Friday, July 12, 2013

Visiting a Dude Ranch, Las Animas County

July 9-11, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens is at a Dude Ranch in Las Animas County.  He is leading bird trips and giving bird talks.

Extreme weather is hitting Las Animas County this week.  Thunderstorms roll in during the afternoons.  Strong winds are not helping his owling trips.

Uncommon birds reported so far this week include:

A female Hepatic Tanager with two young at what Richard labels as private ranch # 1 on 7/9.
Many Cassin's Kingbirds, a few Juniper Titmice also found.

A female Hepatic Tanager and one young at private ranch # 2 on 7/10.
Cassin's Kingbirds are doing well over Las Animas County.

They were invited to private ranch # 3 and relocated a male and female Vermilion Flycatcher in Sheep Pen Canyon area on 7/10.  The Vermilion Flycatchers have been noticed for at least a month.

Between storms they put out the owl listening stations.  One caught a calling Northern Saw-whet Owl at private ranch # 2 on 7/10.

Western Screech-Owls have been found at four locations; total five birds.

Detour for a Rare Bird, Rufous necked Wood rail in New Mexico

July 8, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens and Rebecca Kosten drove down to Bosque dell Apache and watched the Rufous necked Wood rail!

Afterwards, they returned to Colorado by way of Lake Dorothey Wildlife Area, Las Animas County.

A male and female Hepatic Tanagers were found above the parking lot.

A thunderstorm blew through and ended any owling.

Birding Southeastern Colorado Between Thunderstorms

July 7, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens walked through the Lamar Community College, Prowers County woods at sunrise.  A Barn Owl was at the northern end.  A male Northern Cardinal was seen at the southern end.  Several Mississippi Kites and Chimney Swifts circled overhead.

On their way south, they stopped at Two Buttes Reservoir, Baca County.  Two Wild Turkeys were at the eastern end.  A Red-eyed Vireo flew around the cottonwoods below the eastern side of the dam.  A White-winged Dove stood on the rocky cliffs to the north.

In the afternoon they birded Cottonwood Canyon, Baca County.  Resident birds found were Eastern Phoebes, Rufous-crowned Sparrows, a Lewis's Woodpecker, Mississippi Kites, Canyon Towhees, Chihuahuan Ravens and a Cooper's Hawk.

Uncommon birds found included two Yellow-billed Cuckoos, one of which was seen well.  A Long-eared Owl was down the southwestern draw.  After dark, they heard two Western Screech-Owls.

Start of a Colorado Southeastern Trip

July 6, 2013

Amy Davenport: transcript of telephone call:

Richard Stevens and Rebecca Kosten relocated the white phase Reddish Egret at the southeastern corner of Blue Lake, Bent County.  A few Baird's Sandpipers walked the southern shore.

Two Mountain Plovers were along Bent County Road 10 at 0.6 miles south of Blue Lake.

Thunderstorms (20+ mph winds, gusts to 36 mph) hit the area in the afternoon and again late at night.  They did not relocate the Lesser Black-backed Gull at Lake Henry, Crowley.  A Barn Owl flew across the northern side of the lake just after sunset.

Saturday, July 6, 2013

DIA Owl Loop

July 5, 2013

Richard Stevens

Our Pileated Woodpecker search did not look encouraging to spend another day so we headed back to Denver.  Our return was timed to drive over Pennock Pass about two hours before sunrise.  One Flammulated Owl was heard (GPS waypoints taken).

In the late morning, Bryan Ehlmann and I made a quite trip over to Barr Lake (Adams County).  We did not find the Greater Roadrunner reported on 7/3.

Later, Rebecca and I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams) on our way to dinner.  We were sidetracked by a Short-eared Owl flying over the fields south of 114th avenue and west of the Airport.

The Short-eared Owl at the south end of Grandbay Street (south of 114th Avenue).  It flew back and forth and to the west.

Burrowing Owls are still at the Prairie Dog Town at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th Avenue.

Chasing a Pileated Woodpecker Report

July 3-4, 2013

Richard Stevens

July 3

I received a call about a Pileated Woodpecker north of Masonville; Rebecca Kosten, Bryan & Sue Ehlmann headed up that way.

Unfortunately, the woodpecker was not found during our five hour search.  The Pileated Woodpecker is quite difficult to misidentify.  There have been three reports in the last ten years.  There definitely have to be Pileated Woodpeckers in Colorado.  Regrettably, the locations where they have been seen have all been in thick forested areas.  A birder friend in Wyoming has photographed them just over the Colorado border.  Someday, records will be verified in Colorado.

After dark, Bryan and I drove up Ruby Jewell Road in the Colorado State Forest.  Neither the resident Boreal Owls nor transient Flammulated Owls could be found or made a sound tonight.

