Monday, February 14, 2011

Adams and Morgan County Birding

February 13, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I celebrated this superb winter day with some birding along Interstate 76. Temperatures reached into the middle 50s. Winds were calm until the afternoon when they increased to 17+ mph with gusts to 22 mph.

When Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County) opened at 7:00 am, I parked near the feeders at the Visitor's Center. Between 7:28 am and 8:11 am, both Harris's Sparrows visited the eastern feeder. They did not return during my stay (left at 9:00 am).

I took 92 photos of which 3 or 4 came out well. The angle of sun early in the morning makes it quite difficult to expose for the white bodies of birds. I will put photos on the CoBus photo library Monday night (as I leave in a few minutes for some owling in Larimer County).

For about 8 seconds both birds were in the same frame. After looking the photos over, I can see that there is an adult winter plumaged Harris's Sparrow and a 1st winter bird.

On the way home, I stopped at Barr Lake State Park (Adams). My third Harris's Sparrow of the day was below the wooden wall below the feeders outside of the west side of the Visitor's Center. He eventually flew to the tall bushes in the high grasses west of the building.

A dozen American Goldfinches were "taking a bath" in a puddle under the crooked bird house along the canal (west of building). An adult White-throated Sparrow also came out of the brush and joined them. He stayed close to the brush along the canal and after his bath disappeared back into the tall grasses. He never approached the feeders.

I picked up Rebecca Kosten and we headed to Jackson Lake State Park (Morgan). Quite a few raptors were along Interstate 76. We counted dozens of Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Ferruginous Hawks, 9 Rough-legged Hawks, 7 Northern Harriers and 7 American Kestrels. A beautiful Prairie Falcon zoomed across the highway just in front of our car!

A few Bald Eagles stood on the ice. Our target bird was the 11 Long-eared Owls we found in the western Campgrounds!

At sunset, we parked at the northern end of the Campgrounds and watched for Short-eared Owls. None appeared. A pair of Great Horned Owls called from the cottonwoods along the shore (as we watched a fantastic sunset).

Back at Pelican Campgrounds, we heard an Eastern Screech-Owl. In sounded as if he was somewhere in the tall cottonwoods along the shore east of the Campgrounds.

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