Monday, April 29, 2013

Grouse Trip Day 4

April 27 into 28, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone call:

While eating lunch, Richard Stevens, Bob & Jan Miller received a RBA text message about the Eurasian Wigeon in Grand Junction.  They rushed over to the Riverfront Trail east of 29 Road and were able to relocate the bird!

Continuing South, they relocated four Black Phoebes in Escalante Canyon, Delta County.  Two are nesting below the Pinnacle Rock.  No Chukar could be found.

Marbled Godwits and Willets continued at Fruitgrower's Reservoir, Delta County.  A pair of Lewis's Woodpeckers was again found in the tall cottonwoods in front of Evelyn Horn's home below the dam (west of the reservoir).

They ended their birding day at the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, Montrose County.  A walk to the Lookout Point about 500 yards west of the South Rim Drive found (heard) a Northern Pygmy-Owl!

At dusk, they watched two male Dusky Grouse display on the South Rim Road, approximately 200 yards east of the west end parking lot.  One female Dusky Grouse gave out of the scrub oak north of the road.

Grouse Trip Day 4

At first light, Stevens and all watched 10+ Gunnison Sage-Grouse display at the Waunita Hot Springs Lek.  Shortly before sunrise and soon after civil twilight, the birds flew west across 804 Road.

They stopped at Monarch Ski Basin but were unable to find any American Three-toed Woodpeckers.

A drive down Swallows Road, south of Highway 50, Pueblo West found two Curve-billed Thrashers and two Scaled Quail.  A Loggerhead Shrike was also reported.

They continued east and stopped at Lake Cheraw, Otero County.  This is one of the best shorebird locations in Colorado.  They found a Red-necked Phalarope, Wilson's Phalaropes, Snowy Plovers, Semipalmated Plovers, several Marbled Godwits and Black-necked Stilts.

A quick detour to the John Martin Reservoir Cattail marsh along Bent County Road JJ added a Black Rail (heard), Virginia Rails and Sora to their trip list.

After dark, they found a Western Screech-Owl at Cottonwood Canyon, Baca County.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Grouse Trip Day 3

April 26 into 27, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of Telephone Call:

Last night, Richard Stevens, Bob and Jan Miller birded on the Grand Mesa.  They relocated a Northern Pygmy-Owl behind the maintenance shed at the Powderhorn Ski Area.

Later they stopped at half a dozen pullovers along highway 65, from the Spruce Grove Campgrounds to the Visitor's Center.  They heard four Boreal Owls and were able to see one of them!

Grouse Trip, Day 3

Earlier this morning, the group went through the Colorado National Monument, Mesa County.

Dozens of Gambel's Quail were seen in the subdivision just outside the eastern entrance to the Monument.

They relocated the Black-chinned Sparrow along the No Thoroughfare Trail after it forks with the Devil's Kitchen trail. 

Rock Wrens and Canyon Wrens were found at the Devi's Kitchen picnic area.

Black-throated Gray Warblers, Pinyon Jays, Juniper Titmice and Bushtits were found around the Campgrounds and across from the Visitor's Center.

They are headed toward Delta County and the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park, Montrose County.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Grouse Trip Day 2

April 25 into 26, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: cell phone transcript:

April 25, Afternoon

After visiting Walden Reservoir, Richard Stevens, Bob and Jan Miller found a female American Three-toed Woodpecker up the road to the maintenance shed at Rabbit Ears Pass, Grand County.

No White-winged Crossbills were found during several stops along the Pass.

Grouse Trip, Day 2

Friday morning, they parked at the 20 Road Leks in Routt County.  Four+ Sharp-tailed Grouse were watched for 30 minutes and they headed to the Coal Bank Gulch State Trust Lands where another four Sharp-tailed Grouse were found.

Unfortunately, the 80 Route Road was still not passable and they continued west to the Oxbow Wildlife Area in Moffat County.

Two Sage Sparrows, three Sage Thrashers and a few Pinyon Jays were seen from the parking lot for the Wildlife Area.  The Wildlife Area itself is closed to protect nesting grouse and other birds.

It only took about 30 minutes for them to find a Chukar in Coal Canyon, Mesa County.  The Chukar was 60 yards west of the closed pipe gate, 40 yards uphill.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Start of Another Grouse Trip

April 25, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: cell phone transcript:

Richard Stevens and the two Miller brothers have started another Grouse Trip.  Last night, they saw and heard two additional Boreal Owls near and west of Cameron Pass (Jackson).

