Sunday, March 18, 2012

First Full Grouse Trip of 2012

First Full Grouse Trip of 2012 (March 13-19)

Transcribed phone calls (Richard Stevens):

Because of an injury, Bryan Ehlmann took over my grouse trip. Seeing the results, I do not believe the four birders are disappointed!

March 13th
Their trip started by finding Rosy Finches, Clark's Nutcrackers, Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks and a few additional mountain species in Summit County.

Unfortunately, they missed White-tailed Ptarmigan on Loveland Pass (Clear Creek).

Bryan Ehlmann and all relocated ROSY FINCHES (Ehlmann, 12/6) and a WHITE-THROATED SPARROW (Dodson, 2/1) at the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center. Their birding day ended by relocating GREATER SAGE GROUSE (Stevens, 2/29) up County Road 26.

March 14th
The grouse trip continued before sunrise this morning at the 20 Mile Leks south of Hayden. Shortly AFTER sunrise, three Sharp-tailed Grouse were found displaying on the west side of 27 Road (Still strange that the locals call the road 20 Road?).

They continued west and drove to Oxbow State Trust Lands (Moffat). The STL is closed until August 15th; however, the area can be scoped from the parking area. A Sage Sparrow popped out of the sagebrush for them. A flock of 6-8 Pinyon Jays flew around the Junipers on the north side of the highway.

On the way back to Craig, a Ferruginous Hawk flew across the highway.

No Chukar were found at Coal Canyon (Cameo, Mesa County).

They had better luck on the Grand Mesa (Mesa). While they could not find an American Three-toed Woodpecker at the Powderhorn Ski Area, a Northern Pygmy-Owl was a great consolation prize!

Later, they heard 3 Boreal Owls along Highway 65 (Grand Mesa Highway) at pullovers just south of the Spruce Grove Campgrounds.

March 15th
The group drove through the Colorado National Monument (Mesa) this morning. Driving from the southern (eastern) entrance to the northern (western) entrance, keeps the sun at ones back during the drive.

Gambel's Quail were found around the homes just outside of the eastern entrance. Few birds were found during the drive through the Colorado National Monument (as expected this early in the season).

They did find Juniper Titmice and a few Pinyon Jays at the Campgrounds.

Bryan and all enjoyed much better fortunate than I on a drive through Escalante Canyon (Delta). I have missed Chukar on my last 9 days of searches (about 45 hours duration). Congratulations guys!

They found a Chukar walking on the north side of the Escalante Canyon Road between the old goat farm and the first cattle guard to the west!

Later, they found a Black Phoebe along Escalante Creek, east of Sentinel Rock.

They stopped at Fruitgrower's Reservoir (Delta) and saw few birds. Then they found two Lewis' Woodpeckers west of the Horn residence below Fruitgrower's Reservoir in Delta County.

Thirty minutes before sunset they saw a Dusky Grouse along the south rim drive at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park Montrose County. Grouse was just west of the campground entrance road.

The south rim drive cannot be driven to its west terminal because of snow (best place to look for Pygmy owls).

March 16th
Bryan Ehlmann and all found several Gunnison Sage-Grouse at the Waunita Hot Springs Lek outside of Gunnison (Gunnison County).

They stopped and looked for the American Three-toed Woodpeckers at the Monarch Pass Rest Stop; without success.

A drive along Swallows Road west of Pueblo Reservoir (Pueblo County) found Scaled Quail and a Curve-billed Thrasher.

Perhaps the bird of the trip was found when they drove the north side of John Martin Reservoir (Bent County). A birder gave them directions to a Snowy Owl that had been around for several days!

At dusk, they heard two Western Screech-Owls at Cottonwood Canyon (Baca County). They continued to Elkhart, Kansas.

March 17th
Ehlmann and all saw 6+ Lesser Prairie-Chickens at the Elkhart Lek and then returned to Colorado.

Returning by way of Baca County Road G was a good choice. They found Vesper Sparrows across from the old Campo Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lek road. A Cassin's Sparrow was found as they walked south along the first dirt tracks east of the same entrance. A Burrowing Owl had been seen farther east.

At Baca County Road G and 36, they got their first look at Colorado's State Bird. A male Lark Bunting flew around the farm here.

They detoured back to Cottonwood Canyon where Rufous-crowned Sparrows, an Eastern Phoebe, Lewis's Woodpecker, Canyon Towhees, Chihuahuan Ravens and Mountain Bluebirds were added to their trip list.

Two Buttes Reservoir had only a few birds. Most notable was a Barn Owl and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker.

After dark, they relocated an Eastern Screech-Owl below the Bonny Reservoir dam (Yuma County).

No comments: