Thursday, June 30, 2011

Yuma, Montezuma & Jackson County Updates

Instead of waiting a week for a bird trips to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current bird trips. Amy Davenport

June 29, 2011

Strong winds, hot temperatures experienced across Colorado today.

Yuma County
Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons conducted bird counts on private lands today. Afternoon winds of 18+ mph and temperatures of 101 did not aid in their effort. Best birds: Northern Cardinals (7), Fox Sparrow (eastern pair) and a Great Crested Flycatcher.

Montezuma County
Bryan and Sue Ehlmann birded in "cooler" temperatures, 88 degrees in the afternoon with 20+ mph winds. They found Black Phoebes are two locations.

Jackson County
Jerry Petrosky joined Richard Stevens for Boreal Owl surveys. No word yet on their all night/two day endeavor. Temperatures still reached 86 degrees in the mountains.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jackson and Yuma Counties

Instead of waiting a week for a bird trips to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current bird trips. Amy Davenport

June 28, 2011

The only reports I have this evening:

Before sunrise, Richard Stevens found two Greater Sage-Grouse along Jackson County Road 26. Later in the morning, Richard found an American Three-toed Woodpecker along the east side of Chambers Lake.

Washburn reported from Bonny Reservoir in Yuma County: Great Crested Flycatcher (west of Foster's Grove Campgrounds) and Eastern Screech-Owl (farther west). Washburn relocated a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and two Red-bellied Woodpeckers north of Hale Ponds.

Larimer, Prowers and Montezuma Counties

Instead of waiting a week for a bird trips to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current bird trips. Amy Davenport

June 27, 2011

At dusk, Richard Stevens and Rebecca Kosten found a Common Poorwill at Lory State Park in Larimer County. They found Flammulated Owls at three nesting locations. All were west of the Summit of Pennock Pass.

Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons dealt with heat and winds in Lamar in Prowers County. They found Northern Cardinals and a Red-bellied Woodpecker at Lamar Community College. Another Red-bellied Woodpecker, Mississippi Kites and Chimney Swifts were at Willow Park. Black Rails were found at the Lamar East BBS marsh.

Bryan and Sue Ehlmann relocated a pair of Lucy's Warblers at Yellow Jacket Canyon in Montezuma County. Yesterday, they found two Acorn Woodpeckers at Wildcat Canyon in La Plata County.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Aurora Reservoir & Rocky Mountain Arsenal Bike Rides

June 26, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I promised my feet not to put hiking boots on and have kept promise for past two days! I biked in sandals today (feet are happy)!

That will not last. BBS counts hindered by our favorite passes closed by snow.

Especially Marshall Pass, Boreas Pass, Cinnamon Pass, Georgia Pass, Cumberland Pass, Yankee Boy, etc. Lots of snow still up high.

This morning Bill Cryder and his wife, Rebecca and I biked around Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County). Bill watched a black backed Gull fly around Aurora Reservoir late yesterday afternoon. We did not relocate it this morning.

Highlights were few. We saw a Say's Phoebe in the southeast corner and an Eastern Kingbird around mile marker 3.5.

Late this afternoon after it cooled down to 85 degrees at 7:30 pm, Rebecca and I rode our bikes along Buckley Road from 88th avenue to 56th and back. We did not relocate the Cassin's Sparrows found a few days ago.

At least one Northern Mockingbird, several Lark Buntings, Bullock's Orioles, Lark Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, 1 Grasshopper Sparrow and 3 Burrowing Owls (both Denver & Adams County) were found.

I said at least one Northern Mockingbird because we are also watching a nest pair at a different location. Because the female (I assume) is sitting on a nest, the location will remain unnamed.

After a rather hot day, the cool evening was a pleasure!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Quick Trip to the Mountains, Clear Creek, Summit & Jefferson Counties

June 24, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Ian Reid contacted Rebecca at 11:00 PM Thursday. I read the email at 2:00 AM Friday and we took off for the mountains at 6:00 AM. It was one of the quickest trips put in motion.

Our first stop was Summit Lake on Mt Evans Byway (Clear Creek County). Two White-tailed Ptarmigan (a male & female) were located northeast of the pullover just north of the entrance to Summit Lake. They were approximately 500 yards east of the road. Many American Pipits and a few White-crowned Sparrows were observed. Misses included Brewer's Sparrows (Timberline?).

We walked the north side of Summit Lake and stood at the northwest corner for an hour. No Rosy Finches appeared. Three Mountain Goats did however.

While wandering around Summit County we found 1 Brown-capped Rosy Finch, 1 Pine Grosbeak, 7 Band-tailed Pigeons, 2 Clark's Nutcrackers, 1 Red Crossbill, many Pine Siskins, Red-breasted and White-breasted Nuthatches. We were quite fortunate as the Brown-capped Rosy Finch only stayed around for about 15 minutes.

