Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Final Days of an Eastern Colorado Bird Trip

September 7-9, 2012

September 7, 2012

Bryan Ehlmann and I continued our eastern Colorado trip.  Weather has been fantastic with cool temperatures and mild winds.  Clear skies have allowed the moon to light up the landscape at night.  Although owling has been slow, fantastic trip so far!

Today we tried to hit many of the public birding places in Lincoln County.  We enjoyed a superb day of birding.

We drove around Hugo as we past through.  Highlight was a male Red-bellied Woodpecker working a large cottonwood tree.

There were few passerines moving about Hugo Wildlife Area.  A Broad-winged Hawk was "resting or hunting" during migration through the area.

Kinney Reservoir Wildlife Area was more "birdy".  A Nashville Warbler was in loose association with several Wilson's Warblers and a Yellow Warbler.  Two House Wrens remain in the area.

Our best birding was at a stop at a friend's ranch.  The cottonwoods around his pond had a Tennessee Warbler, American Redstart, Black-and-white Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher and several Yellow Warblers. 

However, the highlight was definitely a singing Alder Flycatcher.  They appear to be "all over" Colorado this fall.

Our final stop was Karval Reservoir Wildlife Area.  An Eastern Phoebe greeted us near the entrance.  Another Nashville Warbler fluttered about with several Wilson's Warblers (3 or 4).

After sunset, a Short-eared Owl flew about the western end of the property!

September 8, 2012

Bryan and I continued south.  Today we centered our birding around Kiowa County and eastern Prowers County.

Neesopah, Upper and Lower Queens Reservoirs were slow.  Neenoshe Reservoir was "jumping" with birds.

Eventually we found a Magnolia Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Black-and-white Warbler and 2 Cassin's Vireos along the west side of the reservoir (cottonwoods from boat ramp to Locust Grove to the south).

We had to gas up in Holly and decided to try the city park.  What a good choice (luck).  A first year Northern Parula was found.

While usually not birdy, we checked several nearby Wildlife Areas.  A Nashville Warbler and several Wilson's Warblers were at Granada Wildlife Area.  A Field Sparrow was seen at Deadman Wildlife Area.

Holly Rest Stop near the Kansas border occupied much of the rest of our day (never made it to Lamar Community College).  A Blue-headed Vireo flew around the rest area.  Two Field Sparrows were found along the old Highway 50 (west of the rest stop).  Toward sunset, a Bobolink called somewhere southeast of the Rest Stop.

September 9, 2012

We finally made it to Lamar Community College Woods (Prowers County) this morning.  It has been the eastern Colorado "hotspot" for several weeks now.  It did not disappoint today.

We eventually found a Cassin's Vireo, Blue-headed Vireo, American Redstart, 2 Northern Cardinals and a juvenile Carolina Wren.  The adult Carolina Wren eluded us.

We needed to return to Denver, however made a quick trip south to Two Buttes Reservoir (Baca).  Here we found another Blue-headed Vireo and Cassin's Vireo.  Two Townsend's Warblers were on the south side of the pond.

A Wood-pewee has cooperating and sang "for us".  The song confirmed that it was an Eastern Wood-Pewee.

One last sighting in the thickets below the dam was quite interesting.  An "Empidonax" Flycatcher was quite green and yellow.  Both of us thought it to be a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.  Unfortunately, the bird never made a sound.

Then we rushed back to Denver for Bryan's commitments.

My birding later was written in a post to "cobirders" and reinforced that timing can be everything when birding.

"Hello cobirders;

I picked up a new birding partner after Bryan Ehlmann and I returned from a week on the eastern plains.

We drove up to Boulder. The Short billed Dowitcher was on the southeast shore. Twenty minutes later at 6:57 PM a Peregrine Falcon flew down. All the shorebirds flew north-northeast. Except the slowest Killdeer which was caught by the falcon!

I believe the SBDO was a new Boulder County bird for both of us.

Continued Good Birding!"

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