared Owls answered our recordings.

Bryan Ehlmann

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Escaping the Heat in the Northern Mountains

August 21 to 23, 2010

Richard Stevens:

August 21st

Determined to escape the summer heat in Denver, we drove to Cameron Pass and Gould for a few days.

Our trip was timed to arrive at Cameron Pass after civil twilight (8:30 pm). We stopped and played recordings about every 0.2 miles (starting at the upper Joe Wright Reservoir to the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.

The only response on this windy night was at 0.2 miles west of the summit to Cameron Pass (Jackson County).

August 22nd

We spent most of today on the Larimer County side of Cameron Pass. We stopped at the first pullover along CR 103 (Laramie River Road). An American Three-toed Woodpecker was found at the northern end of Chambers Lake (by way of pullover, west to trail heading north, then 500 yards to north).

Next, we made the hike up Twin Carter Lakes trail. Another two Three-toed Woodpeckers were found along this walk. About 200 yards up the trail, a Northern Goshawk flew by! A pair of Pine Grosbeaks was also found.

In the afternoon, we searched the Ranger Lakes Campgrounds for the Williamson's Sapsucker previously reported. While it was not found, yet another Three-toed Woodpecker was seen.

Our daylight birding ended up Ruby Jewel Road (from Michigan Creek Road). An American Three-toed Woodpecker was about 0.1 miles east of the main road. After dark, I played Boreal Owl and Flammulated Owl recordings. One Boreal Owl briefly called back (at 0.6 miles from Michigan Creek Road).

It was a good night, another Boreal Owl responded to the recordings when played back at Ranger Lakes Campgrounds.

August 23rd

About an hour before civil twilight 5:00 am, we walked the Crags Campgrounds (Jackson). No owls were found, however our luck changed when we walked south along the fire road at the southwest corner. We were approximately 0.6 miles south of the Campgrounds. My batteries died in my GPS preventing an exact waypoint.

Later, we made my annual trip to the Teller City Ghost town. The self guiding tour (about 3/4 mile) provides some interesting history of the old silver mines. As a bonus, we found both a Northern Pygmy-Owl and Three-toed Woodpecker.

One downside, the road in requires a 4 wheel drive/high clearance vehicle. If you like your car, do not drive down this road. The road starts out harmless but is quite weathered farther down from the main highway.

Our trip back to Denver was time to hit Pennock Pass at dusk. One Flammulated Owl answered (at one of our three stops).

Douglas County Birding

August 20, 2010

Richard Stevens:

I wanted to conduct a through search for Red-headed and Lewis's Woodpeckers at the Cheesman Reservoir (Douglas County) area today. Suggestions that they nest in the area have circulated for several years. Long story, short; neither was found in a ten hour search.

My trek started at 4:00 am when I drove down Highway 67 to Sugar Creek Road. I stopped every 0.2 miles and play owl recordings (Northern Pygmy and Northern Saw-whet). The only owl heard was a Northern Pygmy-Owl at my very first stop.

I parked at the Cheesman Canyon Trail parking area and walked west up Highway 126. Most of my target woodpeckers were reported along highway 126 (especially around and behind the green trailer).

Green-tailed Towhees, Lincoln's Sparrows and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds fluttered about the ditch along hwy 126. A Golden Eagle flew by at one time.

Having not succeeding with that endeavor, I hiked the Cheesman Canyon Trail to the reservoir. It is about 3 miles up the trail before the reservoir comes into view. Along the way, three American Three-toed Woodpeckers were found. A forest fire hit the area a few years ago, making for prime Three-toed Woodpecker habitat.

The many birds around Cheesman Reservoir included three species of nuthatches, Pine Siskins, Red Crossbills, Mountain Bluebirds, Western Wood-pewees and an Olive-sided Flycatcher.

I spent several hours at the reservoir, after a leisure lunch, headed back down to my car. After exploring Stoney Pass Road (northwest to Wellington Lake), I turned back east to Deckers and then north to Sedalia.

It only took about 15 minutes to find one of the American Three-toed Woodpeckers at Rampart Range Road and Highway 67. At least one pair has set up territory northeast corner.

A flock of Cedar Waxwings flew around the Sedalia cemetery. Other than that, it was quiet.

My trek continued east as I decided to search for Northern Saw-whet Owls at Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas) at dusk.

No Bobolinks were found on the Winkler Ranch (Douglas), which is about 1.5 miles south of Castlewood Canyon State Park. A few Mountain Bluebirds flew around; no Western Bluebirds were among them.

