Saturday, January 1, 2011

DIA Owl Loop, Adams County

December 31, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Most of the day was spent inside where it was warm. High temperatures today were around 14 degrees. Wind chills recorded to -12 degrees around sunset.

Bryan Ehlmann and I had to get out for a little bit. We drove the DIA Owl Loop in the afternoon. A flock of 500+ Horned Larks flew around just south of Trussville Road and 114th Avenue. The highlight was a Snow Bunting accompanying them! Two Lapland Longspurs were also picked out of the horde of larks!

This Snow Bunting may have been the same one that Rebecca Kosten and I found on December 24th. We had driven the roads south and east of Trussville Road just because we had not been on them before.

I did not report this to the cobirders listserve because there is a question of which of these roads are public? We expected to be stopped by airport security during the hour we drove the roads east of the new solar farm we presume was built for the airport. Some of the roads are quite rocky and makeshift.

We estimated 35,000 Horned Larks visiting the fields here. The grasses are much shorter than back along the DIA Owl loop. Whether this influenced where the Horned Larks searched for food, we do not know. A Snow Bunting was found 12/24, along the road going east from the new solar farm (about a half mile east).

It looks like one can drive onto the airport runways from these roads? We were surprised that airport security never appeared. Two Ferruginous Hawks but no Short-eared Owls were found the late afternoon of 12/24.

Dozens of Great-tailed Grackles were at the Picadilly Tree Nursery feedlot when Bryan & I passed by it on 12/31. Nothing uncommon was found behind the Barr Lake Visitor's Center.

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