Saturday, February 26, 2011

Search for a Snow Bunting and Grouse

February 23, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I departed Denver at 2:00 am. The day proved to be comfortable with mild winds and temperatures into the 40s. Our target birds were the Routt County Snow Bunting, Sharp-tailed Grouse, Greater Sage-Grouse and Rosy Finches in North Park and area.

Just before sunrise, we relocated the flock of Horned Lark along CO 6 (approximately 1.8 miles north of Hwy 131, the Toponas area). The Snow Bunting was with them! It was a good start to our day.

We went on to find Sharp-tailed Grouse in the Steamboat Springs Area (Routt). Later a flock of 60+ Rosy Finches (3 species) was found at a ranch west of Steamboat Springs!

Finally, we traveled to a friend's ranch near Hayden (Routt); 4 Greater Sage-Grouse visited his feeders.

We turned back around and headed east. Several hours were spent walking Rabbit Ears Pass in both Routt and Grand Counties. We hoped for a White-winged Crossbill; found none. A female American Three-toed Woodpecker was discovered up the road to the CDOT maintenance shed for the pass.

A search around Walden did not find any Rosy Finches. Walden Reservoir, Delaney Buttes and Johns Lake Wildlife Area were all frozen. No Greater Sage-Grouse were encountered at sunset in the Coalmont Area. We did see many tracks, just no birds.

After dark, we hiked Cameron Pass to Joe Wright Reservoir to the east. Two Boreal Owls were heard; none was seen.

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