This morning they found thirty male and five female Greater Sage Grouse at the Jackson County Road 26 Lek!

They returned to Walden and relocated twenty+ Common Redpolls at Sandy Flinnau's home along Garfield Street.

Walden Reservoir just west of Walden had many California Gulls, Franklin's Gulls, a Bonaparte's Gull, Marbled Godwits, Willets and the Caspian Tern reported yesterday by Nick Komar!

They guys are headed west to Steamboat Springs!

A Week Birding Around Denver

April 19-24, 2013

Rebecca Kosten:  Richard had written his trip reports for the past week.  We are switching internet providers and have been unable to reliably connect to the internet.  Richard is on another grouse trip this week, so I am updating the blog.

April 24, 2013

Bryan Ehlmann and I returned to Denver City Park (Denver) to get better photos of the Bonaparte's Gulls.  The number of Bonaparte's Gulls appeared to "grow" to fifteen or so.

In the afternoon, we drove over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) to see if the Glossy Ibis stayed through the snowstorm. 

The Glossy Ibis was not found at the Bellevue Wetlands or the Cottonwood Creek Wetlands.  I scope every White-faced Ibis at least five times and never found one with blue skin around the base of the bill.

Two Marbled Godwits feed in the tall grasses just east of the Cottonwood Creek Pond.  A few Tree Swallows and Cliff Swallows hawked insects over the pond.

A pair of Ospreys perched on the telephone poles around the Bellevue Wetlands.  A Marsh Wren chattered in the cattails.  Two Virginia Rails walked out of the cattails and gave us good looks!

Another birder reported seeing eleven Ospreys earlier in the day!

Burrowing Owls were found at three locations along the DIA Owl Loop drive.  Again, we missed Short-eared Owls.

April 23, 2013

Rebecca Kosten and I waited for the snow to melt off the roads and then went for a drive into Denver.

The ten Bonaparte's Gulls were still swimming around Ferril Lake in Denver City Park (Denver County).

On the way home, we drove through Rocky Mountain Arsenal to look for the Bison.  The male Greater Scaup was still on Lake Ladora.

To stretch our legs, we walked to the Rod & Gun Club Pond.  Two Sage Thrashers were near the trailhead!

No uncommon gulls were among the several dozen Ring-billed Gulls around Havana Ponds.

April 22, 2013

Snow!  Did not leave the house!

April 21, 2013

While out replenishing supplies, Rebecca Kosten and I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams County).  We did not find any Short-eared Owls; Burrowing Owls were observed at three locations.

Later, Bryan Ehlmann and I drove east to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld).  The northern sections/ponds are closed until July 15.  Birders can walk the southern sections/ponds (Ponds 1 to 4).

The highlight was a Black-and-white Warbler in the tall cottonwoods along the western side of the ponds!

We continued east to visit a friend (reported the Snowy Owl back on 3/21/2012.  A Mountain Plover was found on private land near Highway 52 and Weld County Road 77.

He informed us about a Burrowing Owl colony east of CR 75 and 1/2!

Later in the afternoon, we drove over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) and relocated the Glossy Ibis in the cattails near the Bellevue Wetlands.

Six American Avocets were walking around the Cottonwood Creek Wetlands.

The two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were again on the southwest sand spit!

April 20, 2013

I enjoyed a great day of birding, switched birding partners twice. Winds were mild and high temperature was around 60 degrees.


Adams County
Bryan Ehlmann and I watched a Short-eared Owl before sunrise. It was in the field southwest of the dead end of Gun Club Road off 114th avenue. Burrowing Owls were observed at three Locations along the DIA Owl Loop.

Douglas County
Rebecca Kosten and I drove down to Titan Road and Roxborough Road. 

Along the way, we watched a Broad-winged Hawk circling over Titan Road and Rampart Range Road.

The Long-billed Curlews, about 20, were east of Roxborough Road at 0.8 miles south of Titan Road.

Next stop, the Burrowing Owl was west of the southern entrance to Chatfield Reservoir. The Eastern Phoebe was north of the Plum Creek Delta footbridge.

Jefferson County
Within 30 minutes, both the Golden-crowned Sparrow and Fox Sparrow appeared under the platform feeder behind the Red Rocks Park Trading Post.