Back at Echo Lake (Clear Creek), we walked the western and part of the southern sides. No American Three-toed Woodpeckers or additional Pine Grosbeak was found. A couple of Lincoln's Sparrow were at the northwest corner.

A walk around the Echo Lakes Campgrounds also was a bust. A few Broad-tailed Hummingbirds visited the feeders at the Echo Lodge.

Genesee Mountain Park (Jefferson) was our next stop. A male and female Williamson's Sapsucker were near the top of the park (south of the parking area). Many Pine Siskins flew around the group picnic area.

Our final stop was Mt Falcon Park (Jefferson). A couple of Green-tailed Towhees were below the hill (high point burn area). We found no Dusky Grouse, American Three-toed Woodpeckers or Northern Pygmy-Owls.

Buena Vista Area, Chaffee County

June 23, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Jerry Petrosky and I went owling in Chaffee County last night. We managed to hear two Northern Saw-whet Owls in BLM Land northeast of Buena Vista. BLM Land between Buena Vista and Salida was also not productive.

After a couple of hours of sleep, we relocated the Lewis's Woodpeckers found yesterday by Jeff S (sorry I do not know how to spell your last name). We could not relocate the Western Screech-Owls that nested last year.

Pinyon Jays were missed at the Buena Vista Overlook and the KOA Campgrounds below the overlook. We then drove Chaffee County Road 301 searching for them. None was found until we reached Ruby Mountain where 10+ Pinyon Jays were flying around.

Our only stop on the way back to Denver was Kenosha Pass, Park County. No Dusky Grouse were found; we did hear two Hermit Thrushes (would have preferred a Veery).

We hiked to the second gate to Twin Cone Peaks trail. A Williamson's Sapsucker and two Red-naped Sapsuckers were in the small aspen grove where the road turns from south to east.

Half a dozen Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, several Wilson's Warblers and a Yellow Warbler were also found. We headed back down the trail at dusk; no owls were found.

We had no better luck for owls across highway 285 at Kenosha Campgrounds.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Park, Montrose & Las Animas Counties

June 22, 2011

Rebecca Kosten: I do not have a google account and am using Richard Stevens’.

Richard Stevens and Jerry Petrosky continued their South Park birding. Yesterday afternoon, they found a male American Three-toed Woodpecker up Michigan Creek Road in Park County. It was in the woods near the traditional site (see CoBus website for details:

At dusk, they walked south up the road from the Three-toed Woodpecker site and saw two Dusky Grouse on the south side of the road near the switchbacks. After dark, they heard a Northern Pygmy-Owl between the grouse and the woodpecker.

This morning, they walked around Buffalo Springs Campgrounds, Park County and found a male Williamson's Sapsucker and Hermit Thrush.

Later they hiked a mile along Rough and Tumbling Creek located west of the Campgrounds. Five Red Crossbills, two Belted Kingfishers and three species of nuthatches all indicated nesting behavior.

The trio of reservoirs near Highways 24 & 285 was slow, no uncommon birds to report. Trout Creek Pass had another flock of Red Crossbills and a pair of Pine Grosbeak.

After dark, they found two Northern Saw-whet Owls on BLM near the Buena Vista Overlook in Chaffee County.

In other news: Bryan & Sue Ehlmann found a Black Phoebe along the San Miguel River, just south of the Uravan Bridge. Both a Broad-tailed Hummingbird and Black-chinned Hummingbird were also found in Montrose County.

Jacob Washburn & Ray Simmons found Hammond's Flycatchers and a Northern Saw-whet Owl at Lake Dorothey Wildlife Area in Las Animas County. No Acorn Woodpeckers reported.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Bike Ride Rocky Mountain Arsenal & Guanella Pass News

June 21, 2011

Rebecca Kosten; I do not have an account, therefore using Richard Stevens':

Amy Davenport and I rode bikes outside of the eastern side of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Buckley Road from 88th to 56th avenue and back. We enjoyed the trip very much and found some interesting birds. It turns out to be a good local place to see Lark Buntings in early summer.

We counted the telephone pole with the cross bar on top at the closed end of 88th avenue as pole 0. At pole 6, a Grasshopper Sparrow was photographed on the telephone wires; a second Grasshopper Sparrow on the fence on the western side of Buckley.

A Swainson's Hawk was eating a ground squirrel as he stood on pole 7. The highlight of the day was at pole 9. A Cassin's Sparrow was singing from the western fence. He flew up several times, sang, and displayed. There might have been a second Cassin's Sparrow on the east side of the road. I believe that both sides of Buckley Road here are in Adams County.

