Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Banner Lakes Wildlife Area and Adams County

July 30, 2012

Richard Stevens:

The Colorado Birding Society now has five "listening stations" set up along the plains east of Denver.  See "Colorado Field Notes" September 2006, April 2009 and October 2011.

One of my friend's stations near Roggen has been hearing Upland Sandpipers migrating in the middle of the night.  I thought this might be a good time to set up a portable "listening station" at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Adams County).

Unfortunately, it was raining at 3:00 am.  However, I decided to drive over to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area anyway and wait for the rain to stop.

At 4:00 am, it had stopped raining and I made the rather wet walk across the northern section of Banner Lakes Wildlife Area.  Perhaps a Short-eared Owl or Long-eared Owl would be heard.  While neither of them did call, a Yellow-billed Cuckoo was heard somewhere in the trees around Pond 13.  I was never able to catch it in my spotlight.  Returning later, I could not see it either.

My route by the way was along the east side of Pond 13, to the northern end of the property, then to the northwestern end of the property, returning by way of the eastern side of the windbreak along ponds 5-9.

The sounds at night are quite interesting and numerous.  I heard Upland Sandpiper flight calls twice.  Chipping Sparrows appeared to be numerous.  Other sounds I could only speculate as to what was migrating. 

I am not that familiar yet with Vesper Sparrow flight calls; however thought that several were heard.  Some species of warbler flew by; I would not be able to guess which one.

On the ponds, there were definitely Virginia Rails, a Sora, American Coots, Mallards and other ducks, and at least one Black-crowned Night-Heron (however, I would not be able to separate the BCNH from a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron).

After civil twilight, I spotted a "shorebird" walking through the grasses at the northwest corner.  My first thought was a Mountain Plover.  Even better, it turned out to be my target species, an Upland Sandpiper!  (Several poor witness shots taken, light was poor).

I waited for better light; unfortunately, the Upland Sandpiper took off west to private property before sunrise.

Returning to my car, I found a Long-eared Owl.  We are certain that they successfully nested here this year (see previous posts).  Bryan and I believe that at least one pair stays year round.

The more unusual species observed on the return trip included a male Black-headed Grosbeak, 2 Red-breasted Nuthatches, an eastern White-breasted Nuthatch (I am just starting to separate the eastern and western songs), 4 Cedar Waxwings and a Lincoln's Sparrow.

The plan is to return tonight and set up a listening station.  Note: It started to rain an hour before sunset, which changed my plans to wait until 4:00 am.  Unfortunately, while I am going to head over there now, 4:30 am, winds are presently 18 to 23 mph.

Burrowing Owls continued at 3.4 miles east to Tower Road and 96th avenue.

Birding In Adams County, Third State Royal Tern and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper

July 29, 2012

Richard Stevens:

After getting back in town, I hoped the Little Blue Heron was still at Lowell Ponds Wildlife Area (Adams County) and headed over there.  Noon was not the best time to bird, however gave it a try anyway.

I ran into Bob Canter who birds the area several times a week.  He gave me a tour of "his birding turf".  Unfortunately, the Little Blue Heron was not found.  As a side note, several birders found it about 2 hours after we left.

As I was returning home, the text message that a Royal Tern was at Barr Lake (Adams) was received.  I was driving along I76 and decided to first stop at the Old Stone House, north side of the Reservoir.

I decided to walk the north shore as a group of gulls/terns? was 500 yards west of the dam.  This group consisted of Ring-billed Gulls, a few Franklin's Gulls and one Forster's Tern.  A larger tern was observed flying around the reservoir in the distance, so I continued west along the shore.

The larger tern eventually flew back and forth and came within the northern 1/3 of the lake.  It was the Royal Tern!

Farther west, I could see a large group of shorebirds and of course had to check them out.  It turned out to be a good choice.  The prize among the 81 shorebirds, 10 species of shorebirds was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper!  I took several photos and hope to look them over in a day or two (my new computer does not read my old digital memory cards, quite a problem).

