Thursday, September 30, 2010

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.

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