Monday, February 27, 2012

Northeastern Plains Trip

February 24, 2012

Rebecca Kosten for Richard Stevens:

High winds continued on the northeastern Colorado Plains. Today we ventured into Nebraska in search of wintering Eastern Meadowlarks (none found).

A drive to Lake McConaughy for gulls was a bust. High winds probably kept them out of sight. We did see dozens of Bald Eagles. We thought a Northern Goshawk was uncommon here.

February 23, 2012

Snowed at 2:00 am

It started snowing about 2:00 am. The area did not receive as much as what Denver did; however, the snow did cover the grass.

Bryan Ehlmann, Roger Danka and I headed over to the southern sections of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) before sunrise.

We hiked to the northern section of the south Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area. Many animal tracks were visible in the snow. Ring-necked Pheasants and a Greater Prairie-Chicken eventually were found near Logan County Roads 46 and 89!

Years ago, the resident Ranger suggested this area especially after a dusting of snow. Today did not disappoint us.

We hiked around the southern section of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area west of Highway 55, south of I76. Few birds were found. Twelve+ Lapland Longspurs became the highlight.

Duck Creek, Atwood and Dune Ridge Wildlife Areas had few birds. Lapland Longspurs and a few Dark-eyed Juncos were just about it.

Our birding day ended by listening to Eastern Screech-Owls back at Roger's ranch.

February 22, 2012

Our luck ran out in regard to the wind. Today winds measured 20-22 mph with gusts to 35 mph.

After walking around Roger Danka's ranch (Eastern Screech-Owl, Harris's Sparrow), we birded Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) late in the morning. High winds made finding any birds quite difficult.

Both a Lesser Black-backed Gull and Glaucous Gull were the highlights of the day! Several Greater White-fronted Geese and many Ross's Geese were also around Jumbo Reservoir.

Later, we hiked along the South Platte River at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area from Hwy 55 to Logan County Road 93. Because the river is downhill from I76, winds were much quieter here.

Several Red-bellied Woodpeckers were found at East 1 and West 1 sections. A male Northern Cardinal was just west of Tamarack Pond.

Other surprises included a Brown Thrasher East 7 and 2 Spotted Towhees East 6.

After dusk, an Eastern Screech-Owl responded to our recordings!

Back at Jumbo Reservoir, the Eastern Screech-Owls could not be coaxed into sight this evening. No Short-eared Owls came out. We did not want to be in the high winds either.

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