Thursday, May 26, 2011

Perfect Storm, Colorado Eastern Plains

May 26, 2011

Richard Stevens reports the aftermath of the "Perfect Storm" continues on the Eastern Plains. BTW, the "Perfect Storm" was mild southerly winds for several days followed by a rapid and strong change in direction. High winds started to come down out of the north, stopping northerly migrating birds at almost every riparian area.

Ovid Woods
Blackburnian Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Virginia's Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Julesburg Wildlife Area
Tennessee Warbler
Green-tailed Towhee
Brown Thrasher

Sedgwick Bar Wildlife Area
Kentucky Warbler
Eastern Bluebird (4)
Red-bellied Woodpecker
White-throated Sparrow

Private Ranches
Yellow Warbler
Magnolia Warbler (2 locations)
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warblers
Prairie Warbler (2nd of trip)
Palm Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler (2 locations)
Black-and-white Warbler (2 locations)
Tennessee Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Virginia's Warbler
Northern Waterthrush (2 locations)
Ovenbird (2 locations)
MacGillivray's Warbler
Hooded Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Summer Tanager

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Twenty Two Warbler Day on the Northeastern Plains

May 25, 2011

Richard Stevens reported from a fantastic day on the northeastern plains.

Logan/Washington Counties

Prewitt Reservoir
Eastern Screech-Owl
Mourning Warbler
Nashville Warbler
Tennessee Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
American Redstart
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Orange-crowned Warbler
Great Crested Flycatcher
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Least Flycatcher
Northern Waterthrush

Washington County

Messex Wildlife Area
Northern Bobwhite

Logan County

Atwood Wildlife Area
Yellow-billed Cuckoo

Duck Creek Wildlife Area
Eastern Bluebird
Gray Flycatcher (has their been one farther north & east?)

Red Lion Wildlife Area

Upland Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Palm Warbler
Black-and-white Warbler
Blackpoll Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
Chestnut-sided Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Wilson's Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Bell's Vireo
Red-eyed Vireo
Savannah Sparrow
Field Sparrow
White-throated Sparrow

Private ranch (one of Dan Bridges favorites)
Prairie Warbler
Blackburnian Warbler
Black-throated Green Warbler
Magnolia Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
Virginia's Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Orange-crowned Warbler
Red-eyed Vireo
Blue-headed Vireo
Northern Waterthrush
Summer Tanager
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Upland Sandpiper

Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area
Eastern Screech-Owl
Barn Owl

Trip Up the Eastern Plains

May 24, 2011

Richard Stevens spent 6.5 hours at Barr Lake State Park early this morning.

Worm eating Warbler --south of the Niedrach Boardwalk, just before clearing at mile 0.4.
Northern Waterthrush --just north of WEWA site
Hooded Warbler --mile 8.8 just south and north of willow tree that hangs over trail
Northern Waterthrush --just north of HOWA site.
Rose breasted Grosbeak --mile 8.7, flew toward lake
Gray cheeked Thrush --just north of mile 8.0 marker
Veery -- mile 6.8, below the dam
American Redstart --mile 6.7 below dam

Richard ended his birding day at Jackson Lake State Park in Morgan County

Blackburnian Warbler --below dam
Red-eyed Vireo --below dam
Summer Tanager --Campgrounds
American Redstart (2) --Campgrounds
Black-and-white Warbler --Campgrounds
Eastern Screech-Owl --Campgrounds
Tennessee Warbler -Campgrounds

After dark Richard heard Eastern Screech-Owls at Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington). Below the dam and at the western end.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Birding Along the Foothills

May 23, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I decided to bird southwestern Denver area today. Temperatures reached the low 70s; it rained off and on all day. Staying dry was a challenge.

The negative cannot be proven; if the Tricolored Heron is still around the Plum Creek Delta area at Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) I could not find it. A Plumbeous Vireo was found south of the Plum Creek footbridge. A Northern Waterthrush was north of the footbridge.

A two hour search south of Kingfisher Bridge and west of the S. Platte River did not turn up the White-eyed Vireo. Once a mecca for migrating warblers, only an American Redstart was found (just south of the paved path). A few Western Wood-pewees required special attention in case an Eastern Wood-Pewee lingered among them. Several female Broad-tailed Hummingbirds worked on building a nest. House Wrens filled the air with chatter.

The eastern side of the S. Platte River added a pair of Least Flycatchers, a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Spotted Towhees, Black-headed Grosbeaks, several Cedar Waxwings and a Yellow-breasted Chat.

At the southern end of the park, Gray Catbirds, Common Yellowthroats, Lincoln's Sparrows, a Green Heron and 6 species of swallows provided much to identify. Another American Redstart was east and south of the Discovery Pavilion area.

None of the uncommon birds appeared during a 1.5 hour stay at Red Rocks Park (Jefferson). The Curve-billed Thrasher was last reported on 5/16.

My daylight birding ended at Golden Gate Canyon State Park and White Ranch Open Space (Jefferson). Both a Dusky Grouse and American Three-toed Woodpecker were added to my day list. I doubt either could be relocated as I wandered around in the woods (chasing a possible Northern Pygmy-Owl, which was never found).

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was observed along the Belcher Trail at White Ranch (Jefferson). It was just up from the trailhead.

