Saturday, June 18, 2011

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.

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