Adams County
We relocated the alternate plumaged Common Loon first reported by Kathy Mihm-Dunning on Lake Ladora, Rocky Mountain Arsenal. The Greater Scaup was still on Lower Derby Lake.

While looking for the Bison, I saw a plover like bird fly into the field at the southwest corner of 7th avenue and "B" Street. It turned out to be a Mountain Plover and landed 10 yards from our car.

Nothing uncommon was on Lakecrest or the Greenwood Village Recreation Ponds.

No Short-eared Owls were found at sunset along the DIA Owl Loop.

Warning: Last night I missed the Glossy Ibis at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). A State patrol officer stopped me for going 30 mph in a 25 mph zone. It took the last 20 minutes of daylight to settle.

April 19, 2013

Bryan Ehlmann and I passed through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) late in the afternoon.  Hundreds of gulls were on the southwest sand spit.

A Glaucous Gull (1st/2nd cycle) was among the many gulls.  We also could pick out two Lesser Black-backed Gulls.

Burrowing Owls were along the DIA Owl Loop.  No Short-eared Owl appeared tonight.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The End of a Grouse Tour and Winding Down at Rocky Mountain Arsenal & Cherry Creek Reservoir

April 18, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Rich and Ellen Bozelli and I started our last day of the Grouse Trip.  Driving around yesterday in Weld County looking for Mountain Plover and longspurs (in a snowstorm and 31 mph winds) was not too productive.  We did find two McCown's Longspurs and one Chestnut-collared Longspur (along Highway 14).

Today, skies were clear; however, winds were 23 mph, gusts to 31 mph.  Roads were still snow covered and/or icy.  We again found a McCown's and Chestnut-collared Longspur or two. 

No Mountain Plovers were found.  The Pawnee National Grasslands and area were snow covered.  The roads/dirt tracks on my two favorite Mountain Plover fields were deep in snow.  I would not have known there were roads if not for previous visits.  We did not try to drive down those roads.

Many of the Weld County gravel roads had 12 inches plus of snow.  We were glad to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  Thousands of Horned Larks searched for food along the highways and any bare fields (few) they could find.

We returned to Denver about 3:00 pm and ended the tour.  As the DIA Owl Loop was passed, we found Burrowing Owls:
Picadilly Road between 128th and 120th.
112th, west of Quency Street
3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th Avenue

No Burrowing Owls appear to have returned to the Prairie Dog town 0.2 miles north of Tower Road and 56th Avenue.

Rebecca Kosten and I went out for supplies and drove through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County).  We found a Greater Scaup on Lake Ladora and Lower Derby Lake.  Quite a few species of ducks were found on both lakes.

The highlight was that the herd of 78 Bison were right along the road at 6th Avenue.  We were provided superb views of the massive animals!

The feeders at the Contact Station were full; however, the only birds that visited in 30 minutes were Red-winged Blackbirds.

We ran into Jerry Petrosky at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).

Thousand of gulls were on the sand spit at the southwest marina.  A few interesting gulls were in the mix.  These included a 1st/2nd year Glaucous Gull, two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a 1st cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull and a 2nd cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Other species represented included, Herring, California, Franklin's and Ring-billed!

No shorebirds were found at the Prairie Loop mudflats.  A Virginia Rail ran across below the cattails and allowed us good looks.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Grouse Trip Continues In a Snowstorm

April 17, 2013

Rebecca Kosten (transcribed from telephone call):

Yesterday afternoon we finally ran into the snow that the whole state has been experiencing for a week now.  After seeing Greater Sage-Grouse at the Jackson County Road 26 lek, we drove slowly to Walden.  This morning we woke up to 14 inches of snow.

The snow continued as we creped to the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center, Jackson County about twenty miles east of Walden.  Only a few Brown-capped Rosy Finches visited the feeders.

Conditions did not look great; however, we decided to continue to Fort Collins, Larimer County.  We did want to spend another night in Walden and Jackson County.

Rich Borzelli found a White-winged Crossbill at mile marker 105.6 of Highway 14!  Snow continued to fall and I had to stop and clean the wipers several times.  When we reached highway 14 and 287, the snow lessen a bit.

A drive around the CSU area of Fort Collins did not find any Bohemian Waxwings.  It was difficult to see anything in the falling snow.

