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!

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