After dark, I made about 8 stops playing owl recordings. A Flammulated Owl was recorded in Golden Gate Canyon Park. A Northern Pygmy-Owl at White Ranch. The Flammulated Owl was most surprising. In my experience, during or after a thunderstorm, Flammulated Owls usually do not call.

Final Grouse Trip Day 7

The final day of the CoBus Grouse trip.

"Great birding continued in the northeast corner of the state in spite of high winds. Winds measured at 14 mph with gusts to 36 mph.

We met up with Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons and toured around Sterling. We could not relocate the Mourning Warbler found yesterday at Overland Park in Sterling. The male Baltimore Oriole was still around. Also we did not relocate the Winter Wren and American Redstart at Pioneer Park on the east side of town. Both could be blown to Nebraska or Kansas by now.

Highlights were two Gray-cheeked Thrushes. One at the Sterling Cemetery, the other at Sterling Reservoir. Gulls and a couple of terns frantically flying around Sterling Reservoir could not be identified.

Back toward the Front Range, we found 2 Burrowing Owls at Weld County Roads 90 & 51. A Mountain Plover was west of the old cement drain along the dirt track running north from Weld County Roads 94 & 63. We had to drive up to Highway 85 and CR 114 to find our Chestnut-collared Longspur for the trip (southeast field).

After dropping Bill at the airport, I drove the DIA Owl Loop. A couple of Burrowing Owls were at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue. A few Lark Buntings around also."

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Final Grouse Trip Day 6

It has been decided that instead of waiting a week for a grouse trip to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current grouse trips. I will do my best. Amy Davenport

May 21, 2011

The CoBus groups started today by watching eleven Greater Prairie-Chickens at a private lek. Afterwards, they hurried over to the Yuma County Road 45 Lek and found another five birds thirty minutes after sunrise.

A visit to Wray City Park in Yuma County relocated the Mourning Warbler (Daniel Maynard, 5/19). They also found a Tennessee Warbler and Blackpoll Warbler. Nothing rare was found at Stalker Pond or the Wray Fishing Unit.

At Frenchman Creek Wildlife Area, they found a White-throated Sparrow among dozens of migrating, albeit, common sparrows.

Birding in Philips County was fantastic. At Holyoke City Park, they found Magnolia Warbler, Chestnut-sided Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler, American Redstart, MacGillivray's Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Plumbeous Vireo.

A Summer Tanager was at the Holyoke High School.

Haxtun was exciting also. They found a Blackpoll Warbler at Haxtun City Park. Another Blackpoll Warbler, Tennessee Warbler and Plumbeous Vireo were at Haxtun Sewage Ponds.

A pair of Long-eared Owls is nesting at a private ranch in Sedgwick County. At Roger Danka's ranch, they heard a couple of Eastern Screech-Owls and a Common Poorwill.

Winds were again strong. Measured at Wray 18 mph w/gusts to 22 mph. Julesburg 15 mph w/gusts to 24 mph.

It is rainy near Julesburg and high winds again predicted for Sunday.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Final Grouse Trip Day 5

It has been decided that instead of waiting a week for a grouse trip to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current grouse trips. I will do my best. Amy Davenport

May 20, 2011

The CoBus group started by watching seven Lesser Prairie-Chickens at the eastern lek outside of Elkhart, Kansas. Vesper Sparrows, Cassin's Sparrows and Lark Buntings were seen on the road out of the lek.

Once back in Colorado, they went back to Cottonwood Canyon in Baca County. They again missed relocating the Painted Bunting. A male Lazuli Bunting sang constantly in the general area of the Painted Bunting sighting, 1.2 miles east of the primitive camping area at Carrizo Creek.

Bewick's Wrens, Canyon Towhees, Eastern Phoebes, Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, and two Lewis's Woodpeckers were found.

The word for the day was "wind". At Springfield, winds 14 mph w/gusts to 22; at Lamar 15 mph winds w/gusts to 28; at Burlington 16 mph w/ gusts to 32.

In spite of the wind, they enjoyed a good day. At Two Buttes Reservoir in Baca County: Black-throated Green Warbler, Veery, Brown Thrashers, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Wild Turkeys, Spotted Towhees, Turkey Vultures, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Plumbeous Vireo, and Bullock's Orioles.

At Lamar Community College, birds included a male Northern Cardinal. Chimney Swifts and a Mississippi Kite flew overhead.

At Tempel Grove in Bent County: Black-throated Blue Warbler and Veery. Yesterday's Golden-winged Warbler was not relocated.

Birding was "excellent" at Bonny Reservoir: At Hopper Ponds they found a Magnolia Warbler and Bell's Vireo. An Alder Flycatcher called briefly between Hopper Ponds the and east end of the lake. A Great Crested Flycatcher sang between Hopper Ponds and highway 385.

Winds picked up at sunset. No Common Poorwills or Eastern Screech-Owls were heard at Hale Ponds or the east end of the State Park. One Long-eared Owl was found sitting on a nest!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Final Grouse Trip Day 4

It has been decided that instead of waiting a week for a grouse trip to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current grouse trips. I will do my best. Amy Davenport

May 19, 2011

The CoBus Group started the day by counting nine Gunnison Sage-Grouse at the Waunita Hot Springs Lek in Gunnison County.

