Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge

September 30, 2010

Richard Stevens:

After leaving Rocky Mountain Arsenal, I remembered that today was the last day that Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge (Jefferson County) is open for the year. What the heck, who needs sleep?

Two Ponds at 72.2 acres, has to be the smallest National Wildlife Refuge in the country. In addition, it is located in the middle of a busy city. Now and then, an interesting bird does show up there. The western side of the refuge is open year round. Excess is only along the canal, which is lined with tall cottonwoods. However, the trees around the ponds are most productive (and closed to the public from October 1st to April 30th).

When I got to the entrance, a warbler was observed moving above in the tall trees. It took 20 minutes to see it well enough to determine it was a Townsend's Warbler and not a Blackburnian Warbler.

Two Common Yellowthroats were in the cattails around the ponds. I heard a possible Northern Waterthrush however was never able to confirm with a sighting. An unidentified "empidonax" flycatcher was at the southwest corner.

A vireo around the southwestern pond also took a good 30 minutes to identify. It turned out to be a Cassin's Vireo. For the most part, the rest of my hike was uneventful.

On the way home, I stopped off at Bluff Lake Nature Area (Denver County). A Western Wood-pewee was at the northwest corner. A Virginia Rail called from the cattails. Mosquitoes were most prominent.

Burrowing Owls can still be found along the DIA Owl Loop (3.4 miles east of Tower & 96th avenue, 128th avenue & Powhaton, Picadilly Road at 0.5 miles south of 128th avenue). No Short-eared Owls were found tonight.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal

September 30, 2010

Jerry Petrosky's email to "cobirders"

I met Rich Stevens at 6:00 AM at the entrance to Rocky Mountain Arsenal. A Prairie Falcon stopped briefly on the tall metal electric poles across from the Governor's Row.

[At 6:08 am, we saw a Long-eared Owl flying over Governor's Row. No Common Poorwills called this morning, most likely the two heard on 9/25, we just migrating through.]

We walked to the Rod and Gun Club Bird blind before sunset. Hundreds of sparrows were in the grass between the bird blind and the locust grove to the west. Included were Song, Lark. White-crowned, 9 Clay-colored, 19 Brewer's and 1 or 2 Savannah.

A lone Townsend's Warbler was above the bird blind. Eleven Wilson's Warblers and a Warbling Vireo were along the eastern side of the first New Mexico Locust grove east of the bird blind trail.

We then walked to Lower Derby Lake. One hundred and three Chipping Sparrows were in the field along Peoria Avenue, south of 6th avenue.

Three Lincoln's Sparrows and a Marsh Wren were at the south side of the most southeastern arm of Lake Ladora.

I was on schedule for work until we found a large flock of birds along the canal below Lower Derby Lake. Sixteen White-crowned Sparrows, one Field Sparrow and a late migrating Sage Thrasher were in the large brush pile south of the photography blind.

The Field Sparrow flew south of the canal and joined up with a loose flock of birds that included 3 Orange-crowned Warblers, 51 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 2 Ruby-crowned Kinglets, 1 MacGillivray's Warbler, 5 Wilson's Warblers and a Cassin's Vireo.

Another Townsend's Warbler was along the north side of the most southwestern arm of Lake Ladora.

At the famous "bird bush" along the east side of Ladora: 17 White-crowned Sparrows, 1 Lincoln's Sparrow, 2 Common Yellowthroats and a Green-tailed Towhee.

Other birds along the trip: 2 House Wrens, 7 Rock Wrens, 1 unidentified thrush, 1 unidentified vireo (Plumbeous or Cassin's) and a dark morph Red-tailed Hawk.

Search for American Three-toed Woodpeckers

September 28 & 29, 2010

Richard Stevens:

September 28th

A couple of years ago, I read an interesting article on the foraging techniques of male and female Three-toed Woodpeckers. Since then I have recording their techniques (height from ground, variation during year, difference in sexes) for an article for October's "Colorado Field Notes".

I met up with Bryan & Sue Ehlmann and Gary Weston in Granby and we spent the next two days "hunting" for American Three-toed Woodpeckers.

While Sue and I wandered around Rabbit Ears Pass (Grand and Routt Counties) most of the day, Bryan & Gary went south to Buffalo Park, Gore Pass and Grand Lake.

Their group had more success than ours did. They found 15 American Three-toed Woodpeckers while we only had 4. It took us over an hour following one woodpecker before we determined its sex.

After dusk, Sue and I found a Boreal Owl in the Colorado State Forest (up Ruby Jewel Road).

September 29

Today was much better for our group. Bryan and Gary only found 3 American Three-toed Woodpeckers, while Sue and I had 17 birds! Buffalo Pass was a gold mine for woodpeckers. What a beautiful fall day it was. Winds were calm to mild and temperatures in the 50s. The Aspens are starting to turn gold; it was quite a pleasure to hike around near the Continental Divide.

Besides the Three-toed Woodpeckers Sue and I observed 2 White-winged Crossbills flying around about 3.0 miles west of the Buffalo Pass summit.

Later we found out that Bryan and Gary had also found a White-winged Crossbill along Forest Road 550 (at approximately 1.2 miles east of Routt CR 129).

While Bryan and Sue are staying up there a few more days, I had to get Gary back to Denver. We took the long way home (by way of Pennock Pass) where I managed to show Gary a Flammulated Owl!

Instead of getting some sleep, I met Jerry Petrosky at Rocky Mountain Arsenal when they opened at 6:00 am.

Five Owl Night

September 27, 2010

Richard Stevens:

I was to meet Scott Sever at Pinewood Springs at sunset to watch his owl banding. The traffic around Denver is such that one has to leave the metro area before 3:00 pm or be stuck in it for hours. Therefore, I wandered around Boulder County most of the morning and afternoon.

On the way northwest, I drove the DIA Owl Loop. At least 7 Burrowing Owls are still in the area. Many Swainson's Hawks remain also; both should be leaving soon.

A Common Tern was seen flying around St. Vrain State Park (a sliver of Weld County is between Boulder County and I25). At nearby Union Reservoir (Weld), another Common Tern and the Sabine's Gull were still there. Peter Plage reported both on 9/25.

I stopped by McIntosh Lake (Boulder) to see if I could get a better photo of the Pacific Loon. It was again too far out for much of a shot.

A walk around Pella Crossing Park (Boulder) did not find any uncommon birds. Both Dickcissels and Bobolinks historically have departed by the first week of August, gave it a try anyway.

No American Dippers were found at Meadow Park in Lyons. I walked the canal hoping to find a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker or anything uncommon; without success.

Finally, at sunset, I met up to Scott, Mary & John Thompson at Pinewood Springs. In three hours, one Northern Saw-whet Owl was caught in the three mist nets that Scott set up. As we were taking down the nets at 10:00 PM (locals complain about the noise and force Scott to quit at that time), I saw a Northern Saw-whet Owl perched in a tree near one of the nets. I prefer to count him instead of the one caught in the net!

Things picked up after I left Pinewood Springs. Eventually, I would have a five owl night!

Two Long-eared Owls were found at a private ranch in Boulder County.

Many stops were made along Pennock Pass Road (Larimer County Road 44H) and two Flammulated Owls were found (one each). While I was trying to determine a "last date" for Flammulated Owls on Pennock Pass, my main goal was to measure the height of the three successful nesting trees that I know (actually height of nesting holes from ground).