Several male Lark Buntings were also singing and displaying both west and east of Buckley Road. Vesper Sparrows, two Say's Phoebes and many Western Kingbirds were in the eastern field.

Just south of the cement barrier about 1.5 miles south of 88th avenue, we found a Northern Mockingbird. Here the west side of the road is in Adams County while the east side is in Denver County. The Mockingbird flew to both sides of the road. It was here that we found our first Burrowing Owl in Adams County.

As we continued south additional birds included two Red-tailed Hawks, 1 Ferruginous Hawk, a pair of American Kestrels, many Western Kingbirds. We tried to check each of the Western Kingbirds for a Cassin's Kingbird.

We found our first Bullock's Oriole in the taller trees across from the old Eagle Watch Bunker. Farther south, we counted another nine Bullock's Orioles. A Northern Mockingbird was found on a nest south of the Bunker.

Another great find that I am not willing to post to "cobirders". While we watched three coyotes through a scope behind the bunker, we noticed a shorebird. Thinking it was a Killdeer even though it appeared too tall, I put the scope on it. It was an Upland Sandpiper!!! We watched it for about 8-10 minutes before it disappeared over the hill. This hill/ridge was north of the bushy area, with fences on either side, north of the Eagle Watch Bunker. I do not want to give birders hope that it can be relocated since it went over the ridge. If anyone does relocate it, I would be happy to hear about it!

Eventually we found two Burrowing Owls in Adams County and two in Denver County. This number is way down from past years. We could not decide if this was due to the time of day (2:30 pm) or other factors. It was my first count along Buckley Road this year and counts early and late in the day will be required to get an accurate count of Burrowing Owls.

We found a third Northern Mockingbird just north of where the creek crosses under Buckley Road. There are more trees here, which provided cover for Yellow Warblers, an Orange-crowned Warbler, half a dozen Lark Sparrows, two Song Sparrows and a Great Horned Owl.

One final bird of interest, we finally found a Cassin's Kingbird along the eastern fence just south of the old pump area for the defunct mobile home court. It later flew into the taller trees east of Buckley. This spot is about 0.6 miles north of 56th avenue.

Another two Burrowing Owls were seen at the prairie dog town, 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue.

In other news:

Richard Stevens & Jerry Petrosky found two White-tailed Ptarmigan up the Rosalie Trail at the top of Guanella Pass (Clear Creek County). An American Three-toed Woodpecker, Red Crossbills and a pair of Pine Grosbeaks were found at the Guanella Pass Campgrounds.

Douglas, Arapahoe & Fremont Counties

June 20, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Today was rainy with cool temperatures in the low 70s. In between the rainfall, Rebecca Kosten and I searched for the Dickcissel reported yesterday by Hugh Kingery along the Walker Trail (Douglas County). The rains stopped for a while; however then the winds picked up (12+ mph, gusts 21+ mph). There was no sign of a Dickcissel for us.

On the way back home, we drove through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). A male Black-chinned Hummingbird was again east of the ranger's office. Caution, look close, there is also a male Broad-tailed Hummingbird in the area (mainly just north of the ranger's office).

We found no uncommon gulls or terns. I walked around the model airplane field area looking for an Arapahoe County Cassin's Sparrow; without success.

Two Burrowing Owls braved the winds and flew around the DIA Owl Loop (3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue).

In other news, Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons went down south to the Canon City area (Fremont). They relocated several Black-throated Sparrows near Williamsburg, and then continued west to Temple Canyon State Park.

Temple Canyon State Park was quite birdy. They reported Gray Vireo, Gray Flycatcher, Juniper Titmouse, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeak, Evening Grosbeak, two Pinyon Jays and a Common Poorwill.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in Greeley, Weld County

June 19, 2011

Richard Stevens:

On this cool Sunday afternoon, Rebecca Kosten and I went up to Glenmere Park in Greeley (Weld County). The Yellow-crowned Night-Heron was on a nest at the west end of the island. Just as interesting, we saw 2 Cattle Egrets and many Black-crowned Night-Herons and Snowy Egrets also.

I saw on the news that Greeley received golf ball size hail soon after we left town. I hope all the birds are okay!

On the trip back to Denver, we stopped at Barr Lake (Adams). I walked from the Visitor's Center (mile marker 9.0) to the boat ramp (mm 7.6). There were many more mosquitoes than birds.

Nesting is in full swing. I watched 3 females feeding young at their nests. Eastern Kingbirds, Western Kingbirds, Barn Swallows, Cliff Swallows and Bank Swallows were busy catching insects. House Wrens chattered away.