A Cordilleran Flycatcher called from the hillside west of Castlewood Canyon Road (0.2 miles south of the Winkler ranch's entrance). I once read that Cordilleran Flycatchers were the only "Empidonax" species that sang in the fall.

Half a dozen Vesper Sparrows, 2 Savannah Sparrows and 2 Song Sparrows landed on the fence line. At dusk, I played recordings at several locations in Castlewood Canyon. Surprisingly, a Northern Saw-whet Owl called back (near the old parking area for the falls, now gone, just a guardrail).

An hour after dark I walked the subdivision of homes west of the park (North Willow Lake Drive). Another Northern Saw-whet Owl called between the yelping dogs.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Brief Return to Rocky Mountain Arsenal

August 18, 2010

Richard Stevens:

While most of the day was spent doing chores, I did manage to get in a little birding.

At first light, I returned to Rocky Mountain Arsenal. A male Townsend's Warbler was found along the creek that runs west from the outlet of Lower Derby Lake. I did not relocate the Cassin's Vireo nor did I hike over to the Rod and Gun Club Pond.

Late in the afternoon after temperatures dropped, we biked outside of the east side of Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Buckley Road between 56th and 88th avenue). No Sage Thrashers today, but the Burrowing Owl count was 3 in Adams County (inside the arsenal) and 5 in Denver County (east of Buckley Road).

Burrowing Owls were also seen in the field west of Tower Road at 0.2 miles north of 56th avenue and 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue. No Short-eared Owl could be found.

For those who have not noticed, I added a new feature to Colorado's number one Birding Website. Bird Sightings are now shown on a Colorado map for easy reference to where the Uncommon Bird Sightings are located.

Eastern Plains Again

August 14 & 15, 2010

Richard Stevens:

August 14th

Bryan Ehlmann and I started our birding day before sunrise at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County). Sunrise is around 6:09 am and entrance is not allowed until 6:00 am. By the time we arrived at the old "Governor's Row" it was past civil twilight. We wanted to search/listen for owls; however, it was just too late. In another month, conditions (darkness at 6:00 am) will be better for owling hunting.

We made the 4 mile walking circuit, which proved fruitful. Winds were mild and the air was cool, made for a pleasant hike.

The woods below the Lower Derby Lake dam were quite productive. We found a Townsend's Warbler and Cassin's Vireo among 3 Yellow-rumped Warblers and 9 Black-capped Chickadees. On the way in, a male Indigo Bunting was found around the finally fork in the R&GC trail. The dark morph Red-tailed Hawk was again in the area.

A trip to the bird blind at the Rod & Gun Club Pond added a Black-and-white Warbler to our trip list. On the trip back to the Visitor's Center, we walked the eastern side of Lake Ladora, which is usually a good place to find sparrows. The tally today was 5 Song, 4 White-crowned, and a Lincoln's Sparrow.

Next, we went north to Lower Latham Reservoir (Weld). The usual birds (Black-necked Stilt, Wilson's Phalaropes, a couple of Baird's Sandpipers) were south of CR 48. Beebe Draw Ponds were pretty much dried up to nothing.

Crow Valley Campground had few birds and many mosquitoes. A couple of 1st year Bullock's Orioles were still around.

A quick trip around the DIA Owl loop added a Mountain Plover and many McCown's Longspurs along the dirt road north of CR 94 & CR 63.

We then turned east toward Julesburg. A stop at Jackson Reservoir (Morgan) found only a few Yellow-rumped Warblers and Cedar Waxwings. At dusk, an Eastern Screech-Owl answered our recordings. No Long-eared Owls were called up or answered.

August 15th

We started our birding day again an hour before sunrise. No Eastern Screech-Owls were found below the dam today; however, one did respond at the western cottonwoods.

Later, a Marbled Godwit and Willet walked the meager shoreline. A Common Tern was seen flying along the dam (about 0.2 miles south of the eastern parking area).

We walked around the eastern and northern sides of the reservoir and found a few Baird's Sandpipers and 2 Red-necked Phalaropes.

A Townsend's Warbler and Nashville Warbler were observed below the dam and east of the outlet canal.

A leisure walk around Overland Park (Logan) did not find any lingering cuckoos. After dark, we called up an Eastern Screech-Owl along the north side of Jumbo Reservoir. An attempt to call up a Least Bittern along the south side of Jumbo was not successful.

