Saturday, March 23, 2013

Another Grouse Trip

March 20-22, 2031

Rebecca Kosten (transcribed cell phone message):

March 20, 2013

Richard Stevens, Jeff Palmer and John Murphy started a grouse trip with a stop at Loveland Pass.  Skies were clear, winds mild, unfortunately no Ptarmigan could be found.

After searching for Rosy Finches in Summit County, they stopped at the Blue River Water Treatment Plant.  Twenty plus Barrow's Goldeneyes were still there.

A stop in Kremmling, Grand County found 30+ Common Redpolls and 24+ Rosy Finches along Gore Street.

They ended their birding day at Jackson County Road 26.  Six male and eight female Greater Sage-Grouse were found.

The drive to Steamboat Springs after sunset was met with snow showers.

March 21, 2013

The grouse trip continued under blizzard conditions today.  No Sharp-tailed Grouse visited the 20 Road Leks.

They attempted to get up 80 Route to the leks there.  Snow prevented any drive up to the 2nd cattle.  Instead, they hiked the last mile.  By the time, they reached the 2nd cattle guard, snow and wind produced blizzard like conditions.  Visibility was poor; the Dusky Grouse was not seen.  They did not continue to the Sharp-tailed Grouse and Greater Sage-Grouse leks.

They did not escape the snowstorm until reaching Rifle, Garfield County.

A ranger at Jerry Creek Reservoirs, Mesa County had seen forty-two Chukar two days early.  They searched for about four hours without finding Chukars.

March 22, 2013

Stevens, Palmer and Murphy returned to Jerry Creek Reservoirs, Mesa County at civil twilight.  Chukar were missed in another 2-hour search.

They hoped to change their fortune at Cameo, Coal Canyon, Mesa County.  Richard briefly saw a Chukar but unfortunately, it could not be relocated.  At least three Chukar were heard calling near the 2nd iron pipe gate.

A drive up Mesa County Road 4 which turns into Garfield County Road 201 (about 7.1 miles north of the south end of CR 4 added three to five Sage Sparrows to their trip list.  The flock was 40 yards south of the old corral at Baxter Pass Road (CR 4) and Prairie Canyon Road.

No Long-eared Owls were found at their traditional location.

They skipped driving the whole length of the Colorado National Monument, Mesa County.  From the western entrance to drove to the Campgrounds and found several Juniper Titmice and eight+ Bushtits.

Winds had picked up by 4:00 pm; temperature was 48 degrees.  Nothing moved about the Devil's Kitchen, eastern entrance to the Colorado National Monument.

Western Screech-Owls were missed at Connected Lakes State Park and several private yards.

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