Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Birding In Las Animas County

August 23-24, 2012

Rebecca Kosten and I spent two days at a friend's ranch in Las Animas County.  We made several birding excursions between events at the Dude Ranch.  After giving birding presentations post dinner, several of us went owling.  Highlights follow:

Hepatic Tanagers were found at two locations.  A female and juvenile at one stop and another female at a second stop.

Western and Cassin's Kingbirds were quite numerous.  We tried to study the wing patterns of both species (concerning an article for September's "Colorado Field Notes" and a previous report on "cobirders").

Two "kettles" of Mississippi Kites (nine and eleven) were observed overhead on separate days.

A couple of Eastern Phoebe families were found.  Canyon Towhees were numerous.  Rufous-crowned Sparrows were found at two Locations.  Chihuahuan Ravens were common as were Cassin's Sparrows.

At dusk, Common Nighthawk flights were higher than expected.  In two nights, we counted 58, 14, 8, and 21 for a total of 98 (not one Lesser Nighthawk).

Warblers were scarce.  A Townsend's Warbler (8/23) and Blackburnian Warbler (8/24) were our only uncommon sightings.

Owling was moderately successful.  Western Screech-Owls (6) were at four waypoints.  Northern Saw-whet Owls were found at two Locations.  Great Horned Owls (7) over five Locations.  Our best surprise was 3 Barn Owls at separate Locations.  Although a Northern Pygmy-Owl was also unexpected. 

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