Also included in the shorebirds were 2 Willets, 2 Sanderlings, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, 1 Least Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpipers, 2 Long-billed Dowitchers and 5 Spotted Sandpipers.

My cell phone battery had died and I had to drive home to call Bryan Ehlmann.  Eventually I contacted him and we returned to Barr Lake.  This time we parked off 144th avenue, which greatly reduced our walk (the shorebirds were about 1.4 miles west of the dam where I had parked earlier).

Bryan was able to see the Buff-breasted Sandpiper.  He scoped the Royal Tern, which appeared to be halfway between the southern and northern shores.

Weather deteriorated with high winds and rain.  We had hoped to set up a couple of "listening stations" at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld).

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Parker to Brighton

July 28, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann:

Sue and I had business in Parker and returned by way of a "shortcut" to avoid traffic on Highway 83 (Parker Road).  Take Main Street east until it ends.  Turn left (North) and stay on paved road until it hits Inspiration Road.  Take left (West) on Inspiration Road to Smoky Hill Road to Aurora Parkway.  Continue on Smoky Hill Road to Parker Road (toward Cherry Creek State Park) or take Aurora Parkway North toward Barr Lake State Park.  You pass Aurora Reservoir at Smokey Hill Road.  A great shortcut to avoid traffic and more scenic also!

Along Inspiration Road, we saw a Say's Phoebe and Loggerhead Shrike (on left in open fields).  We stopped and walked down to the south shore of Aurora Reservoir.  No uncommon birds (gulls) seen.  If fact birds were few.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Search for Mountain Plover in Weld County

July 27, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann:

Gary Weston and I went to a private ranch near Roggen this morning to check up on a successful Mountain Plover nesting. Today there were seventeen Mountain Plover on the ranch. Some had to be just migrating through. We only knew about two nests which produced three young.

Sleepless Night, Trip to Castlewood Canyon Road

July 26, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann:

Darn that Richard Stevens.  He may be a vampire :-)  He never sleeps when it is dark outside.  Anyway, following him around has shaken up my internal clock.

Sue and I couldn't sleep so we drove down to Castlewood Canyon State Park in Douglas County.

A Northern Saw-whet Owl responded to our recordings.  It was at one of Richard's GPS waypoints. 

What a beautiful night!  Winds were calm and temperatures cool.  A nice break from the near 100 degree temperatures during the day.

Another Drive Around the DIA Owl Loop

July 25, 2012

Sue Ehlmann:

Bryan and I returned to the DIA Owl Loop tonight.

Burrowing Owls still at the prairie dog town at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th ave.

We hoped to find a Short eared Owl perched on a fence or highway post. None was found today.

Return to DIA Owl Loop

July 24, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann:

Sue and I relocated BURROWING OWLS along the DIA Owl Loop: prairie dog town at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue.

At sunset, we saw a SHORT-EARED OWL (Kosten, 7/17) flying over the southeast end of the field east of the same prairie dog town.

Trip Around Adams County

July 23, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann:

Richard Stevens and I searched for Barn Owls at Barr Lake State Park, Adams County early this morning.  None was found today.

We spent two hours searching for Long-eared Owls at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area in Weld County.  None could be found today.

Later we drove the DIA Owl Loop and found 17 Burrowing Owls in Adams County.
With Richard Stevens out of the country, I was supposed to keep the blog up to date.  It looks like I am a little slowwwwwwwww.

July 17-18, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann:

Tuesday 17th 

Stevens, Petrosky, Washburn, Simmons, Zeeto and I made a two-day trip out of driving the Divide Road, Uncompahgre Plateau.

Our day started out a little after midnight and with a bang.  Richard took us to a location along Old Highway 90 where he found two Flammulated Owls in June 2004.  This section of Old Hwy 90 actually goes into Ouray County.  Following GPS waypoints, we stopped at the spot. Within 10 minutes a Flammulated Owl responded to our recordings and flew overhead!

