Thursday, March 22, 2012

First Grouse Trip of 2012 (Part 2)

March 18, 2012

Richard Stevens (transcribed telephone calls)

Bryan Ehlmann took over my trip when I was bitten by a Recluse Spider last week.

Bryan Ehlmann and all found six+ Greater Prairie-Chickens at the Yuma County Road 45 Leks this morning.

Weather was crazy. Temperatures in the 50s, winds were 30 mph with gusts to 62 mph. Eventually, grass fires along Highway 36, shut down most of that highway. This included one of the "new" Greater Prairie-Chicken leks that Bryan and I checked out last week.

A Snowy Owl report came in last night and I forwarded it to Bryan. They changed plans and spent most of the morning and early afternoon searching for the owl. It had been seen for several days, south of CR 45 and west of Highway 385.

Finally, not having any success in locating the owl, they headed north into Phillips and Sedgwick Counties. Not much was found at Sand Draw Wildlife Area (continued strong winds did not aid in their searches).

They waited at the southern section of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) for Short-eared Owls. None showed up this night.

After dark, they were led to a pair of Eastern Screech-Owls at Roger Danka's ranch where they spent the night.

March 19, 2012

A stop at Jumbo Reservoir did not find any unusual gulls or birds for that matter. They continued west in search of longspurs and possible Mountain Plovers (although excessively early for the plovers).

A Long-eared Owl was one of the few birds found at Crow Valley Campground (Weld County). They did relocate the female Red-bellied Woodpecker that has been around since at least October 21.

McCown's Longspurs were found along Weld County Road 96 (north of Crow Valley Campground). They had to drive up to Highway 85 and Weld County Road 114 to find a Chestnut-collared Longspur (in field at southeast corner of intersection).

A detour to a friend's ranch added a Northern Saw-whet Owl to their trip list. Then they headed south back toward Denver. At sunset, two Short-eared Owls were observed flying over the cattails at the south end of Lower Latham Reservoir (Weld County Road 48).

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