On the way to Temple Canyon State Park, they relocated the American Three-toed Woodpecker at the second pullover below Monarch Pass in Chaffee County.

Both Gray Vireos and Gray Flycatchers were found at Temple Canyon State Park in Fremont County. Two Evening Grosbeaks along with a Cordilleran Flycatcher were outside the western entrance. Several Juniper Titmouse were just inside the entrance.

A pair of Curve-billed Thrashers was seen at a private yard in Canon City. They did not have time to stop at the Arkansas Riverwalk. They also skipped the Swallows Road in Pueblo County.

They stretched their legs at Rocky Ford Wildlife Area in Otero County. A Lewis's Woodpecker was found on a nest! Other birds seen included a Green Heron, Northern Waterthrush, Yellow-throated Vireo and Blue-winged Warbler! They could not find the Rocky Ford Inca Doves.

A Mississippi Kite was found at La Junta City Park. Two Black Rails called at the Old Bent's Fort marsh in Otero County.

Another Black Rail and a Virginia Rail were heard at the Fort Lyons Wildlife Area in Bent County.

Neenoshe Reservoir in Kiowa County had a surprise Piping Plover and 3 Snowy Plovers.

Tempel Grove was not birdy. They did find a Golden-winged Warbler and a female Hooded Warbler.

Lamar Community College in Prowers County was even slower. They did see a pair of Northern Cardinals and a Red-bellied Woodpecker.

After dark, they stopped to listen for owls at Two Buttes Reservoir in Baca County. A Barn Owl responded to a recording.

Final Grouse Trip Day 3

It has been decided that instead of waiting a week for a grouse trip to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current grouse trips. I will do my best. Amy Davenport

May 18, 2011

The CoBus Grouse trip did not drive the whole Colorado National Monument route today. They entered the eastern entrance before sunrise and walked down the Devil's Kitchen trail. The Black chinned Sparrow was heard, but never seen.

They then drove the subdivision outside of the entrance. Here they added a Black-throated Sparrow and several Gambel's Quail to their day list.

They circled around to the western entrance to the Monument and drove up to the Campgrounds. Birds seen included Juniper Titmouse, Bushtit, Black-throated Gray Warblers and 10+ Pinyon Jays.

Their next stop at a private location added a Western Screech-Owl sighting to their list. They continued on to the McInnes Wildlife Area. Their target bird, Chukar was missed. They did see a Black-throated Sparrow, Juniper Titmouse and Sage Thrasher.

A drive up Rabbit Valley found a male Scott's Oriole at Mesa County Roads 1.80 and M.80.

They continued north and found a Long-eared Owl on a nest. Location not to be disclosed. Several western slope birders know where it is.

A drive up Escalante Canyon did not find any Chukar. They also missed Chukar at the Payne cutoff.

A Whimbrel was found at Fruitgrower's Reservoir. I had sent a text message about the Glossy Ibis sighting; they could not find one. Two Lewis's Woodpeckers were below the dam at Evelyn Horn's home.

A Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park in Montrose County, they found two Dusky Grouse before sunset. After sunset, they found a Common Poorwill on the south rim road. No Northern Pygmy-Owls were found.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Final Grouse Trip Day 2

It has been decided that instead of waiting a week for a grouse trip to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current grouse trips. I will do my best. Amy Davenport

May 17, 2011

Day two of the CoBus Grouse trip started at the 80 Route Road north of Hayden in Routt County. Two Dusky Grouse displayed at the second cattle guard (see CoBus website for additional information:

Farther north, eleven Greater Sage-Grouse displayed at their lek. Finally, eight+ Sharp-tailed Grouse were displaying near the Wildlife Area past the third cattle guard. The name was garbled on the phone message?

Later they drove over to the 20 Road Sharp-tailed Grouse lek and found three Sharp-tailed Grouse still displaying.

From the parking lot for the Oxbow Wildlife Area in Moffat County, they saw two Sage Sparrows and heard at least another four. Several Sage Thrashers also were seen.

They allotted only one hour for a Chukar search in Coal Canyon in Mesa County. None was found. Nine Black-throated Sparrows sang around the closed pipe gate up the Cameo Road.

They found a male American Three-toed Woodpecker behind the maintenance shed at Powderhorn Ski Area in Mesa County. A Northern Pygmy-Owl called from south of the building at the ski area entrance.

After dark, they found two Boreal Owls at the first two pullovers south of Spruce Grove Campgrounds. One of the owls was actually seen.

Final Grouse Trip Day 1

It has been decided that instead of waiting a week for a grouse trip to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current grouse trips. I will do my best. Amy Davenport

May 16, 2011

The last grouse trip sponsored by the Colorado Birding Society started today.

Their first stop was Georgetown. The Rufous collared Sparrow was singing at Rose and ninth Streets when they got out of the car. Consensus among the Colorado Bird Records Board is that this bird is not a wild bird and cannot be counted by birders strictly following the ABA listing rules.