The few highlights included a male Black-headed Grosbeak around the banding area, a male Blue Grosbeak at the Pioneer Trail, and a Barn Swallow. The Barn Swallow was interesting because she or he was a good 50 percent bigger than the other dozen that join it.

Two Burrowing Owls were at the far western end of the field 0.3 miles north of Tower Road and 56th avenue. We never made it over to the DIA Owl Loop (Adams).

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Douglas & Elbert County Birds!

June 18, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Back on the birding trail, Rebecca Kosten and I drove down to Chatfield State Park. As soon as we exited the car, we heard two Cassin's Sparrows singing. One was quite far south of the intersection of the main road and the Old Plum Creek Road (Douglas County). A second bird was less than 10 yards north-northeast of the intersection.

A quick drive by the marina, found the Western Gull. We then headed to Castlewood Canyon State Park by way of Titan Road. I had just washed my car (later turned out to be a waste of time) and did not drive down the gravel/dirt road to Plum Creek Delta (where the Eastern Phoebes have reported to nest).

Bobolinks were still in the field along Castlewood Canyon Road, south of the Winkler Ranch entrance (Douglas). Lark Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, a Cordilleran Flycatcher (singing), Mountain Bluebirds, 2 Western Bluebirds (no Eastern) were also along the road.

Inside Castlewood Canyon State Park, we found Wild Turkey, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and Warbling Vireos. We could not find the reported Ovenbirds.

Our final destination was Elbert Road south of Kiowa (Elbert County). The weather was deteriorating rapidly. Winds started to pick up and clouds darken. Just before the rain started, we heard 2 (observed 1) Dickcissel about 4.0 miles south of highway 86. So much for a washed/clean car.

Point Counts on Eastern Plains & West Slope

June 10 through June 16, 2011

Richard Stevens:

While I was out of town, several surveys continued. Sightings were recorded to the CoBus phone line. Unfortunately, a dead cell phone battery did not allow us to recover the calls until recently. Most of the reports are now old; summaries of the reports do follow:

Jerry Petrosky:

On 6/10, Jerry heard Black Rails at the marsh northeast of Lamar. The marsh is located east of Prowers County Road 19 and south of CR II.

Jerry relocated a Piping Plover at Neenoshe Reservoir. A Least Tern was seen flying over Neesopah Reservoir. A pair of Chihuahuan Ravens was south of Neegronda. Both Upper Queens Reservoir and Lower Queens Reservoirs are dry.

Jerry found Mountain Plovers at two locations around Kit Carson (Cheyenne). The plovers appeared to be lying on eggs. One of the locations was along County Road 2 between Highway 94 and Hwy 40.

Cassin's Sparrows were recorded at three stops in Cheyenne County. They are being reported all over the state this summer.

On 6/11, Jerry counted birds in Yuma County at Bonny Reservoir, Hale Ponds and to the north. A male Northern Cardinal was found at the Foster's Grove Campgrounds. A Great Crested Flycatcher and Wild Turkeys were west of the Campgrounds. An Eastern Phoebe was west of the ranger's office.

At Hale Ponds, he found two Yellow-billed Cuckoos along the Republican River. Red-bellied Woodpeckers were west and south of the Hale Ponds. He heard a Northern Bobwhite, never saw it. Cassin's Sparrows were heard south of Hale Ponds.

On 6/12, early Sunday morning, Jerry found a pair of Eastern Screech-Owls at one of three locations where they have nested around Wray in the past.

Jerry looked for Greater Prairie-Chickens along Yuma County Road 45; none was found.

Jerry found a Townsend's Warbler at Wray City Park. After visiting a couple of "hot" birding feeders in Wray, he drove around east and north of Wray recording possible breeding birds. Best birds in Wray were Northern Cardinals at two homes and an eastern Fox Sparrow that has been around since early last winter (12/17/2010).

On 6/13, Jerry wandered around the Sandhills of Yuma County. His listed his highlights as a Greater Prairie-Chicken at County Roads 58 & Y and a quick trip into Phillips County.

The fields are again flooded along CR 2, which runs west from Highway 385. The southern side of the road is Yuma County, while the northern side is Phillips County. Highlights here were many shorebirds including several White-rumped Sandpipers!

Two additional Cassin's Sparrows were southwest of Clarkville. Blue Grosbeak, Loggerhead Shrike, a McCown's Longspur and Prairie Falcon were on his list.

On 6/14, Jerry started the day checking on two Greater Prairie-Chicken leks south of Yuma; no birds were found.

Jerry reported Grasshopper Sparrows and Cassin's Sparrows north of Akron (Washington). Three Dickcissels were found 5.5 miles east of Anton.

Flagler Reservoir in Kit Carson County was the birdiest. Jerry found 2 White-rumped Sandpipers and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker along the south end. Both birds are quite uncommon for the County.

