Monday, February 28, 2011

Some Eastern Plains Birding

February 27, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I met up with three birders from California (Jo Goldman, Nancy Salle, and Betty Fishman) and we went searching for Lapland Longspurs on the eastern plains.

Our trek went by Jackson Reservoir (Morgan) where we relocated several Long-eared Owls at the western Campgrounds. I enticed the Eastern Screech-Owl to come out of his hole in a large cottonwood.

We then drove Morgan County Road 4 (east side of the State Park) into Weld County (CR 105). Several large flocks of Horned Larks (300+ and 400+) were observed in Weld County.

A stop 2 miles north of the Morgan County line was quite fortuitous. Among the 400+ Horned Larks were found 3-5 Lapland Longspurs! More exciting, one bird with much white on it, turned out to be a Snow Bunting.

Having found our target bird, we decided to return to Jackson Reservoir and scope the many gulls. A walk along the dam from the eastern parking area found a Merlin! Most of the gulls were too far away to identify. Jo pointed out another "whitish" bird on the dam wall. It turned out to be our second Snow Bunting of the day!

Everyone was hungry, so I drove into Fort Morgan for a late lunch. Afterwards, we made the short detour to Brush Wildlife Area. The male Red-bellied Woodpecker was quite cooperative. He worked the trees just west of the pond!

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