Their fortune continued at Loveland Pass, Clear Creek County. When they walked to the western side of the summit, two White-tailed Ptarmigan were walking around the evergreens 20 feet below the road. American Pipits and a pair of Mountain Bluebirds flew overhead.

Brown-capped Rosy Finches and a couple of Gray-crowned Rosy Finches were found in Summit County. Rosy Finches are disappearing to their nesting grounds, as the number was 450+ earlier in the spring.

No Barrow's Goldeneyes were seen at the Blue River Water Treatment Plant in Summit County.

One of the few ducks on the Wolford Mountain Experimental Recreation Area was the White-winged Scoter reported by Newport on 5/13.

Windy Gap Reservoir in Grand County had many ducks on it. These included eight Barrow's Goldeneyes, dozens of Common Goldeneyes, Eared Grebe, Gadwall, Mallards, Ring-necked Ducks and Green-winged Teal. Several White Pelicans were also there.

At the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center, the many birds included 6 Brown-capped Rosy Finches, 1 Gray-crowned Rosy Finch, Pine Siskins, 2 Evening Grosbeaks, 4 Pine Grosbeaks, Brewer's Blackbirds, Red-winged Blackbirds, Mountain Chickadees, and many Dark-eyed Juncos.

At sunset, they found 19+ Greater Sage Grouse at the lek along Jackson County Road 26, north of highway 14.

They made three stops around Cameron Pass. The pullover at the top, 0.2 miles west of the summit and the upper parking lot for Joe Wright Reservoir. A Boreal Owl called at the Joe Wright Parking lot.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Trip to Crow Valley Campgrounds

May 15, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I drove up to Briggsdale to check on a rare bird report. We never found the potential first county sighting and wait to hear if it returns.

On the trip north, we stopped briefly at Windsor Lake (Weld). The Black-legged Kittiwake was quite easy to locate!

Since we were in the area, we headed over to Crow Valley Campgrounds (Weld County). Few birds were found on our first circle of the Campgrounds. However, our second pass around 5:00 pm was quite interesting.

A Tennessee Warbler was in across the road from the group picnic area. An American Redstart was in the southwest corner of the Campgrounds. A Red-eyed Vireo fluttered about in the trees north of the "farm equipment display area". Where were these birds during our first walk?

We ended our birding day along Weld County Road 48 (south side of Lower Latham Reservoir). No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

Return to Denver Area

May 14, 2011

Richard Stevens:

After returning from a nine day grouse trip, I wanted to treat myself at one of my favorite restaurants and drove toward Morrison.

I thought to give the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher a shot south of Marston Reservoir. However, because of the rain I decided to scope the southwest corner of the lake from the southeast side (Bow Mar Drive). Distance was too far to see many birds along the west side. A couple of Black Terns flew over the reservoir.

While scoping the lake, I noticed 58 Western Tanagers flying around the bushes along Bow Mar Drive. While taking photos, I discovered a Palm Warbler in the cottonwoods between Ridge Trail Road and Yellowstone Street. The warbler was in the yard with the large white dog. It slowing moved toward Tina Jones' home for those who know where that is.

I then drove over to West Layton Road and scoped the fence south of the Wildlife Area. The Scissor-tailed Flycatcher was hawking insects during a stoppage period in the rain.

Before eating dinner, I stopped at Red Rocks Park (Jefferson) for the last 1.5 hours of daylight. None of the uncommon Zonotrichia sparrows or the Curve-billed Thrasher appeared.

I did see 12+ male and 4+ female Lazuli Buntings, 2 Green-tailed Towhees, at least 9 Spotted Towhees, 5 male Black-headed Grosbeaks, 2 White-crowned Sparrows, 1 Song Sparrow, many Dark-eyed Juncos, House Finches and Brown-headed Cowbirds.

Morrison Inn as always had great food!

Grouse Trip Day 8

May 14, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Our day started out at North Sterling Reservoir (Logan). Birding was slow. We could not find any of the Dickcissels that nest in the area (however, it could be too early in the year).

A Red-eyed Vireo was at the picnic area at the northeast corner of the park. A strange Gull caught our attention. We did not get long enough looks to positively identify as a Laughing Gull (could have been).

We ran into a birder who reported seeing two Purple Martins at Overland Park. We stopped but could not find any Purple Martins. The park was once known for both nesting Yellow-billed and Black-billed Cuckoos; we found neither. It maybe too early for them to appear this far North?

We continued to Pawnee National Grasslands (Weld). Two Mountain Plover were found along the dirt track leading north from Weld County Roads 94 and 63. McCown's Longspurs and a few Lark Buntings were along the Mountain Plover Loop (listed on the CoBus website:

We had to drive up to Highway 85 and Weld County Road 114 to find a Chestnut-collared Longspur. Fortunately, it only took ten minutes to find one performing his "mating flight".

We then had to rush Jean to the airport!

Grouse Trip Day 7

May 13, 2011

Richard Stevens

Twenty minutes before sunrise, Jean Henderson and I watched 8 Greater Prairie-Chickens at a lek that I had never visited before. The property is owned by a friend that lives in Aurora and he just mentioned it to me a couple of weeks ago.