On 6/15, Lincoln County was Jerry's focus. He reported an Eastern Phoebe at Karval Reservoir Wildlife Area and a White-throated Sparrow at Kinney Lake Wildlife Area. Blue Grosbeak, Loggerhead Shrike, Cassin's Sparrow, 2 Red-headed Woodpeckers and a Barn Owl at Kinney Lake were also listed.

On 6/16, conducting point counts across northern Lincoln and Elbert County today, Jerry Petrosky found Cassin's Sparrows on two state lands in Lincoln County and one in Elbert County.

Dickcissels were heard at two stops in Lincoln County. He ended his day along Elbert Road where 2+ Dickcissel were found south of highway 86.

Bryan & Sue Ehlmann:

During the same time, Bryan and Sue Ehlmann surveyed Breeding Areas in North Park to the western Colorado border. There highlights included:

On 6/10, Bryan and Sue found a Bobolink along Highway 40 (in Moffat County) as they drove toward the Yampa River Airport (Routt). A flycatcher caught their eye at highway 40 and the Elkhead River. It was singing and gave away its identity. A Least Flycatcher is a great find in Moffat County! Most of their day was spent trying to find access into the Elkhead Mountains. Our harsh spring weather limited that.

On 6/11, the Ehlmanns report their highlight today was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo found west side of Craig. An Eastern Kingbird was seen near the Maybelle Bridge. At the Snake River Wildlife Area, they reported Sage Thrashers, Vesper Sparrows, Black-throated Sparrow and a Sharp-tailed Grouse (at site recommended by the DOW).

On 6/12, early in the morning, the Ehlmanns reported a Greater Sage-Grouse and Sage Thrashers at the Brown's Park Wildlife Area. The Dinosaur National Monument was a bust. They reported a Western Screech-Owl and Gray Flycatcher late in the afternoon at DNM.

On 6/13,
The Ehlmanns heard a Northern Saw-whet Owl along Douglas Pass. Scott's Orioles were found a pair at Brewster's Ridge (Mesa County) and a male east of CR M.6 & South of 0.8 Road.

On 6/14, the Ehlmanns returned to the Colorado National Monument (Mesa). They saw two Black-chinned Sparrows up the No Thoroughfare Trail accessed from the Devil's Kitchen Trail.

Other sightings: Black-throated Sparrows, Pinyon Jays, Black-throated Gray Warblers, Gray Vireo, Gray Flycatcher and Black-chinned Hummingbirds. The Western Screech-Owl was relocated at Connected Lakes State Park. A Cassin's Kingbird was down the Glade Road.

On 6/15, the Ehlmanns relocated the Long-eared Owls north of Fruita. No evidence of young yet. It was a short birding day.

On 6/16, the Ehlmanns relocated Sage Sparrows up Mesa County Road 4. In the afternoon, they headed up the Grand Mesa. Owls heard: 1 Northern Saw-whet Owl, 1 Northern Pygmy-Owl, 3 Boreal Owls (3 Locations). A Dusky Grouse crossed the road before the switchbacks south of the town of Mesa. Wild Turkeys were at the Powderhorn Ski Area.

On 6/17,
The Ehlmanns reported 2 Flammulated Owls on the Uncompahgre Plateau, late tonight into Saturday morning.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Trips Around Colorado This Week 6/5-6/9

Instead of waiting a week for a bird trips to finish and getting reports, I will transcribe telephone reports of current bird trips. I will do my best. Amy Davenport

June 5 through June 9, 2011

Richard Stevens is out of town/state.

Jerry Petrosky has been conducting bird-breeding surveys in Las Animas and Baca Counties.

Jerry found nesting Hepatic Tanagers on two private ranches, one in Las Animas and one in Baca County. Cassin's Kingbirds show nesting behavior. Yellow-billed Cuckoos are nesting in the cool canyons in Baca County. Western Screech-Owls have been found in both counties.

On the plains in Baca County, Cassin's Sparrows are singing and performing their mating flights. In the evening, Short-eared Owls come out to hunt. They were seen at the Upland Bird Management Area and along County Road M between CR 25 and CR 32.

One private ranch has a pair of Vermilion Flycatchers attempting to nest. Will update if they succeed. They did fledge two young in 2002.

Some of the more interesting birds reported included:

A Lesser Prairie-Chicken was seen up the dirt track east of the old Campo lek.
An American Bittern and Indigo Bunting in Furnish Canyon
An Ovenbird and Gray Vireo in Cottonwood Canyon
Two reports of a male Painted Bunting have not been confirmed (Cottonwood Canyon & Furnish Canyon)
An Eastern Meadowlark calling at Turk's Pond.
A Lesser Nighthawk flying around Carrizo Mountain.
Red-eyed Vireo and Barn Owl at Two Buttes Reservoir.

