Thursday, April 26, 2012

April 25, 2012

Richard Stevens:

I did not have a large amount of time today (preparing for another grouse trip for tomorrow).  Bryan Ehlmann and I did hike below the dam at Barr Lake (Adams County).  The search for the Long-eared Owl and Ash-throated Flycatcher (of 4/22) was not successful.

We passed through Cherry Creek State Park (Arapahoe) and stopped briefly at the southwest marina.  The only gulls were a few Ring-billed Gulls.

Off the northern end of the Lake Loop, we found 3+ Bonaparte's Gulls and 3+ Franklin's Gulls.  The Laughing Gull was not picked out among the black headed gulls.

A Virginia Rail called when we stopped at the Cottonwood Creek Wetlands.  No Tricolored Heron reported since last Friday (4/20).

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

April 24, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I returned to Fort Morgan Ponds (Morgan County) for another search for the American Woodcock reported on April 22; again, we were unsuccessful. 

Brush Ponds Wildlife Area appeared to have few birds.  Then we drove to Brush Wildlife Area (Morgan).  A few interesting birds were found.  A male Northern Parula fluttered about the eastern side of the pond.

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker worked the northern border.  He led us to a female Red-bellied Woodpecker and a possible nesting tree.

No Eastern Screech-Owls were found today.

A pair of Eastern Bluebirds, a Wilson's Warbler and a Black-throated Gray Warbler was highlights at Last Chance Rest Stop (Washington).

A stop at the I70 Rest Stop near Byers did not find any uncommon birds.
April 23, 2012

Richard Stevens:

I received a report of an American Woodcock at Fort Morgan Ponds (Morgan County).  Rebecca Kosten and I headed northeast up Interstate 76.

Unfortunately, we did not find an American Woodcock at the ponds or along the South Platte River.  Our search was over 4 hours.  We walked from Fort Morgan Ponds to Riverside Park, then back along the River.

Later we visited Jackson Lake State Park (Morgan).  Gull numbers were low; nothing uncommon was found.  A Semipalmated Plover was observed from the Jackson Lake Wildlife Area. 

Dozens of American Robins roamed the western Campgrounds.  A flock of 14 warblers was all Yellow-rumped Warblers but one Orange-crowned Warbler.  At least one Long-eared Owl continues (we did not see evidence of nesting).

A Harris's Sparrow was found south of the Pelican Campground parking area.

At dusk, we heard an Eastern Screech-Owl calling.  Several Great Horned Owls called west of the Campgrounds.  No Short-eared Owls were seen while we stood north of the Campgrounds (historically this is a good location to find Short-eared Owls).

Monday, April 23, 2012

April 22, 2012

Richard Stevens:

At first light, I was searching for owls on a private ranch on the eastern plains (Weld County).  A second pair of nesting Long-eared Owl was found.  Yellow-rumped Warblers and a few Orange-crowned Warblers are starting to migrate north.  I have now found at least 7 successful Great Horned Owl nest sites.

A pair of Mountain Plover was along Highway 52, between Weld County Roads 77 and 79.  Several other fields suggested by friends as good Mountain Plovers still came up empty.

A stop at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (southern sections) found a Black-and-white Warbler in the taller cottonwoods along the west side.  The Hooded Warbler of last Friday was not relocated.

I timed a visit to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) for an hour before sunset.  Gulls usually return to the logs around the southwest marina at sunset.  While I did see several Bonaparte's Gulls, no Laughing Gull was found.

At the Belleview Wetlands (south of Cottonwood Creek Wetlands) 2 American Avocets, 3 species of Teal and a Least Sandpiper were observed.  Again, I did not find the Tricolored Heron (last reported and photographed on Friday).  It is believed to be a first county record (to be).

