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.

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