At Cameron Pass, I heard Boreal Owls at two of the three stops. With the Great Horned Owl at Meadow Park, that was my five owl night!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Return to Rocky Mountain Arsenal & Barr Lake

September 26, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Jerry Petrosky joined me this morning as I returned to Rocky Mountain Arsenal. The Gray Vireos reported yesterday would be a new Adams County species for Jerry and me. Unfortunately, they were not found in our 4 hour search.

Weather was the opposite of yesterday. Winds yesterday morning before sunrise were 8+ mph until about 10:00 am when they died down. Today it was calm until 10:00am when winds picked up.

We started at 7:00 am (an hour later than my visit yesterday). I did not repeat the whole circuit from yesterday, but concentrated on the south side of Lake Ladora and the Rod & Gun Club trailhead.

No Yellow-rumped Warblers were found today. Wilson's Warbler count ended up at 57 with 29 of those at the New Mexico Locust grove at the R&G Club trailhead. The Cassin's Vireo was as yesterday in the tall cottonwood tree surrounded by the locust tree grove.

Below the Lower Derby Lake dam, a Plumbeous Vireo was again fluttering about at 40 yards west of the road.

A dozen Wilson's Warblers were in the trees at 6th avenue and Peoria (southwest corner of Lower Derby Lake). A pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers and 2 Orange-crowned Warblers were in the same trees.

A MacGillivray's Warbler was under the tall cottonwood next to 6th avenue (red road post under it). Three House Wrens were seen on the way back to the southwest corner of Lake Ladora. A Townsend's Warbler was at this corner as well as a calling Virginia Rail.

Along the eastern side of Lake Ladora, there is a group of bushes about 6 feet tall and 14 feet long. This group is always a good place to find birds. Today there were 9 White-crowned Sparrows, 3 Lincoln's Sparrows, 2 Common Yellowthroats and a Northern Waterthrush in the bushes. The Northern Waterthrush flew down to the cattails about 10 feet south as we were leaving.

Other birds encountered during our 3.4 mile hike included: 2 Rock Wrens, 1 adult yellow shafted Northern Flicker, a male and female Hairy Woodpecker, 6 additional Orange-crowned Warblers, a Western Wood-pewee (6th & Peoria), and 2 Mountain Bluebirds.

Next, I hiked Buckley Road north from 56th avenue to about a mile north (where Jacob Washburn reported a Cassin's Vireo on Friday). The Cassin's Vireo was not found, but a Broad-winged Hawk stood on a telephone pole about 50 yards north of the vireo site.

On the way home I again stopped at Barr Lake. A walk from the boat ramp (mm 7.6) to the Niedrach footbridge (mm 9.0) did not find any vireos. Two Townsend's Warblers were just north of the banding station. Also observed were a Western Wood-pewee and an unidentified "Empidonax" flycatcher (not Dusky or Gray).

Burrowing Owls still at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue. Another two were along Picadilly Road at 0.5 miles south of 128th avenue. I did not check the other occupied locations.

Barr Lake Search for Magnolia Warbler & Plumbeous Vireo

September 25, 2010

Richard Stevens:

After spending the morning at Rocky Mountain Arsenal, I headed over to Barr Lake (Adams). Target birds were the Magnolia Warbler and Philadelphia Vireo reported yesterday.

At Barr Lake I hiked from the boat ramp (mile marker 7.6) east and north to below the dam (mm 6.5) and back. No warblers of any kind were found. An identified "Empidonax" flycatcher hawked insects at mile marker 6.8. A thrush took 20 minutes to see well enough to ID as a Hermit Thrush.

Returning to the boat ramp, I then hiked to the banding area (mm 8.7) and back. Again, no warblers were found in the next hour. I found a vireo at mile marker 8.2 (just south of the Pioneer trail); however, it turned out to be a Cassin's Vireo.

The Philadelphia Vireo was never found as I wandered around the banding area.

Several Burrowing Owls were observed at the 96th avenue site on my way home.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Great Morning at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

September 25, 2010

Gary Weston: Richard Stevens and I enjoyed a great morning of birding at Rocky Mountain Arsenal in Adams County. We arrived at 6:00 AM, the gates opened 4 minutes late. While walking the road along the Old Governor's Row and playing a recording, a Long eared Owl called back! Before sunrise, two additional Long eared Owls were found at different Mexican Locust groves. At Governor's Row, two Common Poorwill called. One was 10 feet from the road and we were able to see it with a .99 cent flashlight from Walmart.

In order to get the sun at our backs, we hiked to the Rod and Gun Club Pond before sunrise, not quite making it, but close. A detour to the Havana Ponds found a Lesser Yellowlegs, 19 Killdeer and many ducks.

On the way to the R&G Club pond every locust grove was buzzing with birds. In total we had 83 Wilson's Warblers spread over 4 groves. A Plumbeous Vireo w/flock 4 Black capped Chickadees, 2 Orange crowned Warblers, Wilson's Warblers and a House Wren was 100 feet west of the R&G Club trailhead.

The first grove east of the trailhead, flock in Locust included: 7 Warbling Vireos, Wilson's Warblers, 5 Clay colored Sparrows, 2 Brewer's Sparrows, 2 Orange crowned Warblers, Chipping Sparrows and Lark Sparrows. A Cassin's Vireo was in the tall cottonwoods at the north end of the grove.

Second grove east of trailhead (southern fork): all above sparrows, Wilson's Warblers, Cassin's Vireo and Orange crowned Warbler.

Trees over and around R&G Club Bird Blind: included a Plumbeous Vireo.

On the way back out of the Bird Blind Trail we sat on the bench at the fork: 27 Yellow rumped Warblers and 1 Palm Warbler.

Two House Wrens and three Rock Wrens seen on the way to Lower Derby Lake.

Trees below L. Derby Lake included a Plumbeous Vireo. Along the outlet canal at 400 yards west of dam, Cassin's Vireo and Brown Thrasher.

Trees just west of where Lake Ladora Trail goes through tree line: Plumbeous Vireo with 71 Yellow rumped Warblers.

Trees at northeast corner of northern most arm: 39 Yellow rumped Warblers, 1 Cassin's Vireo. Also two male and a female yellow shafted race of Northern Flicker. First Downy Woodpeckers (pair) also. We had seen 5 Hairy Woodpeckers.

Eleven Rock Wrens and four Racoons along Lake Ladora dam.

Mountain Birding

September 23 to 25, 2010

Hello Gary,

September 23
Early Thursday, Bryan & Sue Ehlmann, Rebecca Kosten, and I drove through Rocky Mountain National Park (Larimer). Winters on the way, or at least snowstorms that will close down Trail Ridge Road. It was probably our last visit of the year.

We first visited Medicine Bow Curve west of the Trading Post. Winds were 8+ mph with gusts to 14 mph; temperatures in the 40s. Luck was with us, Bryan noticed two White-tailed Ptarmigan about 10 yards below the trail (at 300 yards north of the pullover). A few White-crowned Sparrows and what we assumed were Timberline Brewer's Sparrows sang from the tops of the willows. We believe they will be leaving for lower elevations soon (or do they stay?, I will have to look into that).