Jerry headed north on Wednesday 6/8.
Northern Cardinals and Red-bellied Woodpeckers are residents at Lamar Community College in Prowers County.
A Yellow-billed Cuckoo called and was seen at Tempel Grove in Bent County.

Bryan and Sue Ehlmann are conducting bird-breeding surveys in North Park and west.

Boreal Owls were heard last weekend in the Colorado State Forest. There is much snow up there because of our stormy spring. Snowshoes were required to get to the nesting areas.

On 6/6, they extended the reported "lekking" season of Sharp-tailed Grouse at the 80 Route Leks in Routt County into June. Two Dusky Grouse were also found up the road.

They heard a Northern Saw-whet Owl at a GPS waypoint taken last year. Suspicions of nesting have taken their interest. The location is on private land and they are searching of permission to study the area further.

Sage Sparrows and Sage Thrashers are exhibiting nesting behavior at Oxbow Wildlife Area in Moffat County.

They ran into nesting a pair of Greater Sage-Grouse on State Trust Lands north of Craig. Vesper Sparrows, Brewer's Sparrows, Lark Sparrows, and Sage Thrashers are numerous on the scattered STL. Sage Sparrows less numerous but maybe due to difficulty in finding them.

Other interesting sightings included:

Two Ferruginous Hawk nests found.
Barn Owls found at two locations.
Western Screech-Owl found in northeastern Moffat County.
Common Nighthawk migration has reached Moffat County.
Four Black-throated Sparrows found west of Highway 13, 20 miles north of Craig.
A dozen Lark Buntings STL, north of Craig.
Blue Grosbeaks in pairs exhibiting nesting behavior in northwest Moffat County.
Black-headed Grosbeaks in high numbers.
Dozens of Lazuli Buntings in Moffat County.
A pair of Bobolink along Moffat County Road 4.
An out of place Pine Grosbeak along Moffat CR 2.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Another Trip Through Cherry Creek State Park

June 4, 2011

Rebecca Kosten (I do not have an account with this blog, using Richard's):

We had to go out and passed Cherry Creek State Park, Arapahoe County. When we saw a dark mantled Gull at the southwest marina, we stopped because no word yet on Chatfield State Park It was an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull. Two Forster's Terns were also on the poles marking the marina. Boats chased it away.

Later we saw it on the southeast sand spit. A dog walker chased it back to the west. We did not look at the swim beach; looked like many people are using it now that summer is here.

Burrowing Owls were again seen along the DIA Owl Loop. Two owls are very far back on the west side of Tower Road at 0.3 miles north of 56th Avenue. Another two Burrowing Owls were out of their burrows at the site 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue!

A Ferruginous Hawk and several Red-tailed Hawks fly by the 96th avenue site often. We wonder how many Burrowing Owls hide when that happens. We have no count of the number here, yet this year.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Cool Afternoon at Cherry Creek State Park

June 2, 2011

Rebecca Kosten: I am not signed up to write to this blog, so I use Richard's access.

Richard and I decided to go for a drive in the cool late afternoon after this hot day. We wound up at Cherry Creek State Park, Arapahoe County.

The male Black-chinned Hummingbird has returned behind the ranger's office. Hope he finds a mate as he expends so much time and energy flying around and searching for one. He delivered the goods a couple of summers ago; we kept an eye on a prosperous nesting. That is what in all likelihood brings him back to put forth so much effort.

We decided to go for a walk before the horde of mosquitoes comes out in a week or so? Too late, they are mounting assaults already. A hurried walk down the east side of the 12 mile beaver pond did not find any Green Herons. A male Blackburnian Warbler flew about in the tall cottonwoods southeast of the pond.

At the prairie loop, dozens of Common Grackles flew around the bird platform. We had to check it out, not seeing so many in the park before. We thought it was a late migration. However, ten yards west of the platform area, a Long-eared Owl stared at us! Cool, thanks to the Common Grackles for mobbing the area!

We could not find any Great Horned Owls at their usual locations. Stopped and asked a couple of campers, no one remembers hearing any after dark. I hope a few are still around; I miss their calls!

Yuma to Douglas Counties, A Long Day

June 1, 2011

Richard Stevens:

At first light, I checked the recently found Greater Prairie-Chicken lek in Yuma County. Three birds displayed before sunrise. I hurried over to the Yuma County Road 45 leks and found another two Greater Prairie-Chicken dancing. The late date for displaying prairie chickens has reached into June!

It was quite windy again today. Winds 18 mph with gusts to 27 mph. I was going to visit Bonny Reservoir when I received a text message about a probable Western Gull at Chatfield State Park (Jefferson/Douglas Counties). It would be a first state record; so I headed back to Denver (180 miles west).

