Saturday, December 22, 2012

Fox Sparrow and a Snowy Owl

December 17, 2012

Richard Stevens:

After hearing about the "red" Fox Sparrow at Barr Lake State Park (Adams), I arrived at 7:30 am.  It was rather cold; fortunately, winds were mild.  The Fox Sparrow showed up to search for food near the old farm equipment at 9:17 am (fortunate since I was only giving it two hours and planning to leave at 9:30 am).

Since sunrise, a Sharp-shinned Hawk came about every 15 minutes and stood on the farm equipment (figured to be my only photograph of the morning).  He would perch for 5 minutes, then circle to the front of the Visitor's Center, and then fly across the canal to the trees along the lake.

I waited until 10:30 am, the Fox Sparrow never made another appearance.  The Sharp-shinned Hawk seemed to successful scare off most of the birds for the morning.

As I was leaving, a flock of American Goldfinches on the thistle feeder caught my eye.  A lone Common Redpoll was among 10-12 Goldfinches.

I headed to Weld County to search for the Snowy Owl reported by Joe Himmel two days earlier.  While many raptors were found in the next four hours, no Snowy Owl was.

Raptors included: Ferruginous Hawk, Prairie Falcon, Red-tailed Hawks, Rough-legged Hawks, American Kestrels and a Peregrine Falcon (near Lower Latham Reservoir).

Sunset is/was around 4:41 pm.  Daylight is short and valuable this time of year.

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