Not much was flying around behind the Trading Post and we backtracked to the Lava Cliffs pullover. A pair of Brown-capped Rosy Finches was flying around here. At least 4 Mountain Bluebirds also braved the cold and wind.

Our two car caravan continued west to Granby. Several stops to search for American Three-toed Woodpeckers were not successful. We scoped both Shadow Mountain and Lake Granby only briefly and found nothing uncommon to report.

At Hwy 40 and Hwy 125, we turned north. A few Common Goldeneyes and at least one Barrow's Goldeneye were on Windy Gap Reservoir. California Gulls were the most numerous Gulls. A few American White Pelicans were also there.

Nothing unusual was found at Owl Mountain Wildlife Area (Jackson County). A few California Gulls were at Walden Reservoir. No Greater Sage-Grouse showed up at the CR 26 leks near sunset.

We dropped the girls off at Gould and Bryan and I wandered the Colorado State Forest after dark until about 5:00 am.

September 24
Walking around in Bear Country after dark is interesting (for some reason, it is comforting to have another person along? Witness if a bear gets me or another choice of victim if we run across a bear? I choose the first one, but it is false security). We heard several Elk (their breathing is quite loud). At one point, I believe we did hear a bear. Their breathing is different from elk, slower and deeper. I also think one can feel the ground as they walk; this has to be ridiculous or not? In any case, we did not see it.

Eventually we walked up several of the side roads off Michigan Creek Road in the Colorado State Forest. Our most successful trek was a mile walk up Ruby Jewel Road. Two Boreal Owls called around 4:00 am (about 3/4 mile up the road). Unless one is in a jeep, driving more than 1/2 mile up this road is suicide for a car, one that you care about anyway).

After a few hours sleep, we all walked around Gould and then traveled to the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center. A few hummingbirds are still around, but they are thinning out quite a bit.

Bryan heard and then found a Three-toed Woodpecker at the Visitor's Center. A few Gray Jays, Wilson's Warblers, Pine Siskins, Mountain Chickadees and hummingbirds were also there.

Bryan and Sue continued to Steamboat Springs for a few days celebration (wedding anniversary). While we headed back to Denver. Of course, I could not drive all that way without a possibly of hearing some owls. Our route detoured over Pennock Pass (Larimer) to Loveland. I did not locate any Flammulated Owls or Common Poorwills this evening (morning).

I dropped Rebecca off and met you at Rocky Mountain Arsenal on Saturday morning.

Richard (Stevens)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Star Gazing and Owls

September 22 into 23, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I drove out to the DIA Owl Loop to try out the new Astronomy app on her ipad. Great for pointing out constellations and naming the stars.

Along the way we found a Short-eared Owl on a highway sign just east of 114th and 112th avenues (weird, they actually intersect. Adams County).

Later we continued driving around and found a second Short-eared Owl on private property (Denver County). We stopped at a friend's home and saw a Barn Owl fly out of his windbreak (Adams).

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adams County: Barr Lake & DIA Owl Loop

September 22, 2010

Richard Stevens:

What a beautiful fall day in Colorado. Winds were calm to mild all morning. Temperatures started out in the low 50s and stayed in the 70s well past noon.

At civil twilight (6:00 am, when they open), I started by walking the main road from the Visitor's Center to the old governor's row at Rocky Mountain Arsenal. Primarily listening for owls, I would have enjoyed a sighting (did not happen). No owls were heard today in that area. In the far distance, a Great Horned Owl called from somewhere around the Visitor's Center.

I drove the DIA Owl Loop on the way to Barr Lake (Adams). Two Burrowing Owls were along Picadilly Road (between 128th and 120th avenues).

At Barr Lake, I walked the main road/path from mile marker 0.0 to 0.5, then returned and went north to the boat ramp, mm 7.8. I returned to my car by way of the shoreline.

The area inside the Niedrach Boardwalk loop was quite birdy. Forty or so birds kept me busy trying to identify them all. The best were a Brown Thrasher, 2 Lincoln's Sparrows and 2 House Wrens. Thirty or so Wilson's Warblers were joined by an Orange-crowned Warbler.

Back in the northern direction, the woods 0.1 mile north of the banding station was also quite birdy. At mile marker 8.6, a flock of birds included a Cassin's Vireo, 11 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 2 Orange-crowned Warblers, a non-male Blue Grosbeak, a first year Black-headed Grosbeak, 4 Wilson's Warblers, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Chipping Sparrows.

Continuing north, another loose flock of birds at mm 8.3 included 17 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 2 Orange-crowned Warblers, 9 Wilson's Warblers, and a Townsend's Warbler.

Shorebirds were few, 6 Baird's Sandpipers, 1 Sanderling and a Willet (west of the point jutting into the lake from the banding station. I was a few days or weeks late for shorebirds; the mud was covered with little shorebird footprints.

Ourside the park, I looked for Great-tailed Grackles at the feedlot just south of the Picadilly Tree Nursery (152nd avenue and Picadilly Road). None were around today, however more Eurasian Collared-Doves then one would want to see were there (60+, I did not bother to get an exact count).

On the way to lunch, I again drove the DIA Owl Loop. Two Burrowing Owls were at the east side of the power plant at 128th avenue and Powhaton. Another two Burrowing Owls were at the site 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue; with a third pair at the site 0.3 miles north of Tower Road and 56th avenue.

At the Power Plant, a flock of 9 Clay-colored Sparrows walked along the near fence line. Hundreds of Vesper Sparrows came out of the field covered in sunflowers, east of Powhaton and south of 128th avenue. I also identified a dozen Brewer's Sparrows and one or two McCown's Longspurs (along 128th avenue at 0.5 miles east of Picadilly Road).

When I turned the corner at Trussville Road and 114th avenue, 37 Swainson's Hawks stood on the fence around the Airport Gas Tanks. Quite a sight, I soon saw why. Another 112+ Swainson's Hawks were in the field, east of Trussville, between 112th and 109th avenues! A few more were scattered along the Owl Loop.

At the prairie dog village, 3.4 miles east of Tower and 96th, the two Burrowing Owls were maybe "brave". Two Swainson's Hawks, three Red-tailed Hawks and a Ferruginous Hawk stoop around them.

Arapahoe County (The rest of my long day of birding)

September 21, 2010

Richard Stevens:

The rest of my exciting long day of birding on Tuesday:

The rest of my day was not quite as exciting but still enjoyable. I drove through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) and scoped the lake from several areas. The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull and a Sabine's Gull were swimming in the middle of the lake (viewed from the north end of the Lake Loop).

I walked the Lake Loop over to the Mountain Loop and back. A Hermit Thrush was deep in the thickets west of the Lake Loop. There was no sign of the Palm Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers and Black-capped Chickadees seen late last week.

No Green Herons were encountered as I circled the Cottonwood Creek wetlands pond and walked over to the Bellevue wetlands. I also walked from the 12 mile group picnic area to the end of the Beaver Pond. A Virginia Rail called at the south end of the pond.

I searched around the Ranger's Office just to see if any hummingbirds were still lingering around; none was.

Few birds were on the southeast sand spit. A Great Blue Heron walked the spit. Several dozen American White Pelicans swam offshore (an angler was standing on the point).

Few birds moved around the Smoky Hill Group Picnic area. Only a couple of birds were seen in the grove of trees west of the swim beach. However, one was a "good one". A Tennessee Warbler fluttered about!

