Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Bird Breeding Survey Down Cimarron Road, Gunnison County

June 25, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone call:

Stevens and Ehlmann continue their Gunnison County Bird Breeding Surveys.

They found a Black Swift flying around Big Green Mountain Falls.

A Dusky Grouse, Williamson's Sapsucker and several Red-naped Sapsuckers were seen at Silver Jack Campgrounds.  The highlight of the day was a male Hooded Warbler with a beak full of food.

A Dusky Grouse crossed the road to Cowboy Lake.  Yet another American Three-toed Woodpecker was also found.

After dark, they found a Boreal Owl along the road, above Cowboy Lake.

No owls were caught calling on the three "owl listening stations" that they had set up along Hampton Road (Cowboy Lake Road).

Cimarron Road, Gunnison County

June 24, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann drove down Cimarron Road, Gunnison County.

They found seven American Three-toed Woodpeckers spread over three locations.

Two additional American Three-toed Woodpeckers were found on the road to Fish Creek Reservoir. 

At Fish Creek Reservoir, a Northern Pygmy-Owl was caught calling on one of their "owl listening stations".

At Cimarron Campgrounds, a Northern Saw-whet Owl was recorded calling on another "owl listening station".

Monday, June 24, 2013

Marble, Colorado Area in Gunnison County

June 23, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: email sent to the "cobirders" listserve by Sue Ehlmann:

"Hello cobirders,

Gunnison County

Bryan Ehlmann and Richard Stevens found a Dusky Grouse and Purple Martin along Old McClure Pass Road (above the McClure campgrounds),

A Black Swift and Band tailed Pigeons were at the cabins and waterfall in the Prospect Ranch area halfway between the highway 133 and Marble. 

A MacGillvray's and Virginia Warbler were at the Bogan Flats campgrounds. While Wilson's Warblers were below McClure Pass and hwy 133.

A Chestnut sided Warbler was at the Marble cemetery.

Directions to birding spots on CoBus website:

Good Birding!

Sue Ehlmann, Colorado Birding Society Denver, CO"

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Birding North of Gunnison

June 22, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann's Gunnison Valley birding was hindered today by 30 mph winds with gusts to 48 mph!  The high winds changed their route as open fields and riparian areas were quiet, bird-wise.

They started their day with a trip up Schofield Pass in Gunnison County.  Snowdrifts prevented travel over the pass.  No White-tailed Ptarmigan were found along the part of the road they searched.  A pair of Pine Grosbeak and a Fox Sparrow turned out to be the highlights.

Winds continued so they drove up Kebler Pass, Gunnison County hoping the thick forest would protect their route from the wind.  This only partly worked.

They found an American Three-toed Woodpecker just west of the old Cemetery.  A male Purple Martin was found farther west of the cemetery.

Misses today included Dusky Grouse and Northern Pygmy-Owls (usually found at the Campgrounds).

They set up two "owl listening stations" neither of which captured any owl sounds.  The high winds challenged their audio software; in other words, there was much extraneous noise.

Birding Around Gunnison

June 21, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann started their birding day with a drive down Gunnison County Road 38.  An adult female and at least three young Gunnison Sage-Grouse were found north of the junction with County Road 38A in Gunnison County.

They continued into Saguache County, found no additional grouse.  A few Mountain Bluebirds flew around the sage and sand covered hills.

A hike up the Neversink Trail, west of Gunnison found a Least Flycatcher, Veery, gray race Fox Sparrow, and MacGillivray's Warbler.  Least Flycatcher have nested here in past years.  They could not confirm breeding.

Several private ranches were visited in the late afternoon with various results.  A Yellow-billed Cuckoo was found at one of two ranches they were found in 2011.  None was found in 2012.

Western Screech-Owls were missed at both ranches where they were recorded in past years.

Winds were high and they skipped setting up their "owl listening stations" (see "Colorado Field Notes").

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bird Survey in Gunnison County

June 20, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone calls:

Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann drove up Quartz Creek (various county roads) today.