After getting our fill of the dancing Greater Prairie-Chickens, we headed over to the Yuma County Road 45 leks to see if they were still active. Yes, they were. Another seven Greater Prairie-Chickens displayed here. In addition, we could hear a dozen additional Greater Prairie-Chickens calling from over the hill to the southeast!

Back in Wray, we stopped shortly at a friend's house to say "Hi"! She still has an eastern Fox Sparrow (most of the winter) and 2 male and a female Northern Cardinals visiting her feeders.

A neighbor of hers stopped by so I quizzed for additional bird information. He put us on to a Barn Owl just outside of Wray! Also, he took us to a barn where a pair of Eastern Screech-Owls was nesting. He said that there were two eggs in the nest; we however did not want to disturb the owls and left. Strange that an Eastern Screech-Owl would nest in an abandoned barn (not the same barn as the Barn Owls).

We wandered north and stopped at Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick). A few good shorebirds walked along the southeast end of the lake. The best being a Semipalmated Plover and 2 Red-necked Phalaropes (just off shore).

We looked for Eastern Meadowlarks at the Campgrounds; without success. A male Baltimore Oriole flew along the southern tree break. A Red-eyed Vireo was just north of the restrooms.

A Common Loon was about all we could pick out on the lake. High winds created some awful high waves, which obscured most of the waterfowl.

Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) never disappoints. We found our first Bell's Vireo of the year at Section 1 West. Red-bellied Woodpeckers were seen both on the east and west sides of County Road 93. A male Eastern Towhee sang at 1 West (some believe all Eastern Towhees in Colorado are hybrids. If it looks and sounds like an Eastern Towhee, must it not be an Eastern Towhee?)

A male Northern Cardinal flew around the north side of Tamarack Pond. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo calling briefly along the south side caused us fits. Finally, we were able to figure out which tree and branch is was hiding.

We walked the windbreak at Section 7 East and found a couple of Field Sparrows. A Cassin's Sparrow did its "mating flight" to the east. A beautiful song and display, it was a treat to see.

Our next stop was a private ranch that was one of Dan Bridges favorite birding locations in the county. He found many uncommon warblers and Upland Sandpipers on the property. It was slow today as the highlight was a small flock of 7 Eastern Bluebirds.

On the way back to Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area, a Upland Sandpiper was seen standing on a fence post at the corner of Highway 138 and Logan County Road 93!

After sunset, we made three stops for owls in Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area. An Eastern Screech-Owl answered between Sections 6 & 7 East.

Grouse Trip Day 6

May 12, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Our birding day started at the eastern Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lek near Elkhart, Kansas. Eight male Lesser Prairie-Chickens displayed for one female.

We reentered Colorado by way of Kansas Highway 12 to Colorado Baca County Road M. Several Burrowing Owls, Curve-billed Thrashers, and sparrows (Clay-colored, Brewer's, Lark, Chipping, and more Cassin's) were found.

A stop at one of my favorite locations for Eastern Screech-Owls in Baca County did not turn up any owls. Many times an Eastern Screech-Owl will answer a recording in the middle of the morning. However, none did this morning. No Barn Owls were at several locations of previous sightings (also along the eastern border of Colorado).

Our trek continued north to Turk's Pond (Baca). No uncommon ducks were on the property. The highlight was our second Northern Parula of the trip! A couple of Bullock's Orioles added some additional color to the greening trees.

We continued north and stopped Two Buttes Reservoir (Baca). Our birdy day continued. A lone Northern Waterthrush and a Barn Owl were at the east end. There was a "meeting of vireos" below the dam. We observed a Blue-headed Vireo, Cassin's Vireo and Plumbeous Vireo. The Plumbeous Vireo was probably the least expected.

In the bushes below the southern cliffs, we found a Worm-eating Warbler!

Our only stop in Lamar was a quick one at Lamar Community College (Prowers). We enjoyed some success, found a pair of Northern Cardinals, a male Red-bellied Woodpecker, and another Northern Waterthrush. The highlights were a Black-throated Green Warbler and Summer Tanager.

Mississippi Kites and Chimney Swift flew overhead. Another Red-bellied Woodpecker was across the street at Willow Creek Park.

From Lamar, we hurried to Yuma County to bird Bonny Reservoir the last few hours of daylight. We did make a quick stop at Kit Carson (Cheyenne) in case the Brown Pelican found by Bill Kaempfer on 5/11 was still around; it was not.

We drove into the State Park area by way of Yuma County Road 2. No uncommon birds were found along CR 2 and we stopped at the first sharp bend to the south. This area is usually good for migrating birds and it did not disappoint. A male Chestnut-sided Warbler was with 2 Yellow Warblers and a few Yellow-rumped Warblers.

Having spent many miles sitting in a car, we were eager to get in some walking. We walked the Hopper Ponds area looking for stray sparrows (Baird's Sparrows have been reported in the area in the past). While we did not find any uncommon sparrows, a male Black-throated Green Warbler and male Hooded Warbler were nice consolation prizes.

A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers flew around Hale Ponds. After sunset, I was able to entice a Common Poorwill to answer a recording (south of the most eastern Hale Pond; south of CR 4).

Thirty minutes later, an Eastern Screech-Owl responded to another recording (northwest of the same most eastern Hale Pond).