A steered toward home, but went by Aurora Reservoir on the way. Scoping the lake from the swim beach and the eastern end of the dam found only common gulls and a single Common Loon off in the southeast corner.

A quick bite of food and I timed the trip to pass the Great Plains Park at dusk. My first pass found nothing, but about 10 minutes after sunset, the Burrowing Owl was perched on the fence on the south side of East Jewell Avenue (directly across from the dog park area on the north side of Jewell).

Sprague's Pipit in Douglas County!!!

September 21, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I enjoyed a birdy day at Hidden Mesa Open Space (see his report below).

After running into a flock of 9 Clay-colored Sparrows at the first bushes south of the parking area, Bryan and I encountered a strange pipit. We did everything we could to turn it into an American Pipit. However, it was not; it was a Sprague's Pipit!

The big black eye with white eye ring stood out on the pale face. We noted the brownish cheek with its darker outline. Its back was what we noticed first. The white and brown streaks giving it the "scaly look".

The head was streaked dark and light brown. The bill was pale with the top of the upper mandible blackish. The thin pointed bill was not that like a blunt bill of a Vesper Sparrow.

The folded primaries were blackish with pale cream edges. The one time it flew, it showed much white on the outer tail feathers. The bird appeared reluctant to fly in the cold morning air. We watched it from not too close and it walked around the short grass field. Only stopping when there was a clump of taller grasses.

It had bold whitish wingbars. Its breast was streaked (easy to see, but whether more strong than an adult, we did not determine). Its flanks however were not streaked as expected on an American Pipit. The legs were pale. The extreme scaly back and bold wingbars indicated to us a juvenile Sprague's Pipit.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Douglas County Birds

Hello birders,

Richard Stevens and I had a great morning along Cherry Creek. At civil twilight, 6:26 AM, we walked to the Cherry Creek footbridge at Hidden Mesa Open Space.

Our early morning rising was rewarded 15 minutes later with seven Black billed Magpies chasing a Long eared Owl. The owl kept changing directions but was surrounded and outnumbered by the magpies. It took a good 5 minutes for the owl to escape. We stood at the west side of the footbridge; the activity took place 100 yards south.

Bird activity was greater than I have seen in years. We stood and counted birds in a 10 yard section of Cherry Creek, at the eastern end of the footbridge.

29 Black capped Chickadees
37 Wilson's Warblers
4 Blue gray Gnatcatchers
1 Gray Catbird
2 White crowned Sparrows
1 White throated Sparrow (good looks at its throat for 3-4 minutes from 12 feet.
4 Song Sparrows
4 Orange crowned Warblers
2 White breasted Nuthatches
1 Red breasted Nuthatch

Later at the horse corral/picnic area about 60 yards southeast of the footbridge:
2 Orange crowned Warblers
7 Yellow rumped Warbler
1 Palm Warbler (brown cap and pumping tail)
1 Cassin's Vireo (10 yards downstream of picnic area)
2 Blue Jays

Field between the footbridge and parking lot
2 McCown's Longspurs
1 Lark Bunting1 pipit that gave us great pause; photos to be examined later.

At East Bank Park, formerly Parker Regional Park
1 Cassin's Vireo at 200 yards southwest of the Cherry Creek footbridge

Below southwest corner of 20 Mile Pond next to Bar CCC Park
9 Yellow rumped Warblers
2 Orange crowned Warblers
3 Wilson's Warblers
1 Yellow Warbler
Virginia Rail in Marsh (first county bird, probably for both of us)

Good birding!

Directions to birding spots on CoBus website:

Monday, September 20, 2010

Return to Castlewood Canyon Road

September 20, 2010

Richard Stevens:

We could not sleep last night and looked for a place to get outside and bird. I enjoyed walking around Castlewood Canyon Road last week and returned this morning. Winds were mild; temperatures were in the low 50s.

We stopped every 0.2 miles along Castlewood Canyon Road between highway 86 and Lake Gulch Road. First listening for owls, then playing recordings.

Birds were quite noisy from 4:00am to civil twilight 6:26am. I was able to recognize several Spotted Towhees, House Finches, a Common Yellowthroat, a Song Sparrow and 2 Vesper Sparrows. A surprise "hearing" was a Cordilleran Flycatcher singing just before civil twilight.

Our final owl count was 8 Great Horned Owls and 2 Northern Saw-whet Owls. Only several of the Great Horned Owls were actually seen.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Northeastern Colorado

September 19, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann, Ray Simmons, Jacob Washburn and I birded in northeastern Colorado today. It was hot and mosquitoes were abundant. The day was not birdy and we had to work to find the few interesting birds.

At Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington), Jacob and I were dropped at the west end while Bryan and Ray started at the eastern end.

Jacob and I found a Blackpoll Warbler at the west end. We continued east and found a Townsend's Warbler and Palm Warbler west of the cove at the main camping area. The resident Eastern Screech-Owl could not be coaxed out into the warm sunshine.

Bryan and Ray found an Olive-sided Flycatcher at the east end. Later they saw a Cassin's Vireo and Plumbeous Vireo below the dam. They also did not succeed in enticing the "resident below the dam" Eastern Screech-Owl out.

At Brush Wildlife Area (Morgan), we found a male Red-bellied Woodpecker. Again failing to tempt a resident Eastern Screech-Owl out.

Our final stop was Jackson Reservoir (Morgan) where Ray and I were dropped off at the southeast corner while Jacob and Bryan started at the northwestern Campgrounds.

Just to add a fourth missed Eastern Screech-Owl to our day, we tried recordings below the dam (near the manager's residence); without success. A Blackburnian Warbler was a consolation prize for Ray and me.

Meanwhile, Bryan and Jacob found a Townsend's Warbler or two in the tall cottonwoods along the western shore (east of the north end of the Campgrounds).

They found a vireo that evaded them in the grove of trees at the northwest corner parking area for the boat ramp. After a good 40 minutes, they identified a Cassin's Vireo.

Best bird of the area was a Palm Warbler with 7 Yellow-rumped Warblers in the cottonwoods south of the boat ramp.

No Long-eared Owls were found by any of us. Several Great Horned Owls called near dusk. An Eastern Screech-Owl (finally) called after sunset (west side).

We stopped at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld) and played owl recordings. No response this evening.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Rocky Mountain Arsenal & DIA Owl Loop

September 18, 2010

Richard Stevens:

After owling most of the night in Estes Park, I met Jerry Petrosky at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County). I arrived a little after sunrise. Jerry had already looked for owls; without success.

We then walked the Lake Ladora loop and St. Mary Lake loop.

A Townsend's Warbler was still in the trees along the outlet canal (below Lower Derby Lake dam). A Cassin's Vireo was in the trees where the path "goes through the trees" (also below the dam).

Sparrow count was down from yesterday. We still saw 6 species (Lincoln's, Song, White-crowned, Lark, Chipping, Brewer's) however numbers were lower.

After a few hours sleep and lunch, Rebecca and I biked Buckley Road between 56th & 88th avenues. Only 2 Burrowing Owls were found today.

However, they are still there; as were 5 at the prairie dog village at 3.4 miles east of 96th avenue and Tower Road. Another pair was 0.3 miles north of Tower Road and 56th avenue (west side of road). It will not be too many weeks before the Burrowing Owls head south for the winter.