We were in two vehicles and then split up to do some birding during the day and owling after sunset.  It was a very long day!

Petrosky, Zeeto and I continued west and birded mostly around Windy Point.  Our count included five Flammulated Owls and three Common Poorwills.

Stevens, Washburn and Simmons birded mostly around Iron Springs and Columbine Pass and up to Starvation Point. 

They found Purple Martins at two locations and Lewis's Woodpeckers near Iron Springs Campgrounds.

Farther west, their count included four Flammulated Owls, Lewis's Woodpeckers, American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Williamson's Sapsuckers, Red Crossbills and Grace's Warblers.  They found the only two Dusky Grouse of this day, near Moore Mesa.

Wednesday 18th

The six of us birded and went owling mostly at the Jacks Canyon half of the Divide Road (Uncompahgre Plateau).

During the day we found Grace's Warblers and two Golden-crowned Kinglets.  We understood that Golden-crowned Kinglets were uncommon to rare on the Uncompahgre Plateau.

Two Townsend's Warblers and a Nashville Warbler were found at the Telephone Trail.  Grace's Warbler numbered in double digits. 

We eventually found six Flammulated Owls and two Northern Saw-whet Owls. 

Elbert County Trip

July 22, 2012

Sue Ehlmann:

Bryan and I drove out to Kiowa and Elizabeth Saturday.

A Golden crowned Kinglet seemed out of place at the Elizabeth Cemetery.

We arrived at the alfalfa fields across from the electric building an hour before sunset. Unfortunately we lost direct sunlight 30 minutes before sunset. We heard at least 3 Dickcissels and after watching for 20 minutes finally saw one. One trick is to arrive after the temperature drops and gets cooler, but also when there is direct sunlight. As soon as the sun dropped below the clouds, we no longer heard or saw any Dickcissels. 

The cattails and wetlands marsh along Kiowa Creek, east side of the fields has dried up. The farmer planted crops this year. Bobolink nested in previous years in those now gone wetlands.

These fields are along Elbert Road and 5.1 miles south of highway 86.

Cherry Creek State Park Arapahoe County

July 21, 2012

Sue Ehlmann:

Bryan and I went looking for an American Redstart report at Cherry Creek State Park. Andy Anderson reported the warbler in the trees near the Bird Observation Platform, west of the path down toward the lake. We did not find it. At least one Black-chinned Hummingbird is still flying around behind, east of the ranger's office.

Glenmere Park, Greeley

July 20, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann:

Sue and I made the trip up to Greeley today.  Five Mississippi Kites were at Glenmere Park, Weld County.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Gunnison to Denver

July 17, 2012

Gunnison Back to Denver:

Sue Ehlmann:
Rebecca Kosten and I returned from the Western slope today. The guys are driving Divide Road, Uncompahgre Plateau today. The two of us stayed in Gunnison last night. This morning we drove Gunnison County Road 38 looking for a Chestnut-sided Warbler sighting that was sent to us on Monday morning.

We did not find it but did see 7 Gunnison Sage Grouse just north of the intersection with county road 38a. For anyone willing to look for the Chestnut-sided Warbler, it was seen in the ditch on the west side of county road 38 just before the intersection with county road 38a. A Chestnut-sided Warbler was photographed by Robert Lockert on 10/17/2007 and was pretty close to the same area. I believe that photo is on the CoBus photo library.

Rebecca Kosten:
Back in Denver: Sue Ehlmann and I went out for food and took the DIA Owl loop home.

While counting Burrowing Owls at the prairie dog town at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue we saw a Short eared Owl flying over the field to the east.

Silverton to Ouray

July 16, 2012

Stevens, Ehlmann, Petrosky, Washburn, Simmons and Zeeto made the loop Silverton to Ouray by way of California Pass, North Fork Cutoff and Engineer Pass.


A Northern Saw-whet Owl was found near Pughkeepsie Gulch Road in San Juan County.