It took about an hour to find a White-tailed Ptarmigan at Cumberland Pass.  Several Pinyon Jays flew over during their visit.  The question is asked but not answered "Are Pinyon Jays nesting somewhere in the area"?  The jays have been seen in the area in 2000 and 2010.

A surprise Northern Pygmy-Owl was found near Tincup (at a nest first found in 7/2008, again in 6/2010 and 7/2012.

At least one Rufous Hummingbird was seen flying around Tincup.  Is it in early fall migration or late spring migration?

An American Three-toed Woodpecker was found on the way up to Mirror Lake.  Another Northern Pygmy-Owl was heard during several stops back down to highway 50 and Gunnison.

Chaffee County Bird Counts and Owling

June 19, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone calls:

After camping near O'Haver Lake, Chaffee County, Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann searched the Campgrounds.  The only hummingbirds found were Broad-tailed.  It was a "no-show" for the Anna's Hummingbird reported back on May 26 and 27.

Point Counts were conducted along Marshall Pass (and parts of the Colorado trail), Saguache County.  Two American Three-toed Woodpeckers were found near the Summit in Saguache County.

The search to relocate a nesting Northern Pygmy-Owl (8/4/2008) was not successful.  Purple Martin nest of 6/2010 also was not relocated.

After dark, GPS Waypoints were taken on two different Flammulated Owls (nesting?), Saguache County.  The owls were found close to similar locations on 6/28/2010, 7/16/2011 and 8/4/2008.

Park County and West to Chaffee County

June 18, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone calls:

Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann continued trip in the mountains:

A Williamson's and Red-naped Sapsucker were found at the Buffalo Springs Campgrounds, Park County.

They found a Mountain Plover sitting on a nest in Park County but do not believe it was the one seen by John Drummond yesterday.

Farther West, about a dozen Pinyon Jays were flying around at the parking lot for Ruby Mountain, Chaffee County.

They found a Lewis's Woodpecker along N. Pleasant Avenue, south of Brookdale Avenue.

After dark, while setting up the three "owl listening stations", they briefly heard a Northern Saw-whet Owl call (BLM Land, north of the Buena Vista Overlook).  Analysis of the owl listening stations was negative.

Quick Turnaround to Fremont and Park Counties

June 17, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone calls:

After arriving late back to Denver last night, Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann were off several hours before sunrise.

Their first stop this morning was Holcim Marsh, east of Florence, Fremont County.  They found both the Tricolored Heron and one of the Least Bitterns!

They continued on to Florence River Park where the Black Phoebe (Joel & Dale Adams, 6/7) was relocated.

A hike up Tunnel Drive west of Canon City, Fremont County relocated a Rufous-crowned Sparrow and several Spotted Towhees.

After hearing about the Pomarine Jaeger at Antero Reservoir, they detoured up Highway 9 and relocated the bird on the south side of the Reservoir.

Owling at Rough and Tumbling Creek and Buffalo Peaks did not find or hear any owls.  They set out three "owl listening stations ("Colorado Field Notes").  Software analysis of the recordings did not find any owls.

Back from the Colorado State Forest to Denver

June 16, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone calls:

Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann concluded their Boreal Owl Survey and returned to Denver.

A two-hour stop at Chambers Lake, Larimer County found a male and female American Three-toed Woodpecker along the eastern side of the lake.

They relocated the Eastern Meadowlark (new county bird for both) at Beech Open Space, north of Boulder.

The Rose-breasted Grosbeak was missed at Gregory Canyon.  However after dark, they did find (hear) two Flammulated Owls up Flagstaff Mountain Road.

Boreal Owl Survey in the Colorado State Forest

June 13-16, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone calls:

Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann continued to conduct their Boreal Owl Survey in the Colorado State Forest, Jackson County.

Over six nights they covered/hiked (about eight hours each night), over 37 miles.

They eventually found sixteen Boreal Owls and three Flammulated Owls!

The highlight was one of the Boreal Owls is attempting to use a nest box.

Downside: because of recent Mountain Pine Beetle kill of many trees, their 157 nesting boxes have been reduced by 15 percent.