No Eastern Screech-Owls responded back east of the old cattail ponds along the Yuma County Road 3 entrance.

Grouse Trip Day 5

May 11, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Our trip continued today by way of Highway 160 to Cottonwood Canyon (Baca County). We looked briefly for the Summer Tanager reported by Bill Kaempfer. Unfortunately, we could not find it.

Cassin's Sparrows were found near Kim (Baca). A few McCown's Longspurs and a Chestnut-collared Longspur also!

We took the back way into Cottonwood Canyon and stopped at Carrizo Mountain to look for nighthawks. None was found or expected, as it is a little early. However, Lesser Nighthawks historically appear before the Common Nighthawk migration, just not today.

In Cottonwood Canyon we found the usual suspects, Eastern Phoebes, a Lewis's Woodpecker, Mississippi Kites, Canyon Towhees, Chihuahuan Ravens, a Cooper's Hawk, Great Horned Owl and always my favorites, Rufous-crowned Sparrows.

The highlight was a Northern Parula found at 1.2 miles east of the primitive camping area at CR M and Carrizo Creek. We were looking for a Painted Bunting that was reported a few days early; without success.

While searching for owls at sunset, we found a Gray Vireo up the draw that runs south from the old stone house and west of the fork in the road (CR M back to hwy 287 and the road to Carrizo Mountain).

After dark, we heard two Western Screech-Owls back at the "primitive camping area".

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Trip to Georgetown, Rufous collared Sparrow

May 10, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I drove up to Georgetown (Clear Creek) to get a look at the Rufous collared Sparrow. At around 2:00 pm, I first heard and then saw the sparrow on the east side of the white house (915 Rose Street). It later flew to the west side of the street where I lost track of it.

Several birders relocated the sparrow on a bush at the northwest corner of the yard at 811 Rose Street.

Whether this bird is wild or not, I never am sure if "feather wear" is just subjective. Perhaps behavior is a better indicator? I do not know, but wonder if a wild bird would spend more time on the ground, while an "escaped bird" scared of the wild, would spend more time in trees?

While walking around town, I found a male Evening Grosbeak east of 10th and Main Streets.

On the way back through Denver, I stopped at Red Rocks Park (Jefferson). The four "Zonotrichia" sparrows were found (Golden-crowned, Harris's, White-throated & White-crowned) as well as the Curve-billed Thrasher.

Also observed were a "gray form" Fox Sparrow, 2 male and a female Lazuli Bunting, 8+ Spotted Towhees, many Western Scrub-Jays and Mountain Chickadees.

I have been "discussing" for several months now with two forest rangers on whether birds become dependent upon bird feeders. While I believe that they only supplement their diet at feeders and are not dependent, I may have to change my thinking. These uncommon birds to Colorado have now been at the Red Rocks Park feeders since late October, 2010. One does have to wonder if there was not a daily renewed supply of birdseed; would these birds not have moved on to "wherever"?

Grouse Trip Day 4

May 9, 2011

Richard Stevens:

The CoBus group found only 11 Gunnison Sage-Grouse at the Waunita Hot Springs (Gunnison County) lek this morning. We did not stay at the Overlook, but scoped the lek from far to the south (thus avoiding have to stay for a long period of time).

It took only 10 minutes to relocate the American Three-toed Woodpecker at Monarch Pass (Chaffee). Look around the second pullover below the pass, there are many trees and a snag being worked over by the bird(s).

Our next stop was Temple Canyon State Park (Fremont) accessed from Parkdale. Several Pinyon Jays were observed flying over the road into the park.

At the prescribed locations, we found 2 Gray Vireos and a Gray Flycatcher. A flock of Evening Grosbeaks was near the western entrance. A Black-throated Gray Warbler was north of the stream outside of the entrance. Just inside of the entrance, we found 2 Juniper Titmice.

After seeing a Curve-billed Thrasher at a private yard in Canon City, we drove along the Swallows Road (Pueblo) at the west side of Pueblo West. We found another 2 Curve-billed Thrashers and our target bird, a Scaled Quail.

Shrikes (Northern or/and Loggerhead) and Sage Thrashers were not found.

We stopped briefly at Pueblo Reservoir, did not see the Laughing Gull reported previously.

A drive down Burnt Mill Road (Pueblo) did not find Black Phoebes or Eastern Phoebes (both of which have been reported to nest in the area.

Rye Mountain Park added 3 species of nuthatches to our day list. However, no Ovenbirds were found (also reported to nest in the area).

An hour before dark, we parked at South Creek Trailhead. No owls or Three-toed Woodpeckers were found up about 0.5 miles of St. Charles Trail. A Dusky Grouse flew across the road near the South Creek Trailhead.

After dark, we heard 2 Northern Saw-whet Owls at South Creek. We then drove down (north) to Davenport Campgrounds where a Flammulated Owl called. Ophir Creek and Smith Creek Campgrounds were quiet.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Grouse Trip Day 3

May 8, 2011

Richard Stevens:

The CoBus group walked the Devil's Kitchen trail in the Colorado National Monument (Mesa) at first light. The Black-chinned Sparrow was heard calling down along the wash.

Gambel's Quails and Black-throated Sparrows were found just outside of the park entrance.