Another Rocky Mountain Arsenal Visit

September 17, 2010

Richard Stevens:

After owling all night, Jacob Washburn and I birded Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County). Again, no owls were found before sunrise; however, I still believe there are owls at the old Governor's Row (it just has to be dark to get them to respond to recordings).

Jacob and I hiked the 6 mile loop of Lake Ladora, Rod & Gun Club Pond and Havana Ponds. Sparrows were again quite numerous. We observed 8 species (Chipping, Song, Vesper, Lark, Brewer's, White-crowned, 2 Lincoln's and 1 Clay-colored). Total number was 182 sparrows.

We found a Townsend's Warbler along the canal below the Lower Derby Lake dam. A Plumbeous Vireo was in the trees below the dam, but along the road running north to south.

Most of the rest of the hike was uneventful.

After a few hours sleep, I was deciding on a place to bird for a couple of hours. I chose Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) and as I drove over there, got a text message about a Palm Warbler at the Lake Loop.

Just after I arrived, Jerry Petrosky also arrived. We walked the tree line along the east side of the Lake Loop. The Palm Warbler was discovered with 2 Yellow-rumped Warblers in the trees at the water's edge. This was directly east of the north end of the 2nd parking area north of the main road (east Lake Loop). There is a dirt path leading to the water; the warblers were just south of that path.

Later, Jerry and I walked the west side of the Lake Loop over to the Mountain Loop and back. A Townsend's Warbler was just west of the Mountain Loop. An unidentified thrush skulked in the underbrush. Many mosquitoes eventually persuaded us to abandon more than a 15 minute search to id the thrush.

At the Smoky Hill Group Picnic area, we found a Cassin's Vireo in the tall trees south of the Pavilion. Thirty plus Chipping Sparrows lingering around on the ground. Not much else, the 200+ gulls at the swim beach were Ring-billed Gull and a less number of California Gulls.

We walked around the trees west of the swim beach and found another Townsend's Warbler, 2 Song Sparrows and a Lincoln's Sparrow. A small flock of 7 Black-capped Chickadees fluttered about the area also.

Owling the Last Two Nights

September 16 & 17, 2010

Done some owling the past two nights. It was pretty good considering the owls are starting to migrate.

Thursday night Amy Davenport, Bryan and Sue Ehlmann, Richard Stevens and I hiked up Mesa South Trail and Shadow Canyon. We ended up with four species, Eastern Screech-Owl, Northern Pygmy-Owls, Northern Saw-whet Owl and Flammulated Owl. While we only saw the Saw-whet Owl and Eastern Screech-Owl, it was still great.

Last night Bryan Ehlmann, Richard Stevens, Ray Simmons and I went up to Estes Park and hiked the area east of the YMCA of the Rockies, Estes Park Campgrounds and Cow Creek. This time we only had three species but Northern Pygmy-Owls at three locations, seen at two of them, one Northern Saw-whet Owl and one or two Flammulated Owls.

Cool time!

Jacob Washburn
Denver, CO

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Aurora Reservoir & Banner Lakes

September 15, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Before sunrise (6:00 am is opening time) Jacob Washburn, Amy Davenport and I listened for owls at Rocky Mountain Arsenal; unfortunately none came out this morning.

We then made the 6 mile loop around Lake Ladora, detouring to the Rod & Gun Club Bird Blind and Havana Ponds. Birds other than sparrows were scarce today (winds were quite strong which did not help).

A Plumbeous Vireo was in the trees over the R&G Club bird blind. Sparrows included: Chipping, Vesper, Lark, Lincoln's, Brewers, White-crowned and Song. A Marsh Wren was heard in the cattails at the southeast corner of Ladora.

Two Warbling Vireos one of which was quite yellow were found in the tree line below the Lower Derby Lake dam. Their lores were white not black as in a Philadelphia Vireo. As has been discussed recently on the Colorado listserves, the vireos can show much yellow in fall.

Yesterday afternoon, Rebecca Kosten and I joined Bill and Angel Cryder for a bike ride around Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County). We entered the park from the south side, near mile marker 1.0 (be sure to check the hours the park is open if entering such, they will lock the gates on you if you miss the closing time and it's a long trip back around as I found out one day).

Several dozen Double-crested Cormorants and 19 Pied-billed Grebes were in the cove with the rookery.

There were no gulls at their usual spot off the point at mile marker 2.0. A lone Common Loon was swimming in the cove at mm 3.0. There definitely were fewer birds on the water than our last visit.

When we arrived at the swim beach (7.8 miles later), we scoped 350+ gulls only to find California and Ring-billed Gulls.

We noticed at the point off mm 1.0, many gulls, one of which was quite dark. We scoped the dark one to find an adult alternate plumage Lesser Black-backed Gull. Perhaps the one that has been summering between Cherry Creek Reservoir and here? After about 15 minutes, the Lesser Black-backed Gull took off and disappeared to the west. We hoped someone would report it at Cherry Creek Reservoir (about 9 miles west).

We rode back to mm 1.5 and then walked the 250 yards to the point. Another 300+ California and Ring-billed Gulls were found.

Rebecca and I said goodbye to Bill and Angel and headed to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area. Although winds were measured at 14+ mph, it was too nice a day to go home.

At Banner Lakes, we walked down to pond 10 and back. Best birds were 2 Townsend's Warblers in the windbreak west of pond 7. A Plumbeous Vireo was in the windbreak west of pond 8. We had to stay quite long to get enough looks to make sure it was only a Plumbeous Vireo.

We scoped the area after sunset, no owls were found this evening.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Missed Long-tailed Jaeger at Cherry Creek Reservoir

September 14, 2010

Richard Stevens:

This afternoon, Rebecca Kosten and I scoped Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) for about 2.5 hours. While we cannot prove a negative, we wanted to see if the Long-tailed Jaeger was still at the reservoir.

It was never found. We did see at least 3 Sabine's Gulls swimming below the dam. In the middle of the western end of the lake, we counted at least 8, possibly 10+ Black Terns. A possible Common Tern was also out there, however a Forster's Tern could not be ruled out.

As has been the case, many Pelicans were on the southeastern sand spit. A few killdeer were the only shorebirds we could find. A pair of Great Blue Herons hunted in the extreme southeastern corner.

We searched for the Cassin's Vireo reported a few days ago near the swim beach parking area; without success.

I received a call from Jerry Petrosky who was at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe). He also could not locate the Long-tailed Jaeger there or at Quincy Reservoir.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Lincoln County Birding

September 13, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I arrived at Karval Wildlife Area (Lincoln County) about an hour before sunrise and were not disappointed. A Short-eared Owl was observed flying in the field at the southwest corner of the property.

After sunrise, we found a Magnolia Warbler in the local trees.

At nearby Hugo Wildlife Area (Lincoln) a Broad-winged Hawk, Northern Waterthrush and out of place Olive-sided Flycatcher were added to our day list.

Kinney Lake Wildlife Area (also Lincoln) had only a few common birds.

Limon was quiet, bird wise.

We continued north to Flagler Reservoir (Kit Carson) where birding picked up some. The Cassin's Vireo reported yesterday by Jerry Petrosky and all, was still below the dam. Unfortunately, the Broad-winged Hawk was not.

