Thursday, March 8, 2012

80 Route Leks, A long hike

March 6, 2012

Our adventure this morning had a time limit. We hiked up 80 Route to Jimmy Dunn Gulch State Trust Lands. Note this area is State Trust Lands which are different from Wildlife Areas (makes it a little more difficult to find information on it).

We wanted to see if grouse were displaying along the 80 route yet. Because we wanted to catch any birds while still on the lek, we had to get to the leks before an hour or so after sunrise.

Our plan was to hike past Jimmy Dunn Gulch, wait until civil twilight and then return to the Dusky Grouse displaying site (which would mean that it would be too late to see them).

Half a dozen Sharp-tailed Grouse were running around Jimmy Dunn Gulch! Most a hundred yards up from the entrance.

Later we found four Greater Sage-Grouse at their lek south of Jimmy Dunn.

As predicted, the Dusky Grouse were not near their usual place (2nd cattle guard up 80 Route).

Note: Vehicle access was only to the first hill up 80 Route Road. In all, we "hiked" 10 miles round trip.

The rest of the day was spent exploring Routt County. We search unsuccessfully for Rosy Finches at ranches where they had been reported in past years.

We saw Sharp-tailed Grouse tracks at several locations, however no birds.

After dark, we searched "historical locations" for Boreal Owls near Steamboat, without success.

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