However, we did not stop, instead continuing east toward the Pawnee National Grasslands, Weld County.  A check of county roads where Mountain Plover were reported yesterday, did not find one for us.

A male Chestnut-collared Longspur in breeding plumage was with Horned Larks along the side of highway 14 near Weld County Road 17.  Hundreds of Horned Larks lined highway 14.  We found several McCown's Longspurs with hundreds of Horned Larks along Weld County Road 37.

Conditions continued to deteriorate; Weld County Roads had almost a foot of snow on them.  We made a U-turn and settled down in a Motel in Fort Collins.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Grouse Trip: Tricky Route Around Statewide Snowstorm

April 16, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcribed telephone call:

After staying in Montrose, we returned to the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park (Montrose) about an hour before sunrise.  We drove to the Visitor's Center and back to the Campgrounds without finding a Dusky Grouse.

The ranger came by about 6:30 and opened the closed gate (at the Visitor's Center).  Regrettably, a drive to the western end of the south rim drive did not find a Dusky Grouse.  First time I have missed them in either the evening or morning.

The rest of our day was spent driving to the Jackson County Greater Sage-Grouse Leks.  Fortunately, we stopped at the Rifle Rest Stop and received weather data on the internet.  Highway 13 to Craig, east to Walden through Steamboat Springs was under a snowstorm.  So was I70 to Silverthorne to Walden.  We missed snow by taking CO 131 to CO 134 (Gore pass) to Walden. 

Two Greater Sage-Grouse were standing 10 feet from CR 26 when we arrived around 7:00 pm. Shortly afterwards, snowflakes and then a blizzard hit Walden.  Perhaps we will be stuck in Walden at least through Thursday morning?

Grouse Trip cont: Gunnison, Delta and the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park

April 15, 2013

Rebecca Kosten (transcribed telephone message):

Today we sat in our car about an hour and a half before sunrise at the Waunita Hot Springs Lek.  Eventually 16+ males and 4 female Gunnison Sage-Grouse visited the Lek.  They arrived about 50 minutes before sunrise and departed within 20 minutes.

A detour to 110 Evelyn Lane (7.3 miles north of Gunnison) found two Brown-capped Rosy Finches at the feeders (our target bird).  No additional Rosy Finches came in the next hour.  Later in the afternoon, we returned for another 30 minutes without seeing any Rosy Finches.

When we passed the Gunnison River just north of town, we stopped at a pullover.  An American Dipper was observed under the bridge.  An Osprey came by several times and grabbed fish out of the river (not far from us)!

With time to spare, our group drove to Fruitgrower's Reservoir (Delta County).  One hundred and thirty Marbled Godwits were at the northwest corner of the lake.  On Lesser Yellowlegs joined them.

A few Franklin's Gulls and one Bonaparte's Gull eventually flew along the northern shore.  Western Grebes, Eared Grebes and many American Coots were about all found on the water.

A Lewis's Woodpecker was seen feeding something (could not tell if it was an adult or young) in the tall old cottonwood tree in front of Evelyn Horn's home below the dam.

Several hours were spent at sunset and dusk looking for Dusky Grouse in Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park (Montrose).  Unfortunately, a snowstorm hit the area about two hours earlier.  The ranger had closed the gate at the Visitor's Center and we were not able to drive to the southwestern end (where there are higher numbers of Dusky Grouse and I have had better success in finding Dusky Grouse; never missed).

Grouse Trip Cont: Elkhart, Kansas to Gunnison, Colorado

April 14, 2013

Rebecca Kosten (transcribed telephone message):

Our birding day started at the eastern Elkhart, Kansas Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lek.  Just before sunrise, one Lesser Prairie-Chicken came to the lek.  He danced around for about five minutes and then departed.

More than half a dozen Lesser Prairie-Chickens could be heard to the North.  My belief is that the traditional eastern lek has become a satellite lek and the new lek is located somewhere to the north (where we have no access).  When the younger Lesser Prairie-Chickens get tired of "losing out" on the new lek, they visit the old lek (eastern traditional lek).  In four trips, we have only observed 2-4 Lesser Prairie-Chickens on the old eastern lek.

We worked our way to Gunnison (Gunnison County) by way of Baca County Roads M and 10.  Three Burrowing Owl (prairie dog) villages were along CR M and another three along CR 10.  No Mountain Plovers could be found.

