Saturday, May 26, 2012

Two Day Owling Trip to Northern Colorado

May 25-26, 2012

Richard Stevens:

May 25, 2012

Several of us headed up to Pennock Pass (Larimer County) to search for owls.

We stopped at Lower Latham Reservoir (Weld).  The mudflats had received some rain the night before.  Unfortunately, few shorebirds had found the new wetlands.

The Weld County 59 Ponds had a few shorebirds.  A pair of Wilson's Phalaropes, half a dozen American Avocets and 9 Black-necked Stilts searched for food.  Many Yellow-headed Blackbirds and a couple of Great-tailed Grackles were also there.

The water level at Loloff Reservoir was quite high.  A Killdeer and Stilt Sandpiper walked the limited shoreline.

Crow Valley Campground (Weld) was slow.  We found a Red-eyed Vireo in the southwest corner.  Other birds found included a Plumbeous Vireo, Veery, Swainson's Thrushes, Orchard Orioles, Bullock's Orioles, a Common Nighthawk and many House Wrens.

A drive along CR 96 north of the Campgrounds found 5 McCown's Longspurs.  We checked on the nesting Mountain Plover; she was still there.

A walk toward the windmill at the southeast corner of Highway 85 and Weld County Road 114 found only one Chestnut-collared Longspur (the wind had picked up quite a bit).

After sunset, we eventually found 3 Flammulated Owls on Pennock Pass (Larimer).

May 26, 2012

We continued our northern trip by heading east to Jackson Reservoir (Morgan County).  The Campgrounds were filled with people (every campsite, 427 was taken) and few birds.  A few Bullock's Orioles and a pair of Brown Thrashers flew about the Visitor's Center.

The highlight was great views of a Long-eared Owl (see CoBus photo library).

At nearby Andrick Wildlife Area a Forster's Tern flew over the ponds.  A recently fledged Western Grebe was sitting on CR AA.  We stopped, picked it up and returned it to the pond.

Our next stop was Last Chance Rest Stop (Washington).  While winds were calm at Jackson Reservoir, by the time we reached Last Chance Rest Stop winds had increased to 28 mph with gusts to 35 mph.

The few birds there hunkered down in the bushes or held on for their lives in the swinging trees.  The highlights were a Red-eyed Vireo and Olive-sided Flycatcher.  Other birds included several Western Wood-pewees, many Western Kingbirds and Common Grackles. 

Three warblers stayed low in the currant bushes and remained unidentified.

We did not relocate the Band-tailed Pigeon reported along highway 38 at 12 miles west of Last Chance Rest Stop.  Winds 30+ mph by then.

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