The Northern Waterthrush was still at the southwest corner of the reservoir. A flock of 17 Cedar Waxwings was interesting, but had no Bohemian Waxwings with it. A male Blue Grosbeak hawked insects near the southeast restroom.

We waited until dusk to see if owls would fly around. While none was observed around the reservoir, one was seen hovering north of the reservoir (north of Kit Carson "V" Road).

Bonny Reservoir Fall Count

September 12, 2010

Richard Stevens:

We split up into three groups and conducted the Bonny Reservoir & Hale Ponds fall count today. Temperatures were again cool and winds were stiff most of the day. With the help of radios, most of us were able to relocate any uncommon birds found throughout the day.

Our final tally included:

* Philadelphia Vireo --Hopper Ponds (Petrosky) first 9/12
* Black-and-white Warbler (Petrosky) first 9/12
* Common Tern (2) (Ehlmann) first 9/12
* Northern Cardinal (2) --west/Foster's Grove (Petrosky) last 9/12
* Cassin's Vireo --west/Foster's Grove (Petrosky) first 9/12
* Semipalmated Plover (2) (Ehlmann) first 9/12
* Black-bellied Plover (Ehlmann) first 9/12
* Least Flycatcher (Ehlmann) first 9/12
* Eastern Screech-Owl --Hale Ponds (Stevens) last 9/12
* Northern Waterthrush --Hale Ponds (Stevens) first 9/12
* Blackburnian Warbler --Hale Ponds (Stevens) first 9/12
* Nashville Warbler --Hale Ponds (Stevens) last 9/12
* Yellow-billed Cuckoo --Hale Ponds (Stevens) first 9/12
* White-throated Sparrow --Hale Ponds (Stevens) first 9/12
* Red-bellied Woodpecker (2) (Stevens) last 9/12

Search for a Lesser Nighthawk, Douglas County

September 11, 2010

Richard Stevens:

By the time, I finished on my computer it was about 3:00 am. Why not? I decided to try for the Lesser Nighthawk observed flying over McClain Pit near Franktown.

I arrived around 4:15 am; it was still dark. I drove through Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas) and listened for owls at the Winkler Ranch. Then I returned north through the park and played Northern Saw-whet Owl recordings every 0.2 miles.

My final owl count was 6 Great Horned Owls (2 at the south entrance, 2 at the north entrance and 2 across Castlewood Canyon Road from McClain Pit. One Northern Saw-whet Owl also responded to my tapes!

Finally sunrise, I waited about 2 hours for the Lesser Nighthawk to show; it never did. I also checked the subdivision to the west of the McClain Pit and the Walker Pit across highway 86. No luck!

On the way home, I drove through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). The Long-tailed Jaeger was in the center of the lake (looking north from the lake loop). One of the Sabine's Gulls flew along the dam.

At least ten Burrowing Owls remain at the prairie dog village 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue.

From Bryan Ehlmann's Fall Count Report in the Jumbo Reservoir/Tamarack Wildlife Area;

Logan and Sedgwick Counties
Bryan Ehlmann reports from Jumbo Reservoir:
2 Sabine's Gulls
2 Common Terns
Eastern Meadowlark singing at the campgrounds
Cassin's Vireo below the dam

At Red Lion/Little Jumbo Reservoir:
Tennessee Warbler
Cassin's Vireo

Petrosky reports from Tamarack Ranch
Northern Cardinal
Field Sparrow
Nashville Warbler
Yellow billed Cuckoo

I caught a few hours sleep and headed to Burlington and Bonny Reservoir (Yuma).

Prewitt Reservoir

September 10, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Bryan & Sue Ehlmann, Gary Weston, Jerry Petrosky, three other birders and I birded Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington) this morning. Temperatures were in the high 30s at sunrise; winds were calm.

At the inlet, we found the Black-throated Gray Warbler, an American Redstart, Townsend's Warblers and a MacGillivray's Warbler. I managed to coax one of the resident Eastern Screech-Owls out of its hole!

Below the dam, we added a White-throated Sparrow and Blue-headed Vireo. Three Common Terns were flying over the water. We did not find the Mississippi Kite reported yesterday.

Sue did not feel well and I took her back to Denver while the others continued on the Sterling.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Cherry Creek State Park

September 9, 2010

Bryan Ehlmann: Today at Cherry Creek State Park: Juvey Sabines Gull, 1Common Tern, 3 Fosters Terns, possible Red necked Grebe (ID hampered by high winds and waves), no Long tailed Jaeger found by us.

Reynolds Park & Guanella Pass

September 9, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Visiting birder Joyce Babcock and I drove up to Reynolds Park (Jefferson County) before sunrise. Leaving Denver anytime after 5:30 am is disastrous with traffic. As a result, we arrived at Reynolds Park at civil twilight. A Common Poorwill responded to our recordings.

A Northern Pygmy-Owl also called somewhere south of the parking area. We then made a clockwise circle of the loop (quite a long and strenuous hike of 4 miles with a good altitude gain).

We did not find the Dusky Grouse reported yesterday by Merlynn Brown at 90 yards south of the Eagle's View and Raven's Roost trails. Luck was with us as a Dusky Grouse was observed just north of the intersection of the three trails (Eagle's View, Raven's Roost & Oxen Draw).

Our trek continued up the Eagle's View trail and onto the newest section, which connects back to the Raven's Roost trail. Our luck continued as we relocated one of the two American Three-toed Woodpeckers found by Merlynn yesterday.

On the way down the Raven's Roost trail, we ran into a Williamson's Sapsucker about 300 yards south (uphill) of the old service road!

The second part of our day was spent on Guanella Pass (Clear Creek). Over five hours, I made 3 trips up the hill south-southeast of the parking area. On the third attempt around the 603 to Rosalie Trail, a female White-tailed Ptarmigan with 2 young were found south of the hill summit (approximately 30 yards south of the summit).

If female had not been calling the young, we never would have found them.

On the way back to Denver, we played recordings of Northern Pygmy-Owls & Northern Saw-whet Owls at the two campgrounds along Guanella Pass Road. Unfortunately, no owls called back. Remember, access to Guanella Pass is still only from the Grant side (Highway 285).

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Return to Rocky Mountain Arsenal and Aurora Reservoir

September 8, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I enjoyed another interesting birding day. Again, at 6:00 am we stood inside Rocky Mountain Arsenal and listened for owls. It is still a little too light (sunrise 6:34 am) but soon it will be dark at 6:00 am (when the arsenal opens). Owling (Long-eared and Barn Owls) has been most successful in the dark.

After sunrise, we made the 6.0 mile loop around the Lake Ladora, Rod & Gun Club Trail and Havana Ponds.

The tree line below the Lower Derby Lake dam was quite birdy. The most uncommon birds were a Cassin's Vireo and Townsend's Warbler. We had run into another Townsend's Warbler at the southwest corner of Lake Ladora. Other birds included 9 Wilson's Warblers, 2 White-breasted Nuthatches, a Red-breasted Nuthatch, 7 Western Kingbirds, 2 Eastern Kingbirds and an unidentified Empidonax flycatcher.