We made a stop at the Bent County Road JJ cattail marsh.  No Black Rails responded to our recordings.  One Sora and five or six Virginia Rails did call back.  One Virginia Rail provided us with good looks.

When we reached Gunnison we passed by the Waunita Hot Springs Lek (Gunnison).  I believe that if the Gunnison Sage-Grouse come to the Lek, it is only after dark when they cannot be seen. 

In five attempts, only once did we see a Gunnison Sage-Grouse (and only one).  It was only identified as a Gunnison Sage-Grouse because it moved around the "other dark bushes".

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Greater Prairie-Chicken to Lesser Prairie-Chicken Leks, Wray, CO to Elkhart, KS

April 13, 2013

Richard Stevens:

While my companions went on the Wray Museum Greater Prairie-Chicken Tour, I drove the county roads north of town.

Three Greater Prairie-Chickens were found on Yuma County Road EE.  Another Greater Prairie-Chicken was just north of the Bledsoe Cattle Company feedlot at CR FF and CR 42.

The small pond at the same intersection had three American Avocets and five Wilson's Phalaropes along the near shore!

Ten Greater Prairie-Chickens were displaying at the CR 45 Lek when I arrived!

After breakfast, we headed to Elkhart, Kansas and the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lek.  Along the way, we watched fields for Mountain Plover and McCown's Longspur.

A detour to Two Buttes Reservoir (Baca) did not find our target birds.  While we found several McCown's Longspurs along our route, there were only single birds, no flocks.

We ended our birding day at the Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lek.  Two birds came in about 8:40 pm (Central Standard Time, 7:40 pm MST).  It was too dark to enjoy the birds and we planned to return the next morning. 

Weather conditions did not help.  Anemometer readings were steady 18 mph winds with gusts to 26 mph.  It was impossible to hear the birds calling.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

DIA Owl Loop and Trip to Wray, Colorado

April 12, 2013

Richard Stevens:

I returned to the DIA Owl Loop early in the morning.  Skies were clear; temperatures were around 18 degrees.

Six Burrowing Owls were scattered over four locations.  This time I observed a Short-eared Owl flying over the field at the south end of Gun Club Road (dead ends off 114th avenue).

At noon, we made our way toward Wray.

A male Lark Bunting was found along Highway 36.  Two dozen Great-tailed Grackles were on the east side of Yuma, Colorado.

We looked over Turkey Vulture kettles at Last Chance (Washington) and Wray (Yuma) in case the Zone-tailed Hawk observed yesterday about 160 miles south was among them.  No such luck for us!

After reaching the Sandhiller Motel in Wray, I enjoyed a walk around the neighborhood.  Two Common Redpolls were in the tall cottonwood at the east end of the motel parking area.

A flock of sparrows at the empty lot at Blake and N. Railroad Avenue caught my eye.  Eighteen White-crowned Sparrows were joined by a White-throated Sparrow.

After sunset, I walked along the railroad tracks and road running west of the motel.  A Long-eared Owl was in the shorter bushes!

Friday, April 12, 2013

Cherry Creek Reservoir, Pawnee National Grasslands and DIA Owl Loop

April 11, 2013

Richard Stevens:

At first light, I was again at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  The Glaucous Gull and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were on the eastern sand spit.  Yesterday's Bonaparte's Gulls were not relocated.  I again missed the Iceland Gull and Common Loon.

Jerry Petrosky and I drove up to Pawnee National Grasslands area (Weld).  We found only two McCown's Longspurs and no Chestnut-collared Longspurs. 

Two Mountain Plovers were also relocated.  One is on a nesting site, which will remain unnamed.  The other was near public access.  However, until my tour group sees them next week, I prefer not revealing the location.

Back in Denver, I returned to Cherry Creek Reservoir.  This time the Common Loon in alternate plumage was swimming 20 feet off shore at the picnic area just east of the swim beach.

Glaucous and Lesser Black-backed Gulls were relocated.  I did not scope the many gulls to find the Iceland Gull.

I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams) on my way home.  Five Burrowing Owls were scattered over four Locations.  The Short-eared Owl did not appear this evening.

Cherry Creek Reservoir and DIA Owl Loop

April 10, 2013

Richard Stevens:

In spite of a high of 28 degrees and winds 6-8 mph, it was a nice birding day.