Cherry Creek Reservoir and Rocky Mountain Arsenal

August 13, 2010

Richard Stevens:

After owling all night Thursday and not getting home until noon, I needed a few hours of sleep. Woke up at 4:00 pm and read about the Little Blue Heron report at Cherry Creek Reservoir. I drove over and found 4 Snowy Egrets at the Cottonwood Creek Loop. With the high cattails, not all of the wetlands can be seen. Although I suspect a mis-calculation on the Little Blue Herons. Close inspection is required to separate juvenile Little Blue Herons from Snowy Egrets.

I walked over to the Bellevue Wetlands (new wetlands east of the model airplane field). The water here is quite high, not much shore. One Solitary Sandpiper walked the little bit of exposed land.

Fourteen additional Snowy Egrets were found at the southeastern sand spit of the lake proper. When I approached for a closer look at the egrets, another Solitary Sandpiper was seen.

Rebecca Kosten was waiting at Rocky Mountain Arsenal and I had to leave. We biked outside the eastern side (Buckley Road from 56th to 88th avenue).

Burrowing Owl count was down to 3 owls (2 in Denver County, 1 Adams). Swainson's Hawk count was 9 including one intermediate adult. American Kestrels 5 and 1 Ferruginous Hawk.

Movement of birds was quite evident. We saw 287 Common Grackles, 160+ Red-winged Blackbirds and 51 Western Kingbirds.

Three Sage Thrashers were around the fenced in pipe line near the cement barrier about halfway along the trip. Other birds included 1 Loggerhead Shrike, 1 House Wren, 3+ Grasshopper Sparrows, 1 first year Bullock's Oriole, 1 adult Black-headed Grosbeak, 21 Horned Larks and 1 Song Sparrow.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Owling Trip, Larimer and Jackson Counties

August 11, 2010

Rich Stevens and I motored to Cameron Pass to do some owling. Several stops were made along the way.

Timnath Reservoir, Larimer County was scoped for shorebirds.

Birds along the east side:
Baird's Sandpipers: 22
Western Sandpiper: 2
Semipalmated Sandpiper: 1
Least Sandpipers: 2
Spotted Sandpipers: 2
Lesser Yellowlegs: 7
Greater Yellowlegs: 1
Wilson's Phalaropes: 2

From the west side:
Red-necked Phalaropes: 2 in southwest corner
Spotted Sandpipers: 3

At dusk we arrived at Pennock Pass and found Flammulated Owls at two locations.

Later, Boreal Owls were found at three locations in the Cameron Pass area. Several areas were searched: Crags Campgrounds, Joe Wright Reservoir upper and lower parking lots, Cameron Pass' summit, Ruby Jewel Road and Michigan Creek Road.

Email for suggestions on finding either owl (see Colorado Birding Society website for contact emails, sorry I don't know security level of this blog as to whether email addresses can be sucked off by spammers)?

Winds were almost non-existent. The quarter moon lit up the forest. Bird sounds were everywhere! It was perfect night for owling!

August 12, 2010

Today was much different from yesterday. Most of the day, winds were 18 mph with gusts to 26. They died down briefly at sunset, but quickly picked up again after dark.

Rich Stevens and I hiked around Ranger Lakes Campgrounds, Jackson County in the morning. We found a Three-toed Woodpecker, 2 Red-naped Sapsuckers and a male Williamson's Sapsucker, several Pine Grosbeaks and a flock of Evening Grosbeaks.

Next we hiked the one mile trail to Zimmerman Lake, Larimer County. We also made the 1.7 mile Lake Loop. Two Three-toed Woodpeckers were seen at 0.6 miles from the trailhead.

Late in the afternoon, we hiked 4.5 miles down the Michigan Ditch trail, Jackson County. The trail/road is accessed across from the Cameron Pass summit.

Shortly after midnight, we got a Boreal Owl to respond to our tapes, actually digital recordings. Others may have answered, but the strong winds made it almost impossible to hear anything.

August 13, 2010

Rich Stevens and I found several Three-toed Woodpeckers on our hike out. The trail is listed as the "Never Summer Mountain Trail" on some maps. It ends below Lulu Mountain and about 2.0 miles from the summit to Mount Richthofen. The Woodpeckers were about 1.2 miles from Highway 14.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Mt Evans and Genesee Mountain Park

August 10, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Paul and Bill Cryder and I birded Mt Evans Byway (Clear Creek County) at first light. We were not successful in finding any Common Poorwills at the proper habitat.

Our White-tailed Ptarmigan search went better. A pair of Ptarmigan was walking the west hillside, just south of Summit Lake. We continued to the top and found another Ptarmigan just below the eastern ridge at the upper parking area.