A Virginia Rail came out of the cattails, got a look at us and scurried back to safety.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Search for a Tricolored Heron

April 21, 2012

About 30 minutes before sunrise, I visited Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  My first stop was the southwest marina.  No black headed gulls stood on the logs around the marina.  Several Bonaparte's Gulls and a black headed Gull with no white in its wingtips flew below the dam and not far from the marina.  It certainly appeared to be an adult Laughing Gull.

Next, I circled the Cottonwood wetlands in search of yesterday's reported Tricolored Heron.  Two White-faced Ibis and a male Yellow-headed Blackbird were the highlights.

I worked my way south to the new Belleview wetlands (south of the Cottonwood Creek wetlands).  A Cattle Egret was at the northeast corner.  No Tricolored Heron was found.  The three species of teal were represented in about equal numbers.

Next, I searched at the bird platform area of the Prairie Loop.  A Black-crowned Night-Heron was along the creek.  A Long-eared Owl was west of the platform.  It would have gone undetected except that it called.

After abandoning a search for the Tricolored Heron, I drove to Pleasant Valley (Weld) to bird at a new friend's ranch (one of the bonuses of the Roggen Snowy Owl searches).  The Black-and-white Warbler and Long-eared Owls were still around.  At a nearby ranch, yesterday's Northern Parula was not relocated.

In the late afternoon, I returned to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Repeating the morning's searches, I never found the Tricolored Heron.  A Virginia Rail came out of the cattails at the southern side of the Cottonwood Creek wetlands.

The two White-faced Ibis appeared to move to the Belleview wetlands.  I walked from the wetlands to the Peoria Pond (about 1.3 miles south) and back.  A Great Blue Heron was the only heron found.  A Swainson's Hawk stood on one of the telephone poles along Peoria Avenue.

At sunset, I drove over to the southwest marina.  Not one Gull stood on the logs bordering the marina.  They appeared to be hunting for food over the lake.

At the Lake Loop, I found 6+ Bonaparte's Gulls, 7+ Franklin's Gulls and the Laughing Gull.  I was able to watch it for 20 minutes before dark.  It had an extensive black hood, no white in its wingtips (unlike the Bonaparte's and Franklin's Gulls).

The day was a fantastic Colorado Spring day!  Weather and birding were superb!

Saturday, April 21, 2012

Birding Eastern Denver Area

April 20, 2012

Richard Stevens:

What a fantastic spring day in Colorado!  Temperatures reached into the 70s; winds were mild most of the day.  I enjoyed a full day of chasing birds.

Tyler Donovan and I visited a couple of private ranches on the eastern plains.  Migration is starting to reach the Denver latitude.  Our best bird was a Northern Parula at a private ranch in Weld County.  At another ranch, we found a pair of nesting Long-eared Owls and a Black-and-white Warbler.

On the way back to Denver, we stopped at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area.  The northern sections are closed until July 15; however, birders can still wander around the southern sections (south of highway 52).

Best bird was a male Hooded Warbler with an Orange-crowned Warbler and 8-10 Yellow-rumped Warblers at the western windbreak.

The two Harris's Sparrows came by the feeders at the Star K Ranch Open Space (Adams).  A few Eurasian Collared-Doves and Mourning Doves offered an opportunity to see how much bigger the Eurasian Collared-Dove are in relation to the Mourning Doves.

After dropping Tyler off at his motel, I drove to nearby Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Six Bonaparte's Gulls and eight Franklin's Gulls were swimming off the Lake Loop.

Misses: I did not stop at survey the Cottonwood Creek wetlands where a Tricolored Heron was found earlier in the day.  Neither did I bother to check the southwest marina.

After receiving a phone call about a Laughing Gull at the southwest marina, I circled back (I was looking at Chipping Sparrows in the Campgrounds) to the marina.

A black headed Gull (photographed) was an adult Franklin's Gull.  During a 2 hour sit, no additional black headed gulls appeared.  The photos taken by Tom Bunker show that an adult Laughing Gull was there about 20 minutes before I was.