I went back to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) this morning. The adult and 1st cycle Lesser Black-backed Gulls were again on the eastern sand spit.  The two Bonaparte's Gulls were off the Bird Platform at the Prairie Loop. I could not find the Caspian Tern or the Common Loon.

At least one Burrowing Owl was again at the prairie dog town (3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th Avenue, Adams County).

Continuing east, I found the highlight of the day.  Five green road markers east of the Oil Tank along Quency Avenue (where 96th goes from east to north to east) a Short-eared Owl stood on the green post on the south side of the road.

I saw a photographer getting shots of a Red-tailed Hawk at the oil tank and drove down to tell her.  She returned east and was able to get a few shots of the Short-eared Owl before it flew south.

A couple of Rough-legged Hawks are still around the DIA Owl Loop area.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Cherry Creek Reservoir and the DIA Owl Loop

Richard Stevens:

April 10, 2013

In spite of a high of 28 degrees and winds 6-8 mph, it was a nice birding day.

I went back to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) this morning.  The adult and 1st cycle Lesser Black-backed Gulls were again on the eastern sand spit.  The two Bonaparte's Gulls were off the Bird Platform at the Prairie Loop.  I could not find the Caspian Tern or the Common Loon.

At least one Burrowing Owl was again at the prairie dog town (3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th Avenue, Adams County).

Continuing east, I found the highlight of the day.  Five green road markers east of the Oil Tank along Quency Avenue (where 96th goes from east to north to east) a Short-eared Owl stood on the green post on the south side of the road.

I saw a photographer getting shots of a Red-tailed Hawk at the oil tank and drove down to tell her.  She returned east and was able to get a few shots of the Short-eared Owl before it flew south.

A couple of Rough-legged Hawks are still around the DIA Owl Loop area.

Cherry Creek Reservoir in the Fog

Richard Stevens:

April 9, 2013

While out getting supplies, I passed through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  Fog covered the lake.  Occasionally there would be breaks and I could see perhaps 20 yards.

Many gulls stood on the Prairie Loop mudflats.  37 Franklin's Gulls, 14 California Gulls, 1 Herring Gull, and 2 Bonaparte's Gulls joined hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls.  No shorebirds were on the ice covered mud.

At the eastern sand spit another couple hundred gulls stood.  The highlight of the day was a Caspian Tern standing at the western end of the sand spit.  An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was among the many Gulls. 

I found another Lesser Black-backed Gull at the southwest marina sand spit.  Dozens of American White Pelicans were with him.

In the deep fog, there was no way to find the Common Loon reported yesterday.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Grouse Trip Jackson, Grand and Summit Counties

Rebecca Kosten, transcript from Telephone Calls

April 8, 2013

Richard Stevens and all parked at the Jackson County Greater Sage-Grouse Lek along CR 26 just before sunrise.  Sixty plus males and ten plus females wandered around the lek at 6:30 am.  Suddenly, they all took off.  A Golden Eagle flew over and the Greater Sage-Grouse scattered.

On the drive to Loveland Pass in Clear Creek County, another three Greater Sage-Grouse were seen display along Highway 125 at mile marker 43.

An American Dipper sang at the bridge at mile marker 12, highway 125.

Several dozen Barrow's Goldeneyes and dozens of Common Goldeneyes swam around at Windy Gap Reservoir, Grand County.

They arrived at Loveland Pass around noon.  Described by Richard as one of his most strenuous ordeals in finding White-tailed Ptarmigan then started.  They stopped at each of the pullovers south of Loveland Pass along Highway 6.  No Ptarmigan could be found.  None was found at either side of the Summit also.

At 2:00 pm, winds were measured at 38 mph with gusts to 51 mph.  The predicted snowstorm that was to hit Denver was approaching.  They decided to make one last stop at the first pullover north of the Summit.  Again, no Ptarmigan was found.

Our hearty group of birders, instead of continuing to Denver instead turned around and went back to the Summit.  The decision at 4:00 pm was to stay until dark.  There were after all Ptarmigan somewhere up there?

Returning to each pullover on the south side of Loveland Pass, each evergreen tree and rock was examined several times by four birders.  Still no Ptarmigan appeared.

Amazingly, the winds had died down to a slow? 15-20 mph back at the Summit at 5:30 pm.  Does this story end well for our determined Birders?  It was not looking good.