On the way down, we stopped at Summit Lake. Three Brown-capped Rosy Finches circled several times and landed at the northwest corner of the lake. Eventually, they flew to the rocks just north.

No American Three-toed Woodpeckers were found at the Echo Lake Campgrounds. Many hummingbirds flew around the southeast corner of Echo Lake. We saw Broad-tailed, Rufous, and one male Calliope Hummingbird.

The northwest corner of Echo Lake added Green-tailed Towhees and Lincoln's Sparrows to our day list.

We continued south along the western side looking for Three-toed Woodpeckers; without success. A pair of Pine Grosbeak called noisily. A male Red-naped Sapsucker was drumming on one of the telephone poles.

As Genesee Mountain Park (Jefferson) is passed on the trip back to Denver, we gave it a try for the Three-toed Woodpecker reported on 8/5. A walk from the group picnic area to the top did not find one.

The male Williamson's Sapsucker was not around the picnic area today (during our stay). We found a male Williamson's Sapsucker at the curve just before reaching the top of the park. A female Williamson's Sapsucker was on the snag next to the flagpole.

Several Red Crossbills, Pine Siskins and Mountain Chickadees were also seen near the top. Three species of nuthatches (White-breasted, Red-breasted and Pygmy) were encountered during the hike back down to our car.

Quick Trip Through Cherry Creek Reservoir

August 9, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Just cannot stop myself from birding a little bit. Did chores most of the day, but had to drive through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) near sunset.

A male Black-chinned Hummingbird is still looking for a mate. He was perched atop a snag southeast of the ranger's office.

Did not see any uncommon gulls or terns of any sort.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Castlewood Canyon & Cherry Creek State Parks

August 8, 2010

Richard Stevens:

After an early dinner in Parker, Rebecca Kosten and I drove through Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas County). At least one Bobolink remains in the field south of the Winkler Ranch entrance (along Castlewood Canyon Road about a mile south of the State Park).

We also saw several Spotted Towhees, Western Scrub-Jays, a Common Yellowthroat and a Grasshopper Sparrow. No Northern Saw-whet Owls could be "awakened".

One of the male Black-chinned Hummingbirds continues to "look around" at the top of the trees east of the ranger's office at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).

The Lesser Black-backed Gull was again among many Ring-billed and California Gulls. The California Gull mantle's are in many "shades"; the Lesser Black-backed Gull is definite much darker. Do not forget the bright yellow bill with red spot!

American White Pelican and Gull numbers are increasing daily. No terns were around today.

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Weld and Adams Counties

August 7, 2010

Gary Weston:

"Richard Stevens and I returned very early this morning to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area in Weld County. Richard heard a strange call yesterday as we did on Thursday. We didn't hear it this morning and still are contemplating on it.

We did hear a Yellow-billed Cuckoo but couldn't tell if it was migrating as it stayed a long time west of pond 12. The bird quit calling before sunrise and was not located when we walked into the Wildlife Area. The Wildlife Area is day use only, so we had to wait outside of the parking lot for sunrise.

We also may have heard a Long-eared Owl way off in the distance, north of the western parking lot. It was very brief. The area is very noisy at night and picking out one sound is difficult.

Later we went to Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Adams County. No rare birds there. A Sora was heard at the Rod and Gun Club pond. A dark morph Red-tailed Hawk was west of the final approach to the bird blind."

Richard Stevens:

BTW, Rocky Mountain Arsenal hours until October 1st:
Tuesday through Sunday, 6:00 am to 6:00 pm.

Rebecca Kosten and I drove the DIA Owl Loop after an early dinner. Eurasian Collared-Doves are everywhere now so finding them is not difficult. We saw them at the Dairy Queen in Brighton, the Brighton Cemetery, at Picadilly Road and 152nd Avenue and at Tower Road and 56th Avenue.

Burrowing Owls were found:
Two at 0.3 miles north of Tower Road and 56th avenue (west of Tower)
Eleven at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue

No Short-eared Owls showed up this evening.

Banner Lakes, Aurora and Cherry Creek Reservoirs

August 6, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I returned to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld) about 3:00 AM this morning. Besides listening for migrating birds, I wanted to try out my new Astronomy App for my iphone. We recorded bird calls for about 2.5 hours and picked out a few constellations.

In the afternoon, Rebecca and I biked the path circling Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe). The Lesser Black-backed Gull was swimming in the center of the lake. We did not find the Forster's Terns, however the Common Tern was standing on one of the buoys at the scuba area. We did not find a Common Loon.