A lone male Yellow-headed Blackbird walked around the grass near the marina.  A male Say's Phoebe sang from the pole at the top of the marina office.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Ehlmann Grouse Trip Days 1-3

April 16-18, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann:

My grouse trip experienced a first. Today I had to drive one of the birders back to Denver from Grand Junction, Medical reasons, nothing too serious. We took the other two birders to Grand Junction airport to rent a car, and then returned to Denver.

Back in Denver this afternoon, Sue and I relocated the two Harris's Sparrows at Star K Ranch.

The Grouse Trip:

April 18th:

Ron Williams and Jason Britten visited the Colorado National Monument and used the rest of the day to search for a Scott's Oriole. Our Scott's Oriole early date for Mesa County is 4/20. State early date is 4/17. They did not find one.

The rest of their day:

Colorado National Monument:
Black-chinned Sparrow(s), Devil's Kitchen
Pinyon Jays, Campgrounds

Rabbit Valley
Chukar, first road going west, south of I70
Sage Sparrow, first road going west, south of I70

Jim Canyon
Northern Mockingbird
Scott's Orioles found several years in past, too early?

Black-throated Sparrows, second iron pipe gate

Mesa County Undisclosed Location
Long-eared Owl, 2

Private yard near Mack
Western Screech-Owl

Rest of our grouse trip so far, I head back early Thursday morning.

April 17th:

80 Route Leks, Routt County
Sharp-tailed Grouse, 12+
Greater Sage-Grouse, 8+
Golden Eagle

Oxbow State Lands
Sage Sparrow, 2
Sage Thrasher, 2

Rifle Rest Stop
Great-tailed Grackle

April 16th:

Loveland Pass
We missed White-tailed Ptarmigan in a several hour search

Summit County
Three species of Rosy Finches
Clark's Nutcrackers
Evening Grosbeaks
Pine Grosbeaks

Jackson County Road 26b Leks
Greater Sage-Grouse, 12+

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Douglas, Jefferson and Adams County Trip

April 17, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I headed to Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas County) to look for yesterday's reported Broad-winged Hawk. It was not found.

We did find a Western Wood-pewee and another flycatcher observed too briefly to identify along Castlewood Canyon Road (west side of the State Park). A few Turkey Vultures (no Black Vultures) circled overhead.

Then we circled Denver and stopped at Red Rocks Park (Jefferson). Birds were quite scarce. In our two hour sit except for a brief appearance of the Golden-crowned Sparrow, only 2 Spotted Towhees, 1 Song Sparrow, House Finches and Western Scrub-Jays were observed. The Fox Sparrow did not make an appearance.

We pass through the DIA Owl Loop on our trip home. A couple of Burrowing Owls were at the prairie dog village (3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue). No Short-eared Owls or other raptors found tonight.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Morning Around Adams County

April 16, 2012

Richard Stevens:

I circled the 8.7 miles around Barr Lake State Park (Adams County) this morning. Something I had not done in awhile because birding on the northwest side (mile markers 4 to 6) is not very productive.

Other than a few Bald Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks and a Swainson's Hawk birds were few and far between. It is still early in the season.

Highlights included a Broad-winged Hawk near mile 2.6. The sighting was unexpected and took awhile to "sink in" my mind. The Hawk flew toward mile 3.0, then turned around, and flew back south.

A Hermit Thrush was near the banding area. Water is high and there was no way to explore the area further.

An Osprey was on the nesting platform near the Pioneer Trail. It was unfortunate that they did not straighten the post when there was no water underneath it. I hope it does not fall down if the Ospreys decide to use it.

On the way to the DIA Owl Loop, I drove through the subdivision of homes at Picadilly Road and 120th avenue. My second Broad-winged Hawk of the day was observed there. It appears they are finally starting to migrate through Colorado!

Burrowing Owls were out at the prairie dog village at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue. No Lark Buntings yet.

The Harris's Sparrows were under the southern feeders at Star K Ranch Open Space (Morrison Nature Center) when I made a quick 5 minute stop.