When I arrived at Chatfield Reservoir, the adult probable Western Gull was lying on the beach at the marina sand spit. It stood up once and stretched its wings, allowing for a couple of good photos.

Later I met up with Bryan & Sue Ehlmann and Rebecca Kosten and we decided to search for the Flammulated Owl reported along the South Platte Trail (about 20 miles south of Sedalia).

On the way down, we stopped at Highway 67 and Rampart Range Road. A male and female American Three-toed Woodpecker were 10 yards north of Hwy 67, 0.1 miles east of Rampart Range Road.

After dark, we managed to find a Flammulated Owl and 2 Northern Pygmy-Owls (heard only). The Northern Pygmy-Owls were near previous gps waypoints. Only two of the four waypoints turned out to be productive.

Another Great Birding Day on the Northeastern Plains

May 31, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Today again, saw high winds. It stormed much overnight, which gave us hopes of many warblers. We did find a few, but were not in great habitat (riparian areas) most of the day. Our target birds included Eastern Meadowlarks (none was found).

Sand Draw Wildlife Area (Sedgwick) was rather birdy. Four or so hours were spent birding here. Two great warblers were found. We split into two groups; however, both groups found the two warblers.

A Pine Warbler worked the evergreen trees at the northwest corner of the Wildlife Area. While a Canada Warbler was found at the southwest corner!

Two or three Field Sparrows were seen along the eastern fence. A Lazuli Bunting was quite a surprise. One meadowlark stopped us for awhile. We eventually decided that it was a Western Meadowlark singing almost a perfect Eastern Meadowlark song.

DePoorter Lake near Julesburg is a puzzle. One sign indicates that some of the areas are closed. While if one enters from the southeast corner, there is an open gate? It any case, we explored the area at the old dump and along the South Platte River.

A Northern Bobwhite was below the larger fallen down logs. Jacob found a Magnolia Warbler in the taller cottonwoods at the southeast corner of the area. The only sparrows were 1 Song Sparrow and half a dozen White-crowned Sparrows.

A Northern Cardinal flew across the road from the Julesburg Visitor's Center. A Say's Phoebe hawked insects from the small group of trees here.

After visited two private ranches (Long-eared Owl, Fox Sparrow (eastern) and many House Sparrows, we ended out birding day at the Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop.

Two Chimney Swifts flew overhead. A Great Crested Flycatcher was along the South Platte River, south of the western entrance.

A male Baltimore Oriole and Red-bellied Woodpecker were at the end of the parking area. A Yellow-billed Cuckoo called from the taller cottonwoods at the western end of the property.

No Eastern Towhees or uncommon warblers were found.

Back to Logan County

May 30, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Today, Jacob Washburn, Ray Simmons, Roger Danka and I hiked most of the northern Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan). However, before sunrise, we did drive to the southern sections to look for prairie chickens and Sharp-tailed Grouse; without success.

No new sightings were recorded in the 7 hour trek. Highlights included: Bell's Vireos, Yellow-billed Cuckoos (2 Locations), Red-bellied Woodpecker (4 sections), 2 Field Sparrows, 2 male Northern Cardinals (2 Locations) and a female Northern Cardinal.

Winds were again quite strong 12-15 mph, gusts to 24 mph.

After sunset, we even relocated one of the resident Eastern Screech-Owls.

Another Day in Sedgwick County, Larger Group

May 29, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Today Roger Danka and I joined Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons and scoured Sedgwick County for birds.

Our first stop was Sedgwick Bar Wildlife Area (Sedgwick). The male Kentucky Warbler was deep in the same thick brush since Thursday! Two Red-bellied Woodpeckers worked the trees along the western border!

Ovid Woods was quite active along Lodgepole Creek this morning. Winds were mild until 10:00 am; then they picked up to 18 mph, with gusts to 26 mph. A male Magnolia Warbler was at the north end of the northern woods. While a Tennessee Warbler was farther south (across from Morgan Avenue).

A Brown Thrasher was in the southern woods (across from Monroe Avenue). A White-throated Sparrow was along the South Platte River, east of Lodgepole Creek. No Northern Cardinals were found in a drive around this small Colorado town.

The old Bean Factory has been closed for years now. The supervisor use to take me to the top of the building to see the Barn Owls that nested every year. The tower is still there, no way to see if any Barn Owls are there.

Julesburg Wildlife Area was also birdy. It is situated just south of Ovid and the S. Platte River (Sedgwick). We heard a male Northern Cardinal singing west of Sedgwick County 29 Road and the S. Platte River.