While the three California Birders again scoped the eastern side, Richard walked around the hill at the western side.  Again scoping each tree and rock was not successful.

While standing on the narrow, icy trail, six snowboarders came by and squeezed past Richard who was not a little desperate.

Richard decided to offer twenty dollars to them if they could find a Ptarmigan that our worn down group could see.  The youths were not impressed and about to start down the mountain.  Richard then offered fifty dollars to the group.  The latest offer perked their interest.

One of the girls of the group started down the mountain.  Not twenty yards below the trail, two Ptarmigan jumped up from below the ledge that could not be seen from the trail.

One of the young males walked down and watched the White-tailed Ptarmigan while Richard ran back to inform the rest of his group.

They returned to watch a pair of Ptarmigan for the next half hour.  The six teenagers gained fifty dollars, some information on the plumages of Ptarmigan and a story about this four nutty old men looking for a white bird on snow!

Yuma. Weld, Larimer, Jackson County Continued Grouse Trip

Rebecca Kosten: compiled from Telephone Transcripts

April 7, 2013

After driving 700 miles yesterday (Gunnison to Elkhart, Kansas, to Wray) our weary group stood at the Yuma County Road 45 Lek just before sunrise.  Sixteen male Greater Prairie Chickens danced and chucked around the lek.  No females were detected.

Their next target birds were longspurs.  Alas, none was found while driving several hours around the Pawnee National Grasslands area in Weld County.  The Mountain Plover discovered last week could not be relocated.

A drive around the CSU Campus in Fort Collins, Larimer County was more successful.  They found a flock of 400+ Bohemian Waxwings at South Sherwood and West Mulberry Streets.

Their final target bird of the day was a Boreal Owl.  A snowstorm started as they approached 20 miles to the Cameron Pass Summit.  Fortunately, it was not snowing at the Summit.

With several hours of daylight remaining, they continued on to the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.  Hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds kept other species from coming to the feeders.  No Rosy Finches appeared. 

The White-throated Sparrow was not relocated at the Gould Store.  An American Three-toed Woodpecker called and drummed across highway 14, north of the Visitor's Center.

After dark, Stan Waylons and Richard Stevens heard three Boreal Owls between the Cameron Pass Summit and the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Grouse Trip, Gunnison County and Elkhart, Kansas

Rebecca Kosten: telephone message transcribed.

April 6, 2013

The Stevens party continued their grouse trip at the Waunita Hot Springs Lek in Gunnison County.  Approximately twenty-two Gunnison Sage-Grouse were counted.

The rest of their day was used in a plan to drive to Elkhart, Kansas for Lesser Prairie-Chicken viewing at sunset (400 miles) and then on to Wray, Colorado (300 miles) for Greater Prairie-Chicken viewing tomorrow.

Richard reports a wonderful walk the hour before sunset along the entrance road to the 731a lek.

He saw an Eastern Phoebe, Say's Phoebe, two Rock Wrens, four Sage Thrashers between the blind and the 731a oil tank.

He then walked southeast to the windmill and discovered a Prairie Dog town with sixteen Burrowing Owls.  A Lesser Prairie-Chicken was encountered just south of the town.

Continued Grouse Trip, Mesa, Delta and Montrose Counties

Rebecca Kosten: telephone message transcribed.

April 5, 2013

The grouse trip continued with a morning drive through the Colorado National Monument in Mesa County.

Dozens of Gambel's Quail were around the subdivision of homes outside of the eastern entrance.

Several Juniper Titmice were around the Visitor's Center.  Pinyon Jays flew below in the canyons while White-throated Swifts flew overhead.

A drive through Escalante Canyon did not find Chukar.  They did find three pairs of Black Phoebes.

They kept their eyes open in vain for the Common Black Hawk reported 20 miles east over Hotchkiss.

Their birding day ended at Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park in Montrose County.  Three Black Rosy Finches perched on the rocks below the Visitor's Center.

A Dusky Grouse displayed along the South Rim Drive (between the Visitor's Center and entrance.

One birder thought he heard a Northern Pygmy-Owl.  It was not sighted.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Visit to 20 Road Leks, Cameo and Grand Mesa

Rebecca Kosten: transcript from telephone message:

April 4, 2013

Richard Stevens and all continued their Grouse Trip with a visit to the 20 Road Leks, Routt County south of Hayden.  Two to four Sharp-tailed Grouse were seen shortly after sunrise.