A Short Drive Around Adams County

April 15, 2012

Richard Stevens:

While out doing chores, we passed Star K Ranch Open Space (Adams County) and of course had to stop. Both Harris's Sparrows visited the below the southern feeders (photos on Colorado Birding Society's photo library:

We searched the DIA Owl Loop for longspurs or possible Lark Buntings (Colorado State Bird). Neither species was found.

Two Burrowing Owls stood on the prairie dog mounds at the Village (3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue).

No hawks or Short-eared Owls were found.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jefferson and Adams County Birding

April 14, 2012

Richard Stevens:

My group went earlier than Bryan's did. At civil twilight, we searched unsuccessfully for Northern Pygmy Owls at Reynolds Park.

Hoping to find Dusky Grouse (did not find any) we hiked up the newest Eagle's View trail.

We found a male Williamson's Sapsucker along Raven's Roost Trail at 25 yards south of the old service road. An American Three-toed Woodpecker was heard drumming, however never observed.

A female American Three toed Woodpecker was along the Oxen Draw Trail north of the intersection with Eagle's View and Raven's Roost.

Trail maps at lower parking area.

I stopped by Star K Ranch on my way to Bryan's house. I wanted to ask if they were still seeing the Harris's Sparrow. Got my answer when getting out of my car, a Harris's Sparrow was under their feeders.

It did not look "right" as from previous visits. That was answered when a second Harris's Sparrow came out of the bushes. This one looked like the one seen on past visits.

Bryan Ehlmann email to "cobirders"

"Because we had eight birders, our trip was split into two locations. Rich Stevens took four birders to Reynolds and Pine Valley Ranch Parks while I took the rest to Red Rocks and Genesee Mountain Parks.

We had a successful trip. The Golden-crowned Sparrow came out within 5 minutes of our stop. A male Williamson's Sapsucker was drumming when we stopped at the Genesee Mountain Park group picnic area. Shortly thereafter, a female came out of the woods to the west of the building. We also found three species of nuthatches, a Brown Creeper, Pine Siskins and a flock of 6-7 Red Crossbills.

What happened to the rain and snow? Originally, we were going to Loveland Pass but the forecast changed our plans? Looks awful nice right now."

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Birding Around Arapahoe County (and some Adams)

April 13, 2012

Richard Stevens:

While out replenishing supplies, Rebecca Kosten and I stopped at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County). We joined Bill Cryder and walked down to the south end of the lake. Two Common Loons were observed through our scopes. Gulls were too far away to identify.

We headed to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). There is little shoreline. No shorebirds were found.

Burrowing Owls continue, as they will through the summer at the Prairie Dog Village at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th Avenue (Adams). No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.

Another Grouse Trip, Day Seven

April 12, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Another Grouse Trip, Seventh Day

We started the day with a quick stop at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan County). Our only possible target bird would have been a Bell's Vireo. It was a month too early; none was found.

The pair of Mountain Plovers was encountered at the burn at Highway 14 and Weld County Road 51. McCown's Longspurs were easy to see along CR 96 between CR 77 and CR 69.

We had to drive north to Highway 85 and CR 114 to find Chestnut-collared Longspurs. Two males performed their mating flights at the southeast corner (about 1/3 of the distance to the windmill to the southeast).

The long drive was made up to Estes Park and Cow Creek, Rocky Mountain National Park. We searched for Williamson's Sapsuckers at their usual location (trail leading north from the cabins, Aspens about 200 yards north); none was found.

We kept eyes and ears out for American Three-toed Woodpeckers; none was found. Flammulated Owls were searched for south of Cow Creek; none was found.

After civil twilight, we found a pair of Northern Pygmy-Owls on the hike back to our car.

The three guys were up for it and we headed to the western end of Pennock Pass. It was a fantastic night. Temperatures were in the 50s; winds were calm!

