Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Search for Owls Adams & Weld Counties

January 19, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Jacob Washburn and I drove the DIA Owl Loop an hour before sunrise. No Short-eared Owls found this morning.

We went over to Barr Lake (Adams) to look for an interesting Gull that I found late yesterday afternoon. Unfortunately, no gulls were around. A Barn Owl was in the thick woods at mile marker 8.0.

Again, the weather changed our plans in the afternoon. I wanted to stay at Wellington Wildlife Area and search for Short-eared Owls after sunset. Snow predictions forced us south.

We drove up to northern Colorado to visit a friend who reported a Northern Saw-whet Owl again this month in his yard.

Along the way, we passed a second friend's home and briefly stopped there. These people are only miles from Wyoming and over 60 miles east of the foothills. They have had three visits by Rosy Finches this season. All were Gray-crowned Rosy Finches and never more than 6 or 7 birds at one time. The last visit was Monday during the recent snowstorm.

At the other friend's home north of Nunn, he took us to his back property and showed us his Northern Saw-whet Owl! This is the fourth Northern Saw-whet Owl to spend part of a winter in the past 14 years! In three of the last 10 years, he has also had a Golden-crowned Sparrow in December or January. So far, not this year.

We took back roads to return to Denver. Snow was light and roads relatively clear until we reached Barr Lake (Adams). Along the way, we counted raptors and kept our eyes out for Short-eared Owls. A Short-eared Owl was seen in the field northeast of Weld County Roads 50 & 52. This field has been quite lucky for me in the recent past.

We went by Lower Latham Reservoir (Weld) at around sunset and decided to stop. We scoped the field south of County Road 48 for owls. All of a sudden, a Short-eared Owl appeared flying over the cattails north of County Road 48! It was a nice end to our birding day!

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