On 6/15, while "resting" they searched several hours for the Yellow eyed Junco reported at the Campgrounds just inside the entrance to the Colorado State Forest.  It was not found.

Other birds encountered Swainson's Thrushes (rare here), Hermit Thrushes, Spotted Towhees, Wilson's Warblers, Wilson's Snipes (watch out as they sound somewhat like a Boreal Owl), Red-naped Sapsuckers, Williamson's Sapsucker and American Three-toed Woodpeckers.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Escaping the Heat in Jackson County

June 11-12, 2013

Rebecca Kosten:

June 11:

Jacob Washburn and his group returned to Denver, while we stayed in the mountains an extra day to escape the high 90+ °F temperatures.  The plan did not help much as temperatures in Jackson County reached the middle 80 °F.

Burrowing Owls were found at two locations.  Nothing uncommon was seen at the Teller City Ghost town.

June 12:

Richard (Stevens) and Bryan (Ehlmann) are conducting owl counts the rest of the week.  While Sue (Ehlmann) and I returned to Denver.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Final Search for the Magnificent Frigatebird

June 10, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

The CoBus group searched again and did not find the Magnificent Frigate bird.  The quest will most likely end today.

Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann led an Owling Trip starting at 9:00 pm.  Three additional birders showed up. 

They were fortunate to see one Boreal Owl and heard two additional Boreal Owls.  Later, they all got to see a Flammulated Owl in the Colorado State Forest.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Continued Search for North Park Magnificent Frigatebird

June 9, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

The CoBus group covered much of North Park again today in search of the Magnificent Frigatebird reported several days ago.  Again there was no sighting.

Willets, Sage Thrashers, Brewer's Sparrows and Vesper Sparrows were again found on the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge. 

New birds found today included a Golden Eagle and a Rough-legged Hawk. 

Western Grebes, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coots and Common Mergansers were found on Lake John Wildlife Area.

A pair of American Avocets was at Delaney Lakes Wildlife Area.

A male Red-naped Sapsucker was found at Seymour Lake Wildlife Area.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Search for a Frigatebird, Jackson County

June 8, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens, Rebecca Kosten, Bryan Ehlmann, Sue Ehlmann, Jacob Washburn, Katie Zotti, Ray Simmons and Paula Zimmerman are on a mission in North Park.  They are all searching for a Magnificent Frigatebird reported by Mark Bone (photos).

There were no Frigatebird sightings today.  Stevens and all did find several Willet and Sage Thrashers along the auto tour loop at Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge.  Washburn and all found a Greater Sage-Grouse walking along the road that runs south from the Visitor's Center.

Several Boreal Owls were heard after dark at Cameron Pass.

Friday, June 7, 2013

Four Hours at Cherry Creek Reservoir, Adams County

June 7, 2013

Richard Stevens:

I searched Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) for about four hours for the Little Blue Heron reported yesterday.  I covered just about everywhere thought of and did not find it.

From the eastern sand spit, I scoped the mudflats to the south.  Six White-faced Ibis, four Great Blue Herons and several Spotted Sandpipers walked the area.

Only a couple of Killdeer were on the mudflats off the bird observation platform, Prairie Loop.

Most of the gulls were between the two mudflats above.  The Bonaparte's Gull was among several hundred Ring-billed Gulls and dozens of California Gulls.

A few additional Ring-billed Gulls and some Double-crested Cormorants were on the southwestern sand spit.

Nothing unusual was found at the 12 mile beaver pond either.  Mosquitoes are starting to increase in numbers.

Finally, I searched the pond west-southwest of the swim beach.  No herons, I did find an American Redstart fluttering in the trees around the pond.

The Bellvue Wetlands Pond had two Snowy Egrets, another Spotted Sandpiper and a Virginia Rail.

Four hours and I still missed the Caspian Tern reported by Don Beltz.

Chasing "Large" Hummingbirds and Birding in Douglas & Elbert Counties

June 6, 2013

Bryan Ehlmann and I chased after a couple of "large" hummingbirds today.  Winds were 6+ mph; temperatures reached the high 80 °C.