The hike up Buckeye Road (44H Road) from Pingree Park Road (Larimer) is 3.8 miles. It is uphill on the way to the summit; however, the return trip is an easy downhill walk.

We heard at least 3 Flammulated Owls and were able to put a spotlight on one of them. All four of us enjoyed the leisure walk. The air was filled with songs/calls of Cassin's Finches, Dark-eyed Juncos and Pine Siskins. We also picked out the drumming of a Three-toed Woodpecker.

Quite an enjoyable night, we arrived back at our car around 6:00 am. Several stops at the Campgrounds along highway 14 did not add additional owls to our trip list.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Another Grouse Trip, Day Six

April 11, 2012

Rebecca Kosten;

Another Grouse Trip, Six Day

Seventeen male Greater Prairie-Chickens displayed at the Yuma County Road 45 Lek. They continued well after sunrise.

The Group visited two friend's homes in Wray where five Northern Cardinals were photographed. The eastern Fox Sparrow that had spent the winter appeared to be gone. Then information that the sparrow had just moved three yards down was supplied and they were able to photograph the red race of the Fox Sparrow.

The only bird of note at Sand Draw Wildlife Area, Phillips County was a lone Field Sparrow singing on the eastern property fence.

Several hours were spent driving eastern Colorado and western Kansas in a futile attempt to find an Eastern Meadowlark or Sprague's Pipit. Both McCown's Longspurs and Chestnut-collared Longspurs were found during the drive.

Six species of gulls were seen at Lake McConaughy in Nebraska.

They had an ineffectual attempt to run down a Purple Finch sighting in Julesburg, near the Julesburg Elementary School. Another male Northern Cardinal was found flying north along Plum Street from 7th Street.

Two Eastern Screech-Owls and a Harris's Sparrow were seen at Roger Danka's ranch, Sedgwick County.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Another Grouse Trip, Day Five

April 10, 2012

Rebecca Kosten;

Another Grouse Trip, Fifth Day

The day started by watching Lesser Prairie-Chickens at the Elkhart, Kansas Lek.

Several Long-billed Curlews were seen as they returned to Colorado. The only Lark Buntings were found in Kansas, just south of Colorado. Temperatures were in the 70s, winds were mild.

Cassin's, Vesper, Brewer's and a Clay-colored Sparrow were found along Baca County Road G. The Cassin's Sparrows were singing and displaying on the gravel road that runs south from east of the old Campo Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lek road.

Two Burrowing Owls and a Curve-billed Thrasher were also seen along CR G as the group returned to highway 287/385. Ferruginous Hawk count was five before they reached highway 385.

No Mountain Plovers or Long-billed Curlews have yet returned to Pasture G, across from the Washington Work Center.

Glenn Martin found a Black-and-white Warbler with several Yellow-rumped Warblers at Turk's Pond Wildlife Area.

A drive along Baca County Road VV, between highway 287 and CR 30, south of Two Buttes Reservoir found a Mountain Plover.

Todd Peabody found a Winter Wren below the dam at Two Buttes Reservoir, Baca County. Several Wild Turkeys and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker remain in the area.

They skipped Lamar Community College, Prowers County. Birds probably had not changed much from yesterday's visit.

Instead, they rushed to Bonny Reservoir and Hale Ponds, Yuma County. A search for the Reeve reported on Sunday did not turn up the bird. A Northern Cardinal was at the Foster's Grove Campgrounds.

A Field Sparrow was seen in the trees along Yuma County Road 2, southern entrance to the once State Park, now designated as a Wildlife Area.

While searching for Long-eared Owls along the southern side of the reservoir, they found a male Red-bellied Woodpecker. No Long-eared Owls were found.

They stood around the eastern Hale Ponds at sunset. No Common Poorwills or other goatsuckers called or were found. The resident Eastern Screech-Owls did not call at dusk either.

A hike from highway 385 almost to Foster's Grove did find an Eastern Screech-Owl!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Another Grouse Trip, Day Four

April 9, 2012

Rebecca Kosten;

Another Grouse Trip Fourth Day

The CoBus group had a long day as they head to Kansas for Lesser Prairie-Chickens tomorrow.