To get a little more exercise, I decided to make a quick second loop (another 8.7 miles). I was about to declare that the Common Loons had moved on, when a Common Loon surfaced along the west shore at mile marker 3.0.

From Aurora Reservoir, we drove over to Buckley Road (56th to 88th avenue). We biked north and as we turned to return to 56th avenue, we were caught in the downpour. The rain was not a problem; however, the lightning was "interesting".

After dinner, Rebecca and I drove through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). The Bellevue wetlands (east of the model airplane field) has high water, weeds and no shore. Six Snowy Egrets and an immature Black-crowned Night-Heron waited patiently for food at the Cottonwood Creek wetlands.

One of the male Black-chinned Hummingbirds was still perched on a snag east of the ranger's office.

At the eastern sand spit, many Pelicans (no Brown), three Killdeer and many gulls mostly Ring-billed and a dozen California Gulls or so. A Lesser Black-backed Gull landed among them. We saw it fly in with 3 dozen gulls (from the direction of Aurora Reservoir, which is about 9 miles east-southeast of Cherry Creek Reservoir). It might be safe to conclude it is the same bird we observed earlier.

Banner Lakes Wildlife Area, Weld County

August 5, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Gary Weston and I listened for migrating birds at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area this morning about 2 hours before sunrise. One of the birds we recorded was an Upland Sandpiper.

After it was legal to walk into the Wildlife Area, we walked down to pond 11 and back, then east to pond 13 and west to pond 12.

The Long-eared Owl was never found, but we did see many birds that probably nested at the Wildlife Area. Young birds included Robins, a Spotted Towhee, American Coots, a Sora, Song Sparrows, and Pied-billed Grebes.

A Nashville Warbler was found under the thick evergreens west of pond 7. A Townsend's Warbler was found high in the cottonwoods northwest of pond 12.

Colorado Eastern Plains

August 2-4, 2010

Richard Stevens:

August 2
Bryan Ehlmann and I headed northeast today; we wanted to checkout some of the birds reported last weekend at Prewitt Reservoir.

Our first stop was Jackson Reservoir (Morgan County). We did not find any uncommon gulls flying around. There was little exposed shore for migrating birds to stop off, rest, and eat.

We could not locate the resident Eastern Screech-Owl and no Long-eared Owls were found in the campgrounds.

A Long-billed Curlew was seen in the Wildlife Area at the northeast corner.

Our next stop was Brush Wildlife Area (Morgan). The resident pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers was found along the northern edge of the property. The resident Eastern Screech-Owl briefly responded to our recordings.

Our final stop was Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington Counties). At least one Short-billed Dowitcher was seen at the eastern end. The Laughing Gull was flying around the western end. Bryan heard two Upland Sandpipers flying over late in the day!

No uncommon warblers or vireos could be found below the dam or in the western woods. We also checked the extreme southeastern corner of the reservoir but found few birds.

Near dusk and after dark, we played Eastern Screech-Owl recordings at both ends of the property and got a response at the western end.

August 3

Our day started about an hour before sunrise (with the addition of Roger Danka). We listened for migrating birds at the north side of Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick). The resident Eastern Screech-Owls did not respond to our recordings this morning?

At nearby Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) we walked both the eastern and western sides of Highway 55. Birds were not as numerous (or active) as our previous trips.

An Eastern Screech-Owl called back to our recordings at Area 7 East. A male Northern Cardinal was in the same area (south of the Platte River and north of the access road).

A Yellow-billed Cuckoo responded to our recordings played south of Tamarack Pond. A Red-bellied Woodpecker was also in this area. A second Red-bellied Woodpecker called from Area 1 East.

A male Northern Cardinal and male Red-bellied Woodpecker were found in Area 1 West. We could not scare up a Bell's Vireo. Perhaps they have already moved on after finishing nesting?

Warblers and Vireos were not existent. Sparrows were scarce also. No Field and Cassin's Sparrows could be found. We did see 2 Lincoln's Sparrows and 3 Song Sparrows.

Back at Jumbo Reservoir, we hunted unsuccessfully for any Yellow-crowned Night-Herons (reported the past couple of years, none so far this year).

At least one Common Loon was still summering on the lake. No uncommon gulls or terns appeared to be around.

At dusk we searched the windbreaks around Little Jumbo Reservoir for Long-eared and Short-eared Owls; without success.