Additional sightings in the park included a Gray Vireo and Gray Flycatcher along the trail north of the Visitor's Center.

Pinyon Jays, Juniper Titmice and Black-throated Gray Warblers were found in the Campgrounds.

No Scott's Orioles were found in Rabbit Valley (south of I70). However, a male Scott's Oriole was found in the canyon along CR M.6 about 300 yards south of CR 0.8.

A Chukar was finally found in Escalante Canyon (Delta). The gallinaceous bird was walking in the rocky hillside north of the main road and 20 yards west of the cattle guard west of the old goat ranch. No Black Phoebes were found anywhere along Escalante Creek.

Confluence Park was slow. The Least Tern reported the day before was not relocated.

Fruitgrower's Reservoir added 3 Red-necked Phalaropes and an American Bittern (cattails at east end) to the trip list. Two Lewis's Woodpeckers were found in the tall cottonwoods next to Evelyn Horn's home below the dam (west of the reservoir).

At dusk, a drive along the south rim self-auto tour at Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park (Montrose) added 2 Dusky Grouse to the trip list.

Grouse Trip Day 2

May 7, 2011

Richard Stevens:

At sunrise, 8 Sharp-tailed Grouse were seen at the 20 Road Leks south of Hayden (Routt County). A quick stop at the 80 Route Road confirmed that the road was still not passable even with a 4 wheel drive vehicle.

The long detour to Oxbow Wildlife Area (Moffat) was fruitful. Three Sage Sparrows were observed singing atop the sagebrush.

A stop at Cameo (Mesa) did not find any Chukar and the trip continued up the Grand Mesa (Mesa).

A dusk, Powderhorn Ski area was combed for American Three-toed Woodpeckers and owls. About 30 minutes after sunset. A Northern Pygmy-Owl was found behind the building at the entrance to the ski area!

A Boreal Owl was relocated where Leo Miller had heard one the night before (at the Mesa Trailhead). Like the night before, the Boreal Owl called spontaneously. Another 2 Boreal Owls were heard along pullovers south of the Spruce Grove Campgrounds. Both of these were calling with the aid of a recording.

Start of Another Grouse Trip

May 6, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Another Grouse Trip sponsored by the Colorado Birding Society started today.

The first stop was Loveland Pass (Clear Creek County). A walk down to the ragged rocks below the eastern side of the Summit at Loveland Pass found 2 White-tailed Ptarmigan!

The next stop was the Blue River Water Treatment Plant (Summit). No Barrow's Goldeneyes were there.

A few Brown-capped Rosy Finches were found in Summit County and the trip continued North. No Rosy Finches were found in Kremmling (Grand). A stop at Windy Gap Reservoir found 8+ Barrow's Goldeneyes among a dozen Common Goldeneyes. A few California Gulls few around. Common Mergansers, Eared Grebes and American White Pelicans were also on the lake.

A female American Three-toed Woodpecker responded to a recording at Rabbit Ears Pass (Grand). The best location is up the maintenance shed road. A flock of 8 Red Crossbills made a brief stop and continued south. No White-winged Crossbills were among them.

After sunset, 30+ Greater Sage-Grouse visited the lek along Jackson County Road 26, north of Highway 14 (road goes north from around hwy 14 mile marker 19).

Continued Owling Trip

May 4 to 5, 2011

Richard Stevens:

After getting a few hours sleep (camping in Estes Park), Bryan and I continued our owl search this time in Douglas County.

Along the trip, we stopped at Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas). We stood at the end of Plum Creek Delta and watched 3 Snowy Egrets along the creek. Within 15 minutes, the Tricolored Heron walked out of the willows and gave us a brief but good look!

We then continued to Highway 67 and Deckers Road. We stopped about every 0.2 miles (from where the paved hwy 67 has a detour spur that is gravel and played a recording. Only one Northern Pygmy-Owl answered tonight. It was before midnight and recording on 5/4.

No owls called from midnight to 5:00 am and we returned to Denver.

Before heading for home, Bryan and I stopped at Red Rocks Park (Jefferson County). We recorded the 4 "Zonotrichia sparrows" (Golden-crowned, Harris's, White-throated & White-crowned) and the Curve-billed Thrasher, and then totally exhausted, we steered toward home.

Testing An Owl Theory

May 2-4, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Monday into Tuesday night (5/2 into 5/3)
After visiting Cherry Creek Reservoir, I picked up Bryan Ehlmann and we headed to Larimer County.

Bryan Ehlmann and I wanted to test a rumor that we heard that Northern Pygmy-Owls do not call after dark. We also wanted to see if any Flammulated Owls had returned to Colorado. Again, a rumor out there said that they might be back, but would not call.

Summary: We enticed both Flammulated Owls and Northern Pygmy-Owls to respond to our recordings!

We knew that Pennock Pass was closed (gated near the ranger's station). However, we drove up, parked at the gate, and continued on foot for an owl search and camping trip.

At a nesting spot I have known about for several years now, we lured two Flammulated Owls into responding to our recordings. We played them for less than 15 seconds before two owls called. As a known nesting site, we did not use a spotlight to look at them but were satisfied with registering their presence!