Before sunrise, they relocated 12+ Gunnison Sage-Grouse at the Waunita Hot Springs Lek east of Gunnison.

They could not find Three-toed Woodpeckers at the Monarch Pass sites. Rest Stop pullover at top and the first pullover west of the Summit.

Only Richard was interested in the Least Bittern at Holcim Marsh, Fremont County. Three to one, the stop was skipped.

They relocated a Curve-billed Thrasher and Scaled Quail along Swallows Road, south of Highway 50, Pueblo West.

The four of them split up and hiked the northern side of Pueblo Reservoir. Both the Red-necked Grebe and Common Loon were relocated. Credit goes to Todd Peabody for the Red-necked Grebe find!

No Mountain Plover could be found along Bent County Road 10, south of Blue Lake.

Before dinner, they stopped at Lamar Community College, Prowers County. The Golden-crowned Sparrow and a male Northern Cardinal were relocated.

After dark, they heard a Barn Owl at Two Buttes Reservoir, Baca County.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Another Grouse Trip, Day Three

April 8, 2012

Rebecca Kosten;

Grouse Trip Third Day

The group started with a visit to the Colorado National Monument, Mesa County. Gambel's Quail were found outside of the eastern entrance. The eastern entrance is preferred as it keeps the sun at their back during the early morning drive.

They stopped at the Devil's Kitchen trail first stop inside of the entrance. No Black-chinned Sparrows or vireos were found. Two Black-throated Sparrows were singing.

Few birds were found until they reached the Campgrounds. Pinyon Jays and Tufted Titmice were found around the Campgrounds.

Sage Sparrows were along Mesa County Road 4 at approximately 7.6 to 8.4 miles north of County Road S.

A Western Screech-Owl was found at a private yard near Fruita. A pair of Long-eared Owls a few miles farther north.

A Bonaparte's Gull flew around Highline Lake State Park.

They searched unsuccessfully for Chukar up Escalante Canyon, Delta County. One Black Phoebe was between the Gunnison River and Pinnacle Rock.

They finally found a Chukar east of Fruitgrower's Reservoir, Delta County. After a two-hour search one was seen in the cultivated fields up on the plateau area on the way to the Cutoff.

A Lewis's Woodpecker was spotted west of Evelyn Horn's home below Fruitgrower's Reservoir.

At the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, Montrose County, they walked the closed road going north of the entrance kiosk. On the return trip, they found a Dusky Grouse about 200 yards north of the gate.

Another Dusky Grouse was along the South Rim Drive at 600 yards west of the kiosk.

Another Grouse Trip, Day Two

April 7, 2012

Rebecca Kosten;

Grouse Trip second Day: The group started by finding nine Sharp-tailed Grouse at the 20 Road Lek. While the road is called 20 Road, it is listed on most maps as 27 Road.

Afterwards they hurried over to the 80 Route north of Hayden. Seventeen Greater Sage-Grouse and a dozen Sharp-tailed Grouse were found at their leks. See the Colorado Birding Society website for additional directions.

In spite of several hours at Cameo, a.k.a. Coal Canyon, Mesa County, no Chukar were found.

They left for owling on the Grand Mesa, out of cell phone coverage.

Another Grouse Trip, Day One

April 6, 2012

Rebecca Kosten;

Another Grouse Trip started today (Friday).

Richard Stevens, Glenn Martin, Bobby Jenkins and Todd Peabody took four hours to find a White-tailed Ptarmigan at Loveland Pass, Clear Creek Cty. They covered the eastern side of Loveland Pass from the Summit to the first pullover on the west side of the highway, south of the Summit. They were forced to climb the steep western trail. After about a mile, they turned around. Fortunately, they found two Ptarmigan on the way down. The birds were on the right (south) side of the trail at about 0.6 miles from the parking lot.

