Friday, January 7, 2011

Cameron Pass Area, Jackson & Larimer Counties

January 6, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I spent 5.5 hours along the South Platte River at the Morgan-Smith Wildlife Area (Adams) this morning. Temperatures warmed into the middle 50s; winds were calm.

My target birds were stub tailed wrens and Dunlins.

Few birds were observed along this seldom birded Wildlife Area. A Winter Wren had been reported three days earlier.

January 2-5, 2011

We enjoyed some easy snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in Jackson County. Snowshoeing on steeper hills, skiing on the relatively flatter hills.

Most of the birds found were probably not in places most birders would tackle. Note: we carry avalanche beacons. In addition, we have taken two avalanche safety courses, which may or may not make our treks safer. We are cautious about "false security". I have spent many weeks on Cameron Pass and am familiar with the more likely places for avalanches. Michigan Ditch Road/trail begs great respect. Highway 14 was closed for two days a couple of weeks ago.

That said, we found American Three-toed Woodpeckers both in Larimer County (Zimmerman Lake Loop Trail and Chambers Lake) and Jackson County (Michigan Creek Road and near the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center).

Our main target bird was hopefully White-winged Crossbills. However, none was found.

We also ran across five Boreal Owls, got to see two of them! None was along Highway 14 and with easy access.

Surprisingly, winds were calm most nights. It did snow lightly late on two afternoons.

We passed the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center several times. Gray-crowned and a few Brown-capped Rosy Finches came to the feeders several times. Mostly early in the morning (just after sunrise). Their visits were not consistent.

Many of the other suspects (Pine Siskins, Mountain Chickadees, and a couple of Pine Grosbeaks) also fueled up!

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