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.


Anonymous said...

Where did you park, at the refuge or outside somewhere? I am very excited to see the action at pole 7.Thanks!

Anonymous said...

You can park at either end of Buckley Road. 56th avenue or 88th avenue. 88th avenue was closer.

Buckley Road is outside of Rocky Mountain Arsenal. It runs along the east side from 56th to 88th avenues.

Richard Stevens