Our first stop was Roxborough State Park (Douglas County).  The Blue-throated Hummingbird did not show up during our stay.  Rumors have it that there never was one?

We continued southwest to Bailey where my friend Wilson Snow has a female Magnificent Hummingbird visiting his feeders.  It was first found on Monday (6/3) and reappeared for us (only had to wait about 20 minutes)!

After lunch, we drove east to Castlewood Canyon Road (Douglas).  At least five male and two female Bobolink were flying around the field just south of the Winkler Ranch entrance!  Spotted Towhees and a Cordilleran Flycatcher called west across the road.

We walked the western trails in Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas) and found a couple of interesting birds.

While hiking near the Prairie Warbler spot of a few years ago (below, just north of the old Cherry Creek dam) we heard and saw a Least Flycatcher!  No Prairie Warblers!

Walking south from the old homestead, we found an Ovenbird (first reported by Kingery on 6/2).  Additional Spotted Towhees, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Pine Siskins and a Lazuli Bunting were encountered.  Last weekend's American Redstarts were not found.

From Castlewood Canyon, we drove east to Elbert Road.  No Dickcissel was found at their traditional spot 5.1 miles south of Kiowa.

Nothing uncommon was found when we walked around Kiowa.

Our birding day ended while driving around Elbert County Roads in search of Short-eared Owls (at their traditional locations).  None was found tonight.

Thursday, June 6, 2013

A Visit to Weld County

June 5, 2013

Richard Stevens:

This morning, Bryan Ehlmann and I drove to a friend's ranch east of Prospect Valley (Weld).  We stopped at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld) and circled the southern ponds (northern ponds closed to public until July 15).

A few Yellow Warblers and House Wrens were just about all that we found until we ran across a Red-eyed Vireo (in the western windbreak of cottonwoods).

Later, we spent several hours at our friend's ranch.  His Long-eared Owls are nesting.  With a scope, we can just barely see small parts of the female sitting on a nest.  We are hoping that they will nest successfully again this year!

He also has a pair of Mountain Plovers in one of his fields.  We caught a glimpse of presumably the male walking around.  Without tramping around, we were not able to locate the female or nest.  I say nest loosely as I have found several nests with eggs on the Pawnee National Grasslands.  They simply lay 2-4 eggs in a depression in the bare ground.

Burrowing Owls have returned to a Prairie Dog Town nearby (up to 7).  Location is not important to reveal as they can be seen along the DIA Owl Loop in Adams County.

It was overcast and cool (middle 50s) most of the day, good conditions to search for migrant birds so we walked circled the 8.7 miles around Barr Lake (Adams).  Regrettably, nothing uncommon was found.

Birding Around Arapahoe County, Chestnut-sided Warbler

June 4, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I drove over to the Big Dry Creek Greenway in Arapahoe County.  Weather was cool, in the low 50s, winds mild at 4 mph.

Many Yellow Warblers were heard as we walked along the greenbelt.  My first visit here, it appeared to be a pleasant location for a birding walk.  The place was quite birdy!

We also found House Wrens, a male Black-headed Grosbeak, Spotted Towhee, Orange-crowned Warbler, and a Plumbeous Vireo.

Finally arriving at the spot where O'Connor reported the Chestnut-sided Warbler yesterday, we almost immediately heard the distinctive "chip" of a Chestnut-sided Warbler.  It took another 15+ minutes to see the bird in the leaves blown by the wind.  I do not believe I worked so hard to see a bird after knowing which tree it was in (although it did not appear to be moving around).

Afterwards, we passed through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) on the way to Barr Lake.  The Bonaparte's Gull was again on the Prairie Loop mudflats.  We briefly scoped the mudflats for the Black-bellied Plover (was not found).

At least one, up to three, Black-chinned Hummingbirds flew around east of the ranger's office.  Nothing uncommon was found on the lake and we left for Barr Lake.