A strange owl was kicked up at Animas Forks in San Juan County.  It was a Long-eared Owl!

Within 500 yards of Engineer Pass: a Northern Pygmy-Owl, two American Three-toed Woodpeckers and four+ Brown-capped Rosy Finches.

No Black Swifts at Whitmore Falls.

A Boreal Owl was found at Yellowstone Gulch in Hinsdale County.

Monday, July 16, 2012

Birding Around Telluride

July 15, 2012

Gary Weston (from a telephone message):

Weather has not been the best with wind and rain.  Owling has been quite slow.

San Miguel County
Stevens, Ehlmanns, Kosten, Petrosky, Washburn, Simmons and Zeeto report:

A Three-toed Woodpecker and Boreal Owl at the Alta Lake Trail.  Two Black Swifts and a Dusky Grouse at Ophir Pass.

Ouray County
The cobus group found two White-tailed Ptarmigan agreeably at the Ptarmigan Lake Trail.

Birding Around Ouray

July 14, 2012

When the CoBus group arrived at Billy Creek Wildlife Area, a lone nighthawk was flying around.  Careful inspection proved it to be a Lesser Nighthawk!

Other birds they reported included a flock of Bushtits, a pair of Juniper Titmice, Spotted Towhees, Pinyon Jays, Lincoln's Sparrow, and an uncommon Sage Sparrow.  Warblers included Wilson's Warblers, Orange-crowned Warblers and one Virginia's Warbler.

They reported Ridgway State Park in Ouray County to be disappointing.  The highlight was a Caspian Tern.  They did find one gray form Fox Sparrow.

The road to Mt Sneffels was more interesting.  They saw a pair of Black Swifts, two additional gray form Fox Sparrows along with Lincoln's Sparrows, and heard a Canyon Wren, which was believed to be uncommon here.

A pair of American Three-toed Woodpeckers was found along Sneffels Creek.

They scoped Bridal Veil Falls when they pulled into Telluride.  Two additional Black Swifts were seen.

Road to Ouray

July 13, 2012

Gary Weston:

Last night, Richard Stevens heard a Northern Pygmy-Owl at the McClure Pass Campgrounds in Gunnison County. 

Early in the morning, Richard relocated Black Swifts at Box Canyon Falls in Ouray County.  Along the 122-mile route, Richard stopped several times to listen for owls.  None was found at Billy Creek Wildlife Area (Montrose) or Ridgway State Park (Ouray).

Later he joined up with Bryan & Sue Ehlmann and Rebecca Kosten with the goal of reaching Owl Creek Pass from the west side.

While walking around at several locations northwest of Owl Creek Pass they found American Three-toed Woodpeckers at two Locations, Swainson's Thrushes, and a Dusky Grouse.

After complete dark, they found two Boreal Owls near the summit of Owl Creek Pass.  This drive is not recommended for a passenger vehicle.

Friday, July 13, 2012

Denver to Glenwood Springs

July 12, 2012

Telephone Call from Richard Stevens:

Richard Stevens watched the feeders at the Echo Lodge, Clear Creek County along Mt. Evans Byway for about 3 hours off and on.  All the hummingbirds that visited were Broad-tailed Hummingbirds except for one male Rufous Hummingbird.

He walked around the Echo Lake Campgrounds where he found a pair of Pine Grosbeaks and an American Three-toed Woodpecker.

Late in the afternoon, he hiked around the Hanging Lake trail, Garfield County where he saw two Black Swift.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Another Trip to Mt. Evans

July 11, 2012

Richard Stevens:

We journeyed up to Mt Evans today.  Temperatures were in the cool 50s; winds were mild.

The hummingbird feeders were being refilled when we passed the Echo Lodge so we continued to Summit Lake.  Four to six Brown-capped Rosy Finches walked around the rocks at the southwest corner.  One walked within 10 yards of us!