The resident Eastern Screech-Owls on Roger's Ranch were quite boisterous an hour after dark.

August 4

Bryan Ehlmann and I spent most of the day at Bonny Reservoir and Hale Ponds. We found fifth Eastern Screech-Owl of the trip northwest of the most eastern Hale Pond. No Common Poorwills were found around Hale Ponds this trip at dawn.

Two Dickcissels sang earlier in the morning in the field just west of the most western Hale Pond. A Red-bellied Woodpecker flew about the tall cottonwoods. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was along the Republican River about 400 yards west of the Kansas border.

We looked for some shorebird habitat on the south side of Bonny Reservoir but found few birds. A male Baltimore Oriole was still hanging around between the south side of Bonny and the access road (that is now walk in only). A few Wild Turkeys were also seen in the area.

The highlight of the day was definitely a Pine Warbler fluttering about the Hopper Ponds area.

We searched unsuccessfully for the Northern Cardinals at Foster's Grove Campgrounds. No Great Crested Flycatchers (found on previous trips) were found west of Foster's Grove to Highway 385. The resident Eastern Screech-Owl did not respond to our recordings.

A few Great-tailed Grackles were seen east of the McDonalds in Burlington. A Great Horned Owl was at the Burlington Cemetery.

We were both tired and decided to skip Flagler Reservoir (Kit Carson) this trip.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Arapahoe County Reservoirs

August, 1, 2010

Rebecca Kosten and I walked the east side of Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County) in the afternoon. A storm rolled in which cut our birding short.

We did see one Common Loon in the cove at mile marker 3.5. We also identified a Common Tern and several Forster's Terns in the cove at mile marker 4.5.

We managed to get back to our car before the rainstorm.

No Black-chinned Hummingbirds were found east of the ranger's office at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).

Spruce Creek Trail, Summit County

July 30-31, 2010

Richard Stevens:

July 30

Bryan Ehlmann, Gary Weston and I hiked up Spruce Creek Trail from the lower parking area (loosely defined "parking area"). This hike is one of my favorite in Colorado. After going through thick forest for 2 miles, there is an upper parking area. After another 2 miles, the steep trail opens to a box canyon. Along the way, you pass waterfalls and several Mohawk Lakes. The end is a box canyon is formed by Pacific Peak, Crystal Peak, and Mount Helen.

Pacific Peak at the southwest corner is just 6 feet short of a 14,000 foot mountain. I have climbed all three of the mountains over the years (and Pacific Peak twice). Although Pacific Peak is not a 14,000 foot mountain, it is as difficult as at less 50 of the 54 14ers in Colorado.

We split up several times during our trek (kept in contact by radios) in order to cover more ground.

An American Three-toed Woodpecker was found along the trail at 0.2 miles south of the lower parking area. Another American Three-toed Woodpecker was found 80 yards east of the trail and 0.8 miles south of the lower parking area.

A Northern Pygmy-Owl was heard from the trail at 0.2 miles south of the upper parking area.

We detoured along an old pack trail and heard a second Northern Pygmy-Owl 0.8 miles from the Spruce Creek Trail.

July 31

We camped about a mile up the pack trail and started hiking again about an hour before sunrise. A Flammulated Owl responded to our recordings at 0.4 miles south of camp (at 1.4 miles up the eastern trail).

After getting some sleep at the upper Mohawk Lake camp, we climbed the lower levels of the three mountains in search of Dusky Grouse. Unfortunately, none could be found.

After dark, we had a Boreal Owl respond to our recordings played in the extreme southeast corner of the box canyon.

Many other mountain species were recorded over the two days. These included Cordilleran Flycatchers, Hammond's Flycatchers, Dusky Flycatcher, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Wilson's Warblers, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Hermit Thrushes, Swainson's Thrushes, and a Veery.

More Summit County Owling

July 29, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Bryan and I drove up to Hooser Pass (Summit/Park Counties) to search for White-tailed Ptarmigan. No ptarmigan were found but 2 Brown-capped Rosy Finch flew over on several occasions.

We then drove up Boreas Pass (Summit/Park Counties) to do some owling. While watching a Dusky Grouse near the old water tank, Bryan saw 4 Brown-capped Rosy Finches fly over. At the tunnel of Aspens, we stopped and found a Red-naped Sapsucker and Williamson's Sapsucker (both males).

Owls heard tonight included a Boreal Owl, Flammulated Owl and 2 Northern Pygmy-Owls. Where are the Northern Saw-whet Owls? We have not been able to locate any in Summit County.