On the way to the R&GC bird blind, we saw a Sage Thrasher, 7 Lark Sparrows and a dozen Dark-eyed Juncos. The trees around the bird blind were also birdy. The highlight bird was a Blue-headed Vireo. Another 3 Wilson's Warblers, 2 White-breasted Nuthatches and a Red-breasted Nuthatch were also seen.

A detour was made to the Havana Ponds area to look for Sabine's Gulls. There were no Sabine's Gulls, but 7 California Gulls were among 35 Ring-billed Gulls.

Later Sue Ehlmann, Rebecca Kosten, Jacob Washburn and Amy Davenport joined us and we relocated the Blue-headed Vireo, Cassin's Vireo and Townsend's Warbler.

Late in the afternoon, Bryan and I returned to Aurora Reservoir.

On the way, we passed the Great Plains Park. The Burrowing Owl found yesterday, was almost in on the same fence post. At Aurora Reservoir, the two Common Loons were found, but not much else uncommon. There was no owl action at dusk.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aurora, Cherry Creek, Chatfield Reservoirs & Elbert Road

September 7, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I had quite a full day of birding. We started out at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) hoping to find a jaeger or uncommon Gull before the gulls flew to DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site) for the morning.

We quickly scoped the swim beach and below the dam, only finding 2 Common Loons.

Then on to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). The Long-tailed Jaeger and 2 Sabine's Gulls were flying around off the Mountain Loop.

Next, we wanted to check for Sabine's Gulls at Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas). As we entered the park, we received a text message that Glenn Walbek had found a Little Gull. We scoped the lake from the parking area at the top of the dam. Both the Little Gull and 2 Sabine's Gulls were relocated.

Our next stop was Elbert Road (Elbert County) where Jerry Petrosky had found a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Cassin's Vireo and Dickcissels yesterday. Winds were 14+ mph with gusts to 21 mph. The fields south of Highway 86 were scoped for about 1.5 hours without finding any of the three target birds.

Many sparrows were found including 28 Brewer's Sparrows, 5 Vesper Sparrows, 1 Savannah Sparrow and a Grasshopper Sparrow. A lone Eastern Kingbird caught insects in the high winds, quite impressive.

Back at Aurora Reservoir, we scoped the lake for another hour. This time we saw one Sabine's Gull and the 2 Common Loons. A good 20 percent of the lake cannot be seen from the swim beach or end of the dam.

We made it back to Cherry Creek Reservoir at sunset. The Long-tailed Jaeger was flying around again. Five Common Nighthawks were seen from the parking area near the dam's tower. Another seven Common Nighthawks were counted over the Cottonwood Creek Wetlands Pond.

We passed Quincy Reservoir twice during our day. There were no Sabine's Gulls or jaegers there. A Burrowing Owl was seen about an hour before sunset just east of the Great Plains Park.

I have passed this park many times this year; it is the first Burrowing Owl found at the park in 2010 (by me). Since they put in a dog walking area on the north side of Jewell Avenue, Burrowing Owls have been scarce.

Some More Jackson County Birding

September 6, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Before sunrise, we sat at our Greater Sage-Grouse lek site to see if any Greater Sage-Grouse would show up. No luck at the Jackson County Road 26 site.

Later, the four of us sat with scopes on the west side of Delany Buttes Wildlife Area (Jackson). Sue was the lucky one and found a Greater Sage-Grouse walking about 50 yards up the Butte (from the north end of the lake).

With not much going on at the two Wildlife Areas, we headed back to Teller City Ghost town. We wanted to explore the forest south of the town. For anyone who has not visited the area, there is a self guiding walking tour around the old silver mining town. In the past, both Northern Pygmy-Owls and American Three-toed Woodpeckers have been found while walking the short trail. Beware; a 4 wheel drive vehicle is required to negotiate the approach from the northeast road. I believe there is a way to get down to the town from the western side (Through Rand, which I have never taken).

Eventually Three-toed Woodpeckers were found at two new sites. We also relocated the previously observed Three-toed Woodpecker at the north side of the ghost town.

Near dusk, we played various owl recordings (Flammulated, Boreal, Saw-whet and Northern Pygmy). Waypoints were taken at a Flammulated Owl and Northern Pygmy-Owl sighting/hearing.

On the way back to Denver, we also heard a Boreal Owl at Cameron Pass.

Our biggest goal was achieved; we missed the almost record heat in Denver!

Some Jackson County Birding

September 4 to 5, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Because we did not get to sleep until sunrise, our birding day started in the afternoon. We drove around the Gould area and checked hummingbird feeders.

Quite a few Broad-tailed Hummingbirds were still around. Rufous Hummingbirds, especially adult male numbers are down (we only saw 3 compared to 60+ adult Broad-tailed). An adult Calliope Hummingbird, 2 female adults and 2 immature Calliope Hummingbirds were counted (we checked out 3 locations).

We had an uneventful drive south down the road from Gould. No owls were found. A few Western Wood-pewees and 1 Olive-sided Flycatcher were about all that could be found.

After dusk, we visited five known Boreal Owl sites and found only one Boreal Owl.

Pennock & Cameron Passes

September 3 to 4, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Four of us headed to Cameron Pass in the late afternoon. Our trek led us through Pennock Pass (Larimer County) where we stopped and played Flammulated Owl recordings every 0.2 miles west of the Summit.

We eventually found Flammulated Owls at four locations. Three were heard and one was observed. We did not use a spotlight because we have made many visits up here and do not want to disturb the owls more than they have been in the past. Two of the owls called without any playing of recordings.

It appears that the pair at the nesting hole has moved on. We did not hear any at that site.

At Cameron Pass, we heard two Boreal Owls. One of which needed no coaxing to call. Both were near known nesting sites.

While checking a third nesting site, we heard a Flammulated Owl! This was at 4:00 am in the morning.

Great Afternoon at Aurora Reservoir

September 3, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I rode our bikes the 8.7 miles around Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County) after lunch. Quite an interesting day for birds. At mile marker 3.5, the point into lake had 458 gulls. Ninety three California and the rest Ring-billed Gulls. While scoping two quite dark California Gulls, two Caspian Terns lifted their heads. Witness photos but probably not great.

On the water at mm 3.5, we counted 4 Eared Grebes, 3 Pied-billed Grebes, Redheads, a pair of Canvasbacks and 27 American Coots. Fourteen Double-crested Cormorants and two Great Blue Herons were around the Heron Rookery.

At mile marker 4.5, a Sage Thrasher stood on the eastern fence line. An adult Eastern Kingbird was at the small tree here. What looked like a baby Eastern Kingbird lay dead on the bike path.

At the shore at mile marker 5.0 twenty three shorebirds included 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 Least Sandpiper and rest Baird's Sandpiper. At mile marker 5.8, a lone shorebird was watched for 35 minutes before it stretched its wings. We knew it was slim chance, so waited to confirm a White-rumped Sandpiper. It showed its nice white rump for us!

Below the dam, 2 Common Loons. Later we found a 3rd Common Loon and a Pacific Loon back at cove mile marker 2.0.

At mile marker 7.0, Rebecca took the cement path while I decided to take the gravel path south to get better look at the shore. After fixing a flat tire, one for Rebecca on her choice of routes to miss the thorns, I noticed many shorebirds flying on the east side of trees at mile marker 7.4.

Two hundred plus shorebirds included 1 Stilt Sandpiper, 3 Wilson's Phalaropes, Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Greater Yellowlegs and the majority Baird's Sandpipers. I had to bushwhack through trees to get view of shore.

