Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Mountain Birding In Jackson, Grand & Routt Counties

November 2, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann, Roger Danka and I headed up to Cameron Pass and Gould for a couple of days of owling.

We hit a couple of reservoirs on the trip up to Jackson County.  A Common Loon was at North Poudre Reservoir #3 (Larimer County).

While it is not possible to prove the negative-owls have migrated on and departed Pennock Pass, we could not find any Flammulated Owls on Pennock Pass.  Winds were almost still and walking around for five hours was quite pleasant and enjoyable!

We did heard Boreal Owls both east and west of Cameron Pass (within 0.2 miles either side).

November 3, 2012

After staying up most the night, we got a late start (around noon) for some passerine searching in Jackson County.

The White-throated Sparrow was not relocated around the Gould Store (after being found for 10 days).

Only a couple of Gray-crowned Rosy Finches were found at the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center feeders.  The usual suspects did appear; Pine Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins, Mountain Chickadees, Red-winged Blackbirds, a few Cassin's Finches and a Gray Jay.

A drive down Jackson County Road 20 (south from Gould) found only a few birds.  Highlights were a late Red-naped Sapsucker, an American Three-toed Woodpecker and an American Dipper.

We went into Steamboat Springs (Routt) to look for Sharp-tailed Grouse (without success) and decided on a drive up Buffalo Pass Road.  This afternoon, we found 7 American Three-toed Woodpeckers.  Unfortunately, no White-winged Crossbills could be found.

After dark, we walked south from the Crags Campgrounds back in Jackson County.  Two Boreal Owls responded to our recordings.  Again tonight, winds were surprisingly quiet.  We enjoyed the hike tremendously; the only sounds being the calls of the forest birds.

A jog up Ruby Jewell Road (from Michigan Creek Road) in the Colorado State Forest at 4:00 am did not find any Boreal Owls or Flammulated Owls.

Notable misses were the lack of time to visit Lake Johns and Delaney Buttes Wildlife Areas or to stop along Rabbit Ears Pass.

November 4, 2012

Today we tried to stop and several places that time forced us to bypass yesterday. 

The majority of our late morning and early afternoon was spent at Little Red Park (Routt).  Target bird was a White-winged Crossbill.  Unfortunately, we could not duplicate last week's sightings.

Highlight was 3 or 4 Dusky Grouse in a tree about 0.3 miles after entering the forest northeast of Little Red Park.

Later we hiked around the maintenance shed area on Rabbit Ears Pass (Grand County) looking unsuccessfully for American Three-toed Woodpeckers, White-winged Crossbills or Red Crossbills for that matter.

Our plan was to be at Wellington Wildlife Area (Larimer) at dusk to scope for Short-eared Owls.  A stop at the Cobb Section found a Long-eared Owl!  Then after sunset, a Short-eared Owl was observed at the CR 64 section. 

Actually, we had two Short-eared Owls, however prefer to keep exact locations unreported (to prevent the overly disturbing of the owls).  I suggest to those wanting to see a Short-eared Owl to stand at the parking lot along CR 3 (north of CR 64) and scope the hills to the east and west (of course just before or after sunset).

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