Saturday, April 14, 2012

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.

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