On the way to a camping area, we heard a third Flammulated Owl calling spontaneously. He was a good 0.6 miles from the others.

It was a cold night (temperatures into the 20s); however, there was little wind. The sliver of the moon provided almost no light.

Tuesday into Wednesday night (5/3 into 5/4)

After a few hours of sleep, Bryan and I headed to Estes Park and the Rocky Mountain National Park (Larimer County).

In the last three hours of daylight, we hiked up the Cow Creek Trail. First, we detoured north from the trail at the west side of the research cabins. First, we ran into an American Three-toed Woodpecker. Several hundred yards up the trail, we ran into a Williamson's Sapsucker!

We then continued west to the intersection of the six trails (about 1 mile west of the parking area). Then we continued down to Cow Creek and continued south searching for Flammulated Owls and Northern Pygmy-Owls.

We found neither and started back to the parking area. Along the way, we did hear a Northern Pygmy-Owl called spontaneously. He was in a potential nesting area so we will be vague on the exact location.

We drove to the YMCA of the Rockies where we enticed another Northern Pygmy-Owl to answer our recordings. This was in a private yard where Northern Pygmy-Owls nested two years ago (again being vague to protect the nesting owls).

Cherry Creek Reservoir Mudflats

May 2, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I returned to the mudflats off the bird observation platform, Prairie Loop at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County). The mix of shorebirds changed about every 15 minutes.

The final count was:
Marbled Godwit (19)
Willet (41)
Semipalmated Plover (3)
Baird's Sandpipers (8)
Semipalmated Sandpipers (21)
Western Sandpipers (3)
Least Sandpipers (2)
Wilson's Phalaropes (51 in two flocks)
Red necked Phalarope (1, in larger of two flocks of WIPH)
Blue winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Green winged Teal
Virginia Rail
Bonaparte's Gull
Franklin's Gulls
No Dowitchers

I could not find the Neotropic Cormorant at the southwest corner of anywhere else for that matter.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Jefferson and Arapahoe County Birding

May 1, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Kathy Boxman and I birded Reynolds Park (Jefferson County). First, we listened for Common Poorwill at the western end of the west parking area. None called this morning.

Then we made the loop Elkhorn Trail to Raven's Roost Trail to Oxen Draw Trail back to the parking area. It was quite birdy this morning.

A male Williamson's Sapsucker was observed along the Raven's Roost Trail at 200 yards south of the old Service Road. 200 yards farther south we saw a Dusky Grouse walk across the trail.

Continuing south, we found 3 species of nuthatches, Pine Siskins, six Red Crossbills, Townsend's Solitaires, Mountain Chickadees and plenty of American Crows and Common Ravens.

On the way back down the Oxen Draw Trail, a female American Three-toed Woodpecker was seen about 25 yards south of the intersection of the three trails (Eagle's View, Raven's Roost & Oxen Draw).

A quick stop at Red Rocks Park found the Curve-billed Thrasher, Golden-crowned Sparrow and 2 White-throated Sparrows. We did not hang around long and missed the Harris's Sparrow.

After dropping Kathy off, I decided to drive over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County). It was still quite cold (temperatures in the low 50s, winds 5-8 mph). Mostly, I was enjoying standing around the bird observation platform at the Prairie Loop and not being in snow.

For the past two days, we have been driving around in semi-blizzards searching for grouse and owls. On two trips over Cameron Pass (Jackson/Larimer) we barely could see the front of the car. That was the fifth time in two weeks where there were heavy snowstorms over the pass.

At Cherry Creek Reservoir, I not only enjoyed the lack of snow, but shorebirds were quite numerous. I counted: at least 17 Marbled Godwit, 69 Willets, 1 Whimbrel, 49 American Avocets, 2 Long-billed Dowitchers and 6 Snowy Plovers! Off in the distant east, a pair of Clark's Grebes swam near the shore.

Eight or so Bonaparte's Gulls were around the southwest marina. I did not see the Neotropic Cormorant.

Two Day CoBus Owl Trip

April 29, 2011

Richard Stevens:

An out of state birder and I headed for Cameron Pass on an owling trip. Initially six other Colorado birders were to join us. Predictions of much snow required me to ask the Colorado birders to try another time. The out of state birder had no choice but to try on his short trip.

On two trips over Cameron Pass (Jackson/Larimer) we barely could see the front of the car. That was the fifth time in two weeks where I ran into heavy snowstorms over the pass.

We missed Greater Sage-Grouse on Friday evening, but returned to Jackson County Road 26 and watched 32 males display for 10 females! Friday, many birds visited the feeders behind the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center. These included Brown-capped Rosy Finches, Pine Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, Cassin's Finches and a few other species.

Friday night we returned to Cameron Pass after a two hour delay because an 18 wheeler had jack knifed and turned over coming down the Jackson County side. We eventually found 3 Boreal Owls!

April 30, 2011

An out of state birder and I searched for Northern Pygmy-Owl and Flammulated Owls after driving through a snowstorm over Cameron Pass.

We did find an American Three-toed Woodpecker at Cow Creek north of Estes Park. It was 40 yards up the trail that leads north of the west side of the research cabins. No Williamson's Sapsuckers were located. No owls were found either.