Saturday, February 16, 2013

Gunnison to Buena Vista

February 14, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Jim Oliver, Matt Spencer and I were "winging it"; our plans were quite spontaneous.  Last night, we decided to drive to Gunnison and look for Gunnison Sage-Grouse in the morning.  We rented snowshoes and headed to Miller Ranch Wildlife Area (Gunnison County).

It was a beautiful morning, although it was quite cold.  The nice thing about snowshoeing, it does heat up the body.  In the end, we traveled about 5 miles round trip.  Our reward was coming upon four Gunnison Sage-Grouse at the far end of the Wildlife Area. 

Someday, the birds are going to be at the trailheads, instead of way out in the distance (I hope; however, I am still waiting for the day that I pull up to Loveland Pass or Guanella Pass and someone has a White-tailed Ptarmigan in their scope.  Would be nice, instead of my 2-4-6 hour searches to find them).

I did take enjoyment that the two 25 year olds were as tired as I was!

In the afternoon, we headed to Buena Vista.  A nice flock of 100+ Pinyon Jays was along Highway 285 at approximately 1.5 miles south of town.  The highway between Salida and Buena Vista (Chaffee) is always a good location to keep an eye out for them.

The walk around Buena Vista was more for stretching our legs than finding birds.  We did run into one Lewis's Woodpecker (along West Arkansas Street).  We did not relocate the resident Western Screech-Owls.

After dinner and sunset, we hiked the BLM Land north of the Buena Vista Overlook.  Our target bird, Northern Saw-whet Owl, was not found.

The hour of civil daylight and an hour after were spent hiking around the Beaver Creek Wildlife Area (Fremont).  Our target bird, Northern Pygmy-Owl, was never found.  We did see several Wild Turkeys.  Townsend's Solitaires called from the top of several trees.

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