Then we hiked east as far as legal along the Platte River. Many sparrows included Brewer's, 1 Clay-colored, Lark, Lincoln's, Song and White-crowned. One Black-and-white Warbler and a Blackpoll Warbler were the warbler highlights. Several Warbling Vireos and a Red-eyed Vireo were also found. Another male Red-bellied Woodpecker was quite noisy!

In spite of quickening winds, we enjoyed success at Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick). While searching for Eastern Meadowlarks north of the eastern Campgrounds, Ray pointed out a Magnolia Warbler.

I found a Hooded Warbler hiding in the brush at the woods west of the northern Campgrounds.

The reservoir itself was slow. One Common Tern flew over the western side. No uncommon waterfowl or shorebirds were found (only a couple of Baird's Sandpipers at the northwest corner).

Jacob Washburn lagged behind and saw a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron in the cattails west and below County Road 95, southeast corner at Jumbo. Unfortunately, the rest of us could not relocate the bird in the hour we looked for it.

We visited two private ranches to pick up Long-eared Owls for Jacob and Ray. Went back to Jumbo Reservoir at dusk and got the Eastern Screech-Owl to call back briefly to our recording.

At Roger's ranch, we heard another two Eastern Screech-Owls.

Sedgwick County Birding

May 28, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Today I conducted point counts mostly in Sedgwick County. I drove most of the roads north and east of Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick Counties).

I did stop at Sedgwick Bar Wildlife Area (Sedgwick) and relocate the Kentucky Warbler I first found on 5/26. A couple of birders plan to head out tomorrow to see it. It is a nice male with fresh plumage, quite striking! A male Red-bellied Woodpecker was also still there.

High winds again reduced the number of birds flying around.

Stops at three private ranches did find a few interesting birds:
Bay-breasted Warbler
Magnolia Warbler (2 Locations)
Red-eyed Vireo
Long-eared Owl (nesting pair)
Mountain Plover (difficult find in Sedgwick County)

I ended my birding day with a hike at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan). Most of the interesting birds were previously found birds:
Bell's Vireo (1-2 West Section)
Yellow-billed Cuckoo (Tamarack Pond)
Black-throated Green Warbler (1 West)
Field Sparrow (2)
Red-bellied Woodpeckers
Eastern Screech-Owl (6-7 East)

There are a few Red-headed Woodpeckers (7+); it has been a few years since any have been around.

A Short-eared Owl flew around at dusk between Red Lion Wildlife Area and Jumbo Reservoir.

Logan County Birding

May 27, 2011

Richard Stevens:

My birding centered around Logan County today. There was quite a storm before sunrise. Temperatures were in the 70s; winds were quite strong 14-18 mph, gusts to 28 mph.

A quick stop at the cemetery in Sterling along Highway 6, I only spent about an hour here. High winds probably forced most birds to shelter themselves deep in the trees. An Upland Sandpiper was walking around the southeast corner? Strange location for the bird, for sure.

No Gray-cheeked Thrushes this trip, I did find a Veery and Blackpoll Warbler. The Veery seems quite a ways from its normal grounds?

On the way to Sterling Reservoir, I stopped at Overland Park. Both cuckoos have nested in the park in the past. I was able to heard one Yellow-billed Cuckoo. It took quite a while to put binoculars on him (hiding in the wind blown leaves, cottonwoods along the S. Platte River).

While searching for cuckoos, I relocated the Philadelphia Vireo reported by Severs on 5/25. A Purple Martin flew over the South Platte River at Highway 6. I know of at least two additional reports of Purple Martin in the same area in the past 10 days. Perhaps Purple Martins are nesting somewhere in Sterling. It is something to explore at another time.

No Black-billed Cuckoos were found. I hope that it is just too early in the year and they will show up. Another reason to return to Sterling.

In all, I wandered around North Sterling Reservoir for 6 or more hours. Unfortunately, most of the northern, western and southwest parts of the reservoir are surrounded by private land. Signs indicate the even some of the land under the water is private.

In short, the highlights were another Yellow-billed Cuckoo, a Summer Tanager (Hilltop Point) and Blackpoll Warbler (Elks Campgrounds). Half a dozen medium sized terns flew around the west side, too far away to identify. None was large enough to be a Caspian Tern. No uncommon gulls were found.

Another Yellow-billed Cuckoo was found while I hiked the southeast end of the reservoir. A Magnolia Warbler was with a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers. A walk along the intake canal was unproductive today.

Driving Logan County Roads 29 and 27, which go toward the south end of the reservoir, was not productive. On the drive out, one or two Dickcissel were seen along County Road 46, east of CR 37.

My birding day ended at Sedgwick Draw. No Short-eared Owls flew around. An Eastern Screech-Owl was at the woodlot east of there.