Many American Pipits joined the Rosy Finches.  A White-crowned Sparrow flew up to a road sign and filled the air with his song.

It is summer and the parking area at the top of Mt Evans was quite congested.  It was worth skipping.  We stopped briefly at the first pullover south of the upper parking area.  No White-tailed Ptarmigan were walking around among the hordes of people.  We did find another pair of Brown-capped Rosy Finches.

We scanned the field east of Summit Lake; unfortunately, no Ptarmigan were found in the brief time allotted for the task.  No time to walk around searching for Ptarmigan, we headed back to Echo Lodge.

Only one of their feeders had been filled.  The hummingbirds were mostly female Broad-tailed and only a couple of males.  No Rufous or Calliope visited the limited perches.

A large/huge hummingbird was a surprise.  She only visited once for about 20 seconds.  I noticed greenish, streaked or barred underparts.  Looked more like a Magnificent Hummingbird as I would expect grayish, unstreaked underparts if it had been a female Broad-tailed Hummingbird.

I could only find 2 of the young Barrow's Goldeneyes.  Hopefully the others were in the weeds at the southeast corner of Echo Lake (and not the victims of turtles or fish).

Our limited time was over and we headed back to Denver.  I passed through the DIA Owl Loop on the way home.  Burrowing Owls as usual, were at the prairie dog town at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th Avenue.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Another Trip to the Foothills West of Denver

July 10, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Anthony Johnson, Don Hoffman, Ed Gleason and I headed to the mountains about two hours before sunrise.  We managed to hear both a Northern Pygmy-Owl and Common Poorwill near Reynolds Park (Jefferson County).  Unfortunately, neither bird was ever observed.

At sunrise, we hiked the cycle of Elkhorn Trail to Oxen Draw Trail to Eagle's View back to Raven's Roost and the parking area.  Anyone who has made this 6.4 mile trail has experienced a beautiful however strenuous hike along a Colorado mountainside.

All of our target birds were found, an added bonus to our efforts.  A female American Three-toed Woodpecker was flying around at 30 yards below (north) of the intersection of the Oxen Draw and Eagle's View Trails.

Along the hike, we ran into the three species of nuthatches (White breasted, Red breasted & Pygmy).  After we turned up Eagle's View trail a Dusky Grouse was found about 50 yards south of the intersection of the three trails at 15 yards west of Eagle's View.

We heard an American Three-toed Woodpecker drumming in the same general location; only got glimpses of the woodpecker as it flew deeper into the woods.

The view at the top of Eagles View is worth a trip up.  Sometimes Dusky Grouse are found below the trail here (however, not today).

We started down the "newest" (a couple of years old now) of Eagle's View, hit Raven's Roost trail and continued north ("downhill").

Another Dusky Grouse ran across the trail in front of us (later calculated to be 500 yards south, uphill of the old service road).

Just south (uphill) of the old service road we found a male Williamson's Sapsucker.  Don spotted a female; but she flew west before the rest of us were able to see her.

While trying to relocate the female Williamson's Sapsucker, the distinctive drumming of another American Three-toed Woodpecker was heard.  This one turned out to be an adult male with his yellow forehead shining in the sun.

Next, we drove toward last weekend's Acorn Woodpecker site along the Platte River Road.  Several stops added an American Dipper to our trip list.

We walked the road near the Acorn Woodpecker site, never saw the bird.

Our trip continued south and then east over to Rampart Range Road and Highway 67.  We searched unsuccessful for a Northern Saw-whet Owl reported a few months back, then headed into Castle Rock for some food.

After refueling our car and us, we continued east to Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas).

Bobolink were found on the Winkler Ranch.  In addition, several Mountain Bluebirds and a pair of Western Bluebirds flew around the Castlewood Canyon Road.

After dark we listened for Northern Saw-whet Owls; none was found.

Fantastic Trip Back to Denver

July 9, 2012

My afternoon was fantastic.  I had to return to Denver to lead a couple of bird trips Tuesday and Wednesday this week. Bryan & Sue Ehlmann and Rebecca stayed in Gunnison County for bird counts.