They hustled over to the Coal Bank State Trust Land where another Sharp-tailed Grouse was found.  It required a 0.5-mile hike due to muddy roads.  Eighty Route Lek road is closed well before the second cattle guard (Dusky Grouse cattle guard) due to drifting snow and muddy.

A Chukar was found north of the closed gate at Coal Canyon, Cameo, Mesa County.  No Black-throated Sparrows have arrived yet.

At Fruitgrower's Reservoir, Delta County the many Western Grebes and Sandhill Cranes, no Long-tailed Duck was found.

On the Grand Mesa, Mesa County, they heard a Boreal Owl south of Spruce Grove Campgrounds.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl was heard at Powderhorn Ski Area.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Slow Start to Another Grouse Trip

Rebecca Kosten: transcript from telephone message:

April 3, 2013

Richard Stevens and three California birders started a Grouse Trip today.  Fog over Loveland Pass, Clear Creek County did not help in finding White-tailed Ptarmigan.  Several other birders also fanned on the task.

They checked the Blue River Water Treatment Plant, Summit County and found no Barrow's Goldeneyes.  A few Ring-necked Ducks, Mallards, Gadwall and Green-winged Teal were there.

The Osprey are back along Highway 9.  One was observed on a telephone pole eating a fish.

No Rosy Finches or Common Redpolls were found in Kremmling, Grand County.

Dozens of Common Goldeneyes and a dozen Barrow's Goldeneyes were on a 75 percent ice covered Windy Gap Reservoir, Grand County.

Greater Sage-Grouse were heard on the Jackson County Road 26 Leks.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Another unsuccessful Owl Search

April 2, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Yesterday, Bryan Ehlmann and I searched for Northern Pygmy-Owls around Cheesman Reservoir (Douglas County); without success.  Weather today was poor.  Rain, cool temperatures, cloudy, winds 8-10 mph.

On the way back to Denver, we stopped at Red Rocks Park (Jefferson).  The Golden-crowned Sparrow made an appearance shortly after our arrival.  The Fox Sparrow was never found.

A drive around the DIA Owl Loop in the rain, did not find the previously reported Burrowing Owl.

Owl Search in Jefferson County

April 1, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I explored the Evergreen area (Jefferson County) for Northern Saw-whet Owls and Northern Pygmy-Owls.  Unfortunately, neither was found.

Later we stopped at Genesee Mountain Park (Jefferson) and hiked to the top of the mountain.  Two males and a female Williamson's Sapsucker were encountered!

A stop at the Platte River Birding Area (Adams) did not find the Barrow's Goldeneyes that had wintered in the area.

Driving Around Jackson County and Unsuccessful Hike for Flammulated Owls, Larimer County

March 31, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann, Jacob Washburn, Ray Simmons and I explored Jackson County today.  A drive down Jackson County Road 21, south of Highway 14, found seven Sage Thrashers and many Vesper Sparrows.  Missed were Brewer's Sparrows and Burrowing Owls which have been found in past years.

Several dozen Common Redpolls were at the Finau home in Walden.

Three dozen Rosy Finches came to the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center feeders.  Unfortunately none were Black Rosy Finches.

We "rediscovered" the White-throated Sparrow at the Gould Store.  We first found one on 10/17 and 10/21.  There is no way to know if today's bird was the same one.  Last month, one was reported at the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.  Perhaps it is the same White-throated Sparrow moving back and forth along a four mile stretch?

On target bird was a Flammulated Owl.  About two hours before sunset, we hiked/snowshoed to Pennock Pass (Larimer), then returned after dark (playing recordings along the way).  No Flammulated Owls were found.

Search for Boreal Owls Around Cameron Pass

March 30, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Before midnight, Bryan Ehlmann and I heard two Boreal Owls near the Joe Wright Reservoir parking area.  Three additional Boreal Owls were heard around and west of Cameron Pass.

Rosy Finches were again seen later in the day at the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center feeders (no Blacks).

Late in the afternoon, we hiked down to the Crags Campgrounds (Jackson).  After dusk, we found a Boreal Owl about 0.2 miles south of the Campgrounds.  We were several miles off/south of Highway 14.  This is not recommended hike for those not familiar with the area.  We do carry avalanche beacons and inspected area much before attempting.