Friday, January 18, 2013

Frustrating Day In Boulder County

January 15, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Jürgen Lehnert and I had a somewhat frustrating birding day.  Most of our target birds were missed.  Temperatures warmed to 24 degrees; fortunately, we experienced little wind.

We started before civil twilight back up Lefthand Canyon Drive west of Boulder.  We walked about a mile or so either side of the previous Northern Pygmy-Owl site.  Unfortunately, no Northern Pygmy-Owls were seen or heard.

Dropping back down to Boulder, we walked Boulder Creek west of 75th avenue for about an hour or so.  No Swamp Sparrow or Stub-tailed Wren was found.  An American Dipper drove into the icy waters just west of the 75th avenue Bridge.

Our next stop was greatly frustrating.  Three and a half hours were spent walking around Brockway Avenue west of 76th Street (forms a circular route with Crannell Drive).  The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was never found.

It was reported earlier in the day by the homeowner at 7397 Brockway and at 7492 Brockway.  The first address had many feeders and birds (usual suspects).  The evergreen trees are quite thick and the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker could have been there.

I mentioned to Jürgen that we could at least have a Common Redpoll; that did not happen either (although two days later, Steve Mlodinow reported 10+ Common Redpolls, no Yellow-bellied Sapsucker).

Daylight was limited and we had to skip a search for Bohemian Waxwings up Flagstaff Mountain Road.  Still hoping to find a Northern Pygmy-Owl, I suggested a trip south to South Platte Reservoir (Arapahoe County) and nearby Deer Creek Canyon (several Pygmy Owl sightings in the past).

The female Long-tailed Duck was swimming around South Platte Reservoir when we arrived.  Ruddy Ducks, Ring-necked Ducks and a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers were also on the reservoir.  A Common Loon was a surprise!

Then we spent the last hour of light and 30 minutes after sunset walking a mile or so along Deer Creek (from Deer Creek Canyon Road and West Buckhorn Road.  Regrettably, no Northern Pygmy-Owls were encountered.

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