Amy Davenport sent me a text message about an Acorn Woodpecker along Platte River Road. Timing is everything. When I arrived at the yard, the Acorn Woodpecker was flying across Platte River Road.

I continued toward home and since I passed 88th avenue at I76 made the detour to Colorado Blvd. When I walked north up the Platte River Trail, the Little Blue Heron was along the north shore at the southeast corner of Coley Lake.

Again, timing is everything. I took about 6 photos before a Great Blue Heron flew over and scared the Little Blue Heron. The Little Blue flew to the south shore where it could not be seen from the trail. If I had arrived 6 minutes later, I would not have seen the bird. Later the Little Blue Heron flew to the "island" in the southeast middle of the lake. An American White Pelican flew to the island and scared the Little Blue Heron out of sight back in the southeast corner.

Central Mountain Birding

July 2-8, 2012

Richard Stevens

July 2, 2012

Bryan & Sue Ehlmann, Rebecca Kosten and I headed toward Gunnison.  Today we stopped at Pueblo Mountain Park (Pueblo County) near Beulah.

The 2 Acorn Woodpeckers were around the Lodge (as previously reported).  We also found one of the previously reported Grace's Warblers.

On the return trip to Pueblo, we stopped at the Wildlife Area on the southwest side of Pueblo Reservoir.  The only owls found/heard was a Great Horned Owl.  Western Screech-Owls have been reported in past years.  However, I am not sure any have been found in the past two years.

We stopped at Buffalo Peaks Campgrounds and listened for owls here.  Nothing responded to our recordings.

July 3, 2012

It was after midnight when we arrived at the Buena Vista Overlook (Chaffee County).  Bryan and I spent about three hours here and across highway 24 (along CR 302).  Eventually we found 2 Northern Saw-whet Owls!

After sunrise and a few hours of sleep, the four of us went searching for Pinyon Jays.  No Pinyon Jays were found at the Buena Vista Overlook or the KOA Campgrounds below.

We did run into a flock of 40+ Pinyon Jays while driving Chaffee County Road 301 (from highway 24 to the Ruby Mountain parking area).  Another 25 Pinyon Jays were around the parking area.

Next, we walked around Buena Vista trying to find a Western Screech-Owl.  While we did not conjure up a screech owl, two Lewis's Woodpeckers were found along Pleasant Avenue.

After dark, Bryan and I again went out searching for owls on nearby BLM Land and several miles up Cottonwood Pass.  None was found/heard.

July 4, 2012

This morning the four of us hiked the northern trail above Independence Pass (Lake County).  White-tailed Ptarmigan were missed on a hike about 0.8 miles up the trail.  As lucky would have it, we ran into a pair of Ptarmigan on the walk back to our car.  They were only about 300 yards from the trailhead?  Sometimes you have to almost step on them to see them.

We had only spent about 30 minutes scoping Twin Lakes (Lake).  Nothing uncommon was found.

Our route took us through Aspen, on to Carbondale (hwy 82) and then south along Highway 133 toward McClure Pass (Gunnison County).

We stopped at Bogan Flats Campgrounds, saw little and continued to Prospect Ranch.  This group of cabins attracts Band-tailed Pigeons to any feeders.  We counted at least 18 birds around the subdivision.

A pair of Purple Martin (adult male and female) was found below and west of the waterfall.  They were feeding noisy young (we followed the adults to an aspen tree).

There is a dirt road leading east below hwy 133 at the guardrail below McClure Pass.  Purple Martins have nested in this area in past years.  There appeared to be no activity this summer.

I had mentioned that a Chestnut-sided Warbler was found down here a few years ago.  Several Wilson's Warblers and a MacGillivray's Warbler were found in the willows.

Near the top of the pass, there is a road heading east.  A stop at the cattle guard several hundred yards east of highway 133 provides a superb view of the Maroon Bells and Pyramid Peak (14,000-foot mountains).

