Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Quick Trip to Northeastern Plains

November 19, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Today I took 5 out of state birders up to Pawnee National Grasslands area (Weld) in search of Common Redpolls.  We eventually found 2 along County Road 100, west of CR 57 (similar area to David Leatherman's sightings).

Norma's Grove was quiet and we continued east to Crow Valley Campground (Weld).  Nothing uncommon was found (the resident Long-eared Owl was missed, as was any Northern Saw-whet Owls at the Washington Work Center).

Then we drove my favorite route from Briggsdale to Jackson Reservoir (Morgan).  I try to stay on as many roads with telephone wires as possible.  I have found that if a flock of Horned Larks (with longspurs) flies the Horned Lark return to the ground while longspurs will land on the telephone wires first.  They appear to look around and then return to the ground. 

This has worked numerous times for me; as it did today.  We found Lapland Longspurs and 2 McCown's Longspurs (near CR 84 & 85 intersection).  Just before Weld County Road 105 turns into Morgan County Road 4, we ran into a flock of 300 Horned Larks and 4 Lapland Longspurs.

Jackson Reservoir was pretty slow also.  We did find one of the Long-eared Owls that I believe stayed all summer (and perhaps last winter) in the western Campgrounds.

I got the birders back to their motel north of Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) and decided to check out Bob Righter's report of Rusty Blackbirds.

When I arrived at the Prairie Loop mudflats, I saw Bob's reported Pectoral Sandpiper far to the west.  I walked down to the Lake Loop and returned to the Prairie Loop (following the Pectoral Sandpiper, which was moving east).

In the distance, three Rusty Blackbirds also walked the mudflats.  I stopped and at one time, they approached within 15 feet of me.  They probably would have come closer, but a noisy Killdeer scared everything away.

Then I drove over to the dam parking area and scoped for the reported 3 Pacific Loons.  Sure enough, they were in the northern center of the lake.  Except there were 4 "Pacific Loons".

Note: when I got home and examined the photos of the four loons, three were Pacific Loons and the fourth a Red-throated Loon!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I saw the Common Redpolls in the same area the next day.

Jan Baker