Two Western Kingbirds were around the swim beach area. Dozens of Red-winged Blackbirds and a Song Sparrow were at the cattails south of the swim beach.

A pair of Redheads swam on the small isolated pond at mm 0.5. Three American Coots were at the second pond along the path leading south out of the park at mm 0.5.

Note that reservoir is closing an hour earlier than August times."

Another Bike Ride Outside of Rocky Mountain Arsenal

September 2, 2010

Richard Stevens:

We rode our bikes along the east side of Rocky Mountain Arsenal; Buckley Road between 56th and 88th avenues. Nothing really uncommon was found. Three Burrowing Owls were in Denver County and two in Adams. Two Rock Wrens wandered along the road.

On the way home, 7 Burrowing Owls were seen along the DIA Owl Loop at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Back to Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Adams County

September 1, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Jerry Petrosky and I met up again at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County). Winds were down from the last few days (only 8-11 mph), temperatures in the mid 70s.

No owls came out before sunrise at the Governor's Row area. We then hiked the Lake Ladora Loop. Birds were few today. The usual suspects were seen; nothing uncommon was found.

The best bird was a chattering Marsh Wren at the southeast corner of Ladora. No warblers or vireos could be found today.

Yuma County

August 31, 2010

Richard Stevens:

I skipped searching for Eastern Screech-Owls at Bonny Reservoir this morning and instead detoured over to Idalia for a search of the Inca Doves that are reported near the school. There are at least four reports in the past three years; I believe I have missed them on at least seven occasions including this morning.

Later I walked quite a bit of the northwest and southwest parts of Bonny Reservoir (Yuma County). Again, winds were quite strong 18-24 mph with gusts to 31 mph.

Shorebirds found included 2 Semipalmated Plovers and a lone Willet. A Common Tern was observed below the dam.

Passerines appeared to be hunkered down to avoid the winds. An Eastern Phoebe was found west of the boat ramp at Wagon Wheel Campgrounds.

I skipped driving down to Hale Ponds, tired of the winds I headed back to Denver. Last Chance Rest Stop (Washington County) was void of birds in spite of the great day Joe Roller had the day before.

Logan/Sedgwick and Yuma Counties

August 30, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Roger Danka and I drove CR 385 about 3 hours before sunrise. This is the road that runs through the eastern section of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan County). An Eastern Screech-Owl called near the 7 East parking area.

Roger and I returned to Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick Counties). The Eastern Screech-Owl still calls from the north side of Jumbo. Again, the Ruddy Turnstone was not found. The Black-bellied Plovers and Willets were still around. The Semipalmated Plover not so much.

Later, we heard about the Gray Flycatcher sighting (Bill Kaempfer, 8/29) and headed back to Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area. Fortunately, the flycatcher was still there; thanks Bill for a first county sighting for us! A Field Sparrow and several Grasshopper Sparrows were in the same area.

A male Northern Cardinal was again found around Tamarack Ranch Pond. No Yellow-billed Cuckoos responded to our recordings today. The Field Sparrow was still at section 7 East. Several Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Red-headed Woodpeckers were relocated.

We searched unsuccessfully for the Pectoral Sandpiper reported yesterday by Bill Kaempfer at Red Lion Wildlife Area. We walked the western and eastern tree lines at Little Jumbo. The best bird was a Bell's Vireo in the eastern trees.

At noon, I said goodbye to Roger and his wife and headed south to Wray. My birding day ended at Sandsage Wildlife Area (Yuma County). A quick stop at the Wray City Park was quite eventful. A Blue-headed Vireo and MacGillivray's Warbler were found!

No uncommon sparrows were found among tens of dozens wandering around the tall brush there. No Eastern Screech-Owls called after dusk.

More Wandering, Northeastern Colorado

August 28-29, 2010

Richard Stevens:

We heard about the Ruddy Turnstone sighting 8/27 at Jumbo Reservoir and search unsuccessfully for about 3 hours. If it was still around, we could not find it. Just about all of Jumbo's shoreline was scoped more than once.

Two Black-bellied Plovers, two Willets and a Semipalmated Plover were found.

We checked Red Lion Wildlife Area hoping the Ruddy Turnstone had moved over there. It had not, but we did see a Pectoral Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs and a Greater Yellowlegs.

Wandering Northeastern Colorado

August 27, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Roger Danka and I birded six ranches in Logan/Sedgwick Counties today. I inherited two private ranches from Dan Bridges (birding access, not property) and have kept up bird counts since his "retirement" from birding.

Dan Bridges Number 1 birding site (Logan County)
Canada Warbler
White-throated Sparrow
Blackburnian Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler

Dan Bridges Site 2
White-throated Sparrow

Private ranch #1
Field Sparrow (2)
White-throated Sparrow

Private ranch #2
White-throated Sparrow

Private ranch #3
Red-bellied Woodpecker
Blackburnian Warbler
Tennessee Warbler

Private ranch #4
Long-eared Owl (2)

After dark, we found two Eastern Screech-Owls on Roger's Ranch (private ranch #1)

Northeastern Colorado

August 26, 2010

Richard Stevens:

I searched for Eastern Screech-Owls in Sterling about 2 hours before sunrise; without success. Both Overland Park and Pioneer Park were checked. While looking in the Sterling Cemetery, I found a Golden-winged Warbler! A Mississippi Kite was observed flying over Columbine Park.

Later I returned to Overland Park and found a Yellow-billed Cuckoo north of the S. Platte River. I was hoping for a Black-billed Cuckoo. As far as I remember, none has been reported here for at least half a dozen years now.

Birds were rare as temperatures warmed up and winds were 18+ mph.

Sterling Reservoir (Logan County) was quiet. A Dickcissel was singing just west of County Roads 46 & 37. Only a few gulls flew around the reservoir. No terns were found. I did see a male Baltimore Oriole at the picnic area at the southeast corner of the lake. Not much was found at the Campgrounds.

I wandered around the fields northeast of Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington) and found another Dickcissel near Logan County Roads 25 & 4. I continued northeast (saving Prewitt Reservoir for another day).

I stopped at Sections 1 & 2 West, Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area hoping to get a response from Yellow-billed or Black-billed Cuckoos; without success. No Bell's Vireos could be found either. They may not have left the area yet; none responded to my recordings. Two Red-bellied Woodpeckers and a male Northern Cardinal were in the cottonwoods here.

In the afternoon, I walked Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) from Highway 55 to CR 93 and back. According to my GPS, it was 6.7 miles one way. The winds kept mosquitoes to a minimum.

Highlights included:

On the trip east, I found an American Redstart, Yellow-billed Cuckoo and male Northern Cardinal around Tamarack Pond. A Field Sparrow was along the windbreak at section 7 east.

At least five Red-headed Woodpeckers were counted. Warblers were scarce. Another male Northern Cardinal was seen at 6 East and a third at 14 East (east of Tamarack Pond). Three additional Red-bellied Woodpeckers were encountered.

By the time I turned back west, it was almost sunset. My pace quicken; however, I stopped at every section playing Eastern Screech-Owl recordings and Northern Saw-whet Owl recordings.

Eastern Screech-Owls answered at two locations. One being between 6 & 7 east. The other west of 3 East.