Afterwards they found three species of Rosy Finches and the usual mountain species in Silverthorne, Summit Cty.

This missed Three-toed Woodpeckers and Crossbills on Rabbit Ears Pass, Grand Cty. Ended their day with nineteen Greater Sage-Grouse at the Jackson County Road 26 Leks.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

South Platte River Birding Area

April 5, 2012

For the record, Rich Stevens did not survive the week without going birding. Rebecca Kosten, Rich, Sue and I walked the South Platte Birding Area from 88th Avenue and Colorado Blvd to highway 224.

Most of the ducks wintering in the area have departed. On the other hand, it could be they dispersed to the many lakes in the area.

A male Barrow's Goldeneye was on the S. Platte River at 40 yards upstream of the green/white tank. It flew to Tani Reservoir when a dog walker came down the path.

The Harris's Sparrow did not come by the feeders at Star K Ranch Open Space. We stayed about an hour. The lack of sparrows and juncos (they are currently not sparrows) along the nature walk was a little surprising.

We found three Burrowing Owls on the DIA Owl Loop at the prairie dog town at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue. No Short-eared Owls seen.

Searching for Owls Along the DIA Owl Loop

April 4, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Trying to stay home and get chores done before starting 8 weeks of grouse and owl tours later this week, I still had to get in a little birding.

Rebecca and I watched the Burrowing Owls at the prairie dog village (3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue, Adams County). We hoped a Short-eared Owl would show up, however they did not.

Beautiful afternoon, prairie dogs and Burrowing Owls were quite entertaining!

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Return to Roggen Area, Weld County

April 1, 2012

Richard Stevens:

It was such a beautiful day; one had to get some birding in somewhere. I decided to search for the Snowy Owl near Roggen although there was little hope in finding him.

On the trip over, I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams County). Four Burrowing Owls were at the prairie town village at 3.4 miles east of 96th and Tower Road. Yesterday, we only found three.

When I reached Weld County Road 79, I could see the Snowy Owl standing on a fence post north of Highway 52. Later I drove around to Phil Buchholz's home (original reporter of the Snowy Owl) and put a scope on the bird again. It was easier to see from CR 79, although farther away.

On the drive back toward Denver, I saw what I thought was a Killdeer. Two quick photos were taken; then the bird flew south.

After returning home, I studied the photos. It was a Mountain Plover! The plover was just east of Weld County Road 77 and south of highway 52.

NOTE (added 4/4):

The following is an email that Amy Davenport is sending out.

Bad news for Snowy Owl searchers. The Roggen "Snowy Owl" is now a fake. It's a plastic bottle that is painted to look like a Snowy Owl.

The last proven sighting was when Rebecca Kosten and Sue Ehlmann photographed the Snowy Owl on 3/25.

I emailed several birders including Jerry Petrosky who saw a Snowy Owl on the ground on 3/29. It was not far from the wooden post that the plastic bottle now "sits". So Jerry is not certain that he saw the real thing.

It appears that some birders were the victim of a joke.


Richard Stevens:

I should have been more suspicious last Sunday. When we scoped the Snowy Owl from highway 52, it was quite a ways from the road. It looked good for a Snowy Owl.

When I went over to Phil Buchhotz's driveway and tried to find it in my scope, at first I could not. I said to Phil that the sun was shining off a metal sign near where the Snowy Owl should have been. As the sun went down, the "Snowy Owl appeared". I thought that was strange, but dropped any further considerations.

Interesting joke by someone!

Rocky Mountain Arsenal & DIA Owl Loop

March 31, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I drove our bikes along Buckley Road (between 56th and 88th avenue; outside the east side of the arsenal).

We found two Burrowing Owls each inside the arsenal (Adams) and outside (Denver).

Then we drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams). Two additional Burrowing Owls joined the one found on 3/22.

The Harris's Sparrow did not show up at the Star K Ranch Open Space (Adams).