Saturday, May 11, 2013

A Week In Jackson County

May 3 to 10, 2013

Richard Stevens:

We decided to get away from computers, telephones and daylong birding for a week.  The weather offered quite a mix in Jackson County this week.  We saw rain, much snow and even a little sunshine.  Winds varied from calm to 40+ mph (during one snowstorm/blizzard).

Several nights when the weather cooperated, we snow shoed for several miles into the Colorado State Forest.  Our success in locating Boreal Owls was higher than expectations.

Various daytime excursions produced some interesting bird sightings also!

In total, we recorded GPS Waypoints on nine Boreal Owls!  If Flammulated Owls are back in Colorado, we could not find any.

Pennock Pass (Larimer) was still closed due to drifting snow and muddy roads.  The one night we planned to attempt a six mile hike/snowshoe it snowed and we turned around.

On the night of May 4, our caravan of Owling partners grew to four vehicles.  Fortunately, I was able to locate four Boreal Owls on Cameron Pass that night.  We even welcomed good looks at one of them!

The Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center was slow birding on the four occasions that we passed by during daylight.  The Rosy Finch count had a high of two Brown-capped Rosy Finches.  The snowstorms did not aid in bringing them to the feeders this week.

Jackson County Road 26 was checked for Greater Sage-Grouse three times.  On the morning of 5/4, we watched 12+ males and 2 females visit the lek.

On 5/5, we passed by Walden Reservoir and found a Whimbrel and two Red-necked Phalaropes at the northern end.  The day before (5/4), we had found two Bonaparte's Gulls, eleven Marbled Godwits and half a dozen Willets.

During a snowshoe trip the night of 5/6, we heard two Boreal Owls up Ruby Jewell Road (our target was Flammulated Owl this night). 

The snow stopped around 4:00 am and I snow shoed early (5/7) to the Crags Campgrounds and heard another Boreal Owl just south of the camping loop.

Later the night of 5/7 into 5/8, we returned to Cameron Pass and found another pair of Boreal Owl farther west than the previous sightings/hearings.

A trip to Walden during the week did not find any Rosy Finches or Common Redpolls.  The trek to the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge also was uneventful.  At least two Rough-legged Hawks and a pair of Golden Eagles continued there.

Northern Saw-whet Owls has returned to my friend's ranch outside of Loveland (Larimer) 5/10.

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