An hour walk around the east side of Barr Lake (Adams) did not find any uncommon birds.  Many of the usual suspects were seen: House Wrens, Warbling Vireos, Yellow Warblers, Western Kingbirds, Eastern Kingbirds, Western Wood-pewees, Bullock's Orioles.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Jackson County Owl Prowl

June 3, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

The road from Gould to Teller City Ghost Town is still closed due to mud.  Richard Stevens and Rebecca Kosten circled around and tried to get there by way of Rand.  Under dry conditions, Jackson County Road 21 still requires a 4-wheel drive between Highways 125 and 14.  They did not make it to Teller City.

The spot where Burrowing Owls nested along CR 27 was accessible.  They found one Burrowing Owl near last years location!  Let's hope another Burrowing Owl shows up!

In the afternoon, Richard relocated an American Three-toed Woodpecker for Marion and Jack Warren across from the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.

After sunset, Richard led the CoBus sponsored Owl Prowl at Cameron Pass and the Colorado State Forest.  While the trip stated that, the trip was from 9:00 pm to 5:00 am, birders were not required to stay for the whole trip. 

Five birders showed up.  Marion and Jack Warren did stay all night and were treated to both Boreal Owl and Flammulated Owl sightings along Ruby Jewell Road in the Colorado State Forest.

The other three birders were able to see a Boreal Owl around 10:00 pm near Cameron Pass.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Another Day in the Mountains, Routt and Jackson Counties

June 2, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens and Rebecca Kosten returned to the 80 Route Leks.  This morning six Sharp-tailed Grouse stood around the sage at their lek.  No females showed up; the males did not dance around.

Again, no Dusky Grouse or Greater Sage-Grouse were found at their leks.

Richard and Rebecca drove north up 80 Route to the closed gate for California Park.  The "Park" is closed to allow nesting Sandhill Cranes to be undisturbed. 

While walking around to stretch their legs, they saw a pair of White-winged Crossbill circling overhead.

At a stop along Walden Reservoir, they saw a Caspian Tern flying around.  The previously reported Greater Scaup could not be found.

They were not able to relocate the Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the KOA Campgrounds.

Late in the afternoon, Richard relocated an American Three-toed Woodpecker across from the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.  A Boreal Owl was heard south of the Crags Campgrounds.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Looking For "Late Dates" for Grouse

June 1, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens and Rebecca Kosten parked at the 80 Route Leks at sunrise.  Seven Sharp-tailed Grouse came to the lek.  They stood in a circle watching in every direction.  They did not dance or run around.

The Dusky Grouse did not show up at his “lek” this morning.  Greater Sage Grouse have not been seen on their 80 Route Leks for several weeks now.

Next, they drove the auto loop at the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge.  Several Willets walked around the ponds.  Sage Thrashers, Brewer’s Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, Song Sparrows and Horned Larks were also seen.

Richard and Rebecca ran into an Ohio birder, Rick Andersen.  He mentioned a Rose-breasted Grosbeak at the KOA Campgrounds at the entrance to the Colorado State Forest.  They relocated the Grosbeak and several Broad-tailed Hummingbirds.

The Colorado State Forest feeders had a few Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, nothing uncommon.

At dusk, Richard and Rebecca parked at the County Road 26 leks.  After it was almost too dark to see, six Greater Sage-Grouse walked onto the lek.  These birds did briefly display.  Richard postulated that they were young males practicing displays for future springs?

Aurora Sports Park and Heading to the Mountains

May 31, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

Rebecca Kosten:

"Arapahoe County
Before we head to the mountain this afternoon, Richard Stevens and Bryan Ehlmann birded Sand Creek in the Aurora Sports Park. Anemometer readings are 21 mph with gusts to 34 mph.

As expected, few birds were moving around. They thought there was a MacGillivray's Warbler in the tickets. Closer inspection showed it to be a Hooded Warbler!

Location was 40 yards southwest of the corner of Sand Creek where it goes from south to north and turns east to west."


Richard and Rebecca headed up to Jackson County late in the afternoon. 

An American Three-toed Woodpecker was found along the eastern side of Chambers Lake.  Three-toed Woodpeckers have nested here in past years.

After dark, they heard two Boreal Owls near Cameron Pass.