Saturday, January 1, 2011

Birding Around Boulder County

December 27, 2010

Bryan Ehlmann:

Richard Stevens and I left Denver for Longmont at 5:00 AM to beat the rush hour traffic. Now days, 5:00 AM is late for missing it too. It was a cold but windless morning. We stopped at a private ranch in Boulder County and found two Long-eared Owls at their usual location in a brushy ravine.

After breakfast, we walked around the Longmont Estates neighborhood at 7:10 AM. Sunrise was 7:16 AM. The Varied Thrush was with 40+ American Robins eating crabapples at a house along Baylor Drive, west of Vasser Court. We walked Northwestern Avenue first, then Cornell Drive before taking the walking path south of the Elementary School. Emerging onto Baylor, we found 100+ American Robins up and down the street.

A flock of 14 Bushtits was along the walking path when we returned to our car. The rest of the afternoon, we zigzagged back and forth through Boulder County.

The Winter Wren along St. Vrain Creek at 61st Street called and came out of the brush north of the cement drain and east of the parking lot for the Blue Heron Ranch. The search took less than 10 minutes!

The Golden-crowned Sparrow and 11 White-crowned Sparrows came out of the tall grasses along the path to North Teller Lake. Again we enjoy great luck as we only pished about 10 seconds before seeing the sparrow! The flock flew to the large fallen cottonwood tree along the northern property fence.

Finally, we headed to Cameron Pass in Larimer County. However, we did make two detours. A Northern Pygmy-Owl answered our recordings played at mile 78 of highway 34. Later, we missed finding the Northern Pygmy-Owl up Rist Canyon at Whale Rock.

Now in Jackson County, only a few Gray-crowned Rosy Finches were seen coming to the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center feeders.

After dark, we walked highway 14 for three miles either side of Cameron Pass. Two Boreal Owls were heard. Neither could be coaxed out of the woods. It snowed the whole time, but fortunately, winds were mild.

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