Dusky Grouse sometimes wander around this road at dawn and dusk.  It was a little after Noon and we did not see any. 

We stopped shortly after crossing the cattle guard to check on a tree where I had found nesting Purple Martins several times (latest only two years ago).  None was around today.  However, a male Chestnut-sided Warbler was the greatest consolation prize!

Our trip continued south and then east along Kebler Pass Road (Gunnison County).  We relocated the pair of Purple Martin reported by Jerry Petrosky a few days earlier (got to love GPS waypoints)!

A male American Three-toed Woodpecker was just west of the old cemetery.  Again, I believe Jerry reported him a few days ago also!

Lack of sleep caught up to us and we continued to Gunnison without additional stops.

July 5, 2012

Being in Gunnison in July, we were almost obligated to drive down Gunnison County Road 38 in search of Gunnison Sage-Grouse.  The grouse cooperated nicely.  We found an adult (female?) and 5 young along the ditch just before reaching CR 38 & 38A!

The rest of our day was spent visiting areas where Barn Owls and Western Screech-Owls were found last year.  Unfortunately, none were found today.

After dark, Bryan and I drove up highway 135.  We stopped at the many Campgrounds, set up owl listening stations and played recordings.

Our owl count was just 2 Northern Pygmy-Owls and 7 Great Horned Owls.

July 6, 2012

The four of us drove up Forest Road 765 through Pitkin and stopped at Pitkin and Quartz Campgrounds.  No owls or uncommon birds were found.

A Cumberland Pass (Gunnison County) we hiked around most of the rest of the day.  A White-tailed Ptarmigan was the most interesting bird found.

We arrived in Tincup after dark and set up our listening stations.  Eventually two Northern Pygmy-Owls were heard (one recorded).

July 7, 2012

Early in the morning we walked around Tincup (Gunnison County).  Surprising birds included Rufous Hummingbirds, a pair of Calliope Hummingbirds and a partial albino hummingbird (which we thought to be a Broad-tailed Hummingbird).

We counted many of the suspected nesting birds.  Nothing uncommon stuck out.

Our goal today was to hike up the trail to Mt Kreutzer (13, 091 feet).  The highlight was a female White-tailed Ptarmigan and 3 young.

After dark we set up listening stations around Mirror Lake.  The results were 2 Northern Pygmy-Owls heard.  Owling has been rather slow this trip (this summer).

July 8, 2012

Today the four of us took on the strenuous Fairview Peak trail.  The trail goes past the old Fairview Mine and Jackson Lake.  It is/was the most difficult hike made this trip.

Highlights include American Three-toed Woodpeckers (3), Black Swift (2), possible Timberline Brewer's Sparrow (pair) and a MacGillivray's Warbler.

We all missed soft beds and showers and returned to Gunnison shortly after sunset.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

A Hike Around Barr Lake

June 30, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann and I decided to hike the 9 mile (8.7 actually) trail that circles Barr Lake (Adams County).  The northeastern side is usually uneventful and not worth the time; however it was going to be a slow day.

The resident nesters are still busy.  House Wrens, Bullock's Orioles, Western and Eastern Kingbirds, Yellow Warblers, Warbling Vireos (not so many this year), and Downy Woodpeckers.

The Plumbeous Vireo reported yesterday by Gary Weston was still meandering around the Niedrach boardwalk trail.

A couple of Bald Eagles were seen off the Gazebo boardwalk.

A surprise and highlight of the day was a Townsend's Warbler near mile marker 3.0.  It is early for them to be migrating.  Avoiding the forest fires to the west is probably a bigger motivation for exiting the mountains.

An Audubon's Warbler and Virginia Rail were along the canal stream below the dam.

That accounts for most of the birds found during our 4 hour walk.

We stopped at Morgan-Smith Nature Area on the west side of Brighton on our way home.  A couple of chattering House Wrens were the most notable birds there.