July 4

We returned to the Roosevelt National Forest and spent another six hours or so searching unsuccessfully for the Pileated Woodpecker reported on July 2.  The locations of the three reports (including this one) of Pileated Woodpeckers in Colorado have all been in dense forest areas with high mountains.

The only upside to our abortive exploring was receiving permissions to further, future searches on private lands.  Several landowners were quite enthused with the possibility of owls on their property.

We celebrated the Fourth of July by watching satellites, the stars and a quarter moon from the Summit of Cameron Pass.  Winds were calm tonight and the night sounds, which included many bird songs, were mesmerizing.   

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Search For Some Nesting Birds on the Plains

July 2, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Today, I took my new Missouri birder friends to a private ranch in Weld County.  The Long-eared Owls on my friend's ranch successfully fledged at least two young!  All got good looks at one of the adult owls!

We also relocated one of the Mountain Plovers that nested on his property.  They had at least one young, which could have been with the other parent that was not relocated.

I am reminded that Mountain Plover females lay several clutches.  The male will incubate the first clutch while the female takes care of a second (which is usually laid 11-13 days after the first).   No way to tell if the adult we saw was a male or female.

The south side of Banner Lakes Wildlife Area was slow today.  The north side is still closed until July 15th (a pair of Long-eared Owls have nested here, however the lack of access prevents a status report).

Prospect Valley had plenty of Eurasian Collared-Doves (over 60) and a Peregrine Falcon (perhaps looking for a meal of Eurasian Collared-Doves, one can hope).  It is difficult to remember that we once drove 320 miles round trip to see a Eurasian Collared-Dove (they are everywhere now, including the pair nesting in my yard).

Mountain Birding In Search of White-tailed Ptarmigan, American Three-toed Woodpeckers and Owls

July 1, 2013

Richard Stevens:

I took three Missouri birders up to Guanella Pass (Clear Creek County) this morning.  After wandering around for about two hours, we reached the top of the hill southeast of the upper parking lot.

An adult White-tailed Ptarmigan was walking around followed by two young birds!

Along our trek, we found at least one "Timberline" Brewer's Sparrow, many White-crowned Sparrows, a Wilson's Warbler and a flyover Prairie Falcon!

We stopped at Pine Valley Ranch Park (Jefferson) on the way back to Denver.  Unfortunately (I had a long wee and am quite tired), we had to climb all the way to Strawberry Jack & Parkview Trails before finding an American Three-toed Woodpecker.  The American Three-toed Woodpecker was about 200 yards southeast of the intersection of the two trails.

We continued for another 500 yards (trail is not flat and as I said, boy am I tired) looking for Northern Pygmy-Owls.  Regrettably, none was found.

A hike to the west end of the Narrow Gauge Trail also came up empty for any owls.

Leisure Hike Around Rocky Mountain Arsenal

June 30, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I made a leisure walk around Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) early this morning (about 4 miles, from Lake Ladora to Rod & Gun Club bird blind).  The Red-eyed Vireo first found by Rebecca & Sue Ehlmann on 6/28 was still in the cottonwoods just north of the blind.

We also checked the thick riparian area along 6th avenue (about 100 yards west of where the road turns from a paved road into gravel).  Many Bullock's Orioles, a Western Wood-pewee and an "empidonax flycatcher" were here.

The "empidonax flycatcher" only called briefly twice.  While we tried to make it into an Alder Flycatcher, in the end we decided it was a Willow Flycatcher.

Burrowing Owls were observed along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams County at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th Avenue) when we drove home.

Tempted By A First State Record

June 29, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Forest fires near Creed and South Fork had changed our plans and route.  We could not resist the "first State record" Sandwich Tern and decided to return to Denver by way of Manitou Lake, north of Woodland Park.

On the trip from Ouray, we passed Antero Reservoir (Park County) and made a quick stop.  The Pomarine Jaeger appears to be long gone.  We did find a Marbled Godwit and two Willets.  A Rufous Hummingbird zipped by while we walked the south side of the lake.

Another detour southeast of Antero and north of Spinney Mountain Reservoir added Mountain Plovers to our trip list.  We relocated the Mountain Plover spot discovered by John Drummond a few weeks ago (two Mountain Plovers here).  Then we returned to the spot Bryan and I found last week (an adult and two young Mountain Plovers here)!

Finally we arrived at Manitou Lake (Teller) and were rewarded with a flyover of the Sandwich Tern (saved us the $6 fee to enter the Park).

After dusk, we walked around Manitou Experimental Forest (Douglas) and Missouri Gulch (Douglas/Teller).  A Flammulated Owl was heard on the Teller County side.  We believe that a second bird answer his call.

Finishing the Gunnison/Ouray Bird Breeding Survey

June 27-28, 2013

Richard Stevens:

June 27
Bryan Ehlmann and I continued our Bird Breeding Surveys on the Ouray side of Owl Creek Pass.  Snow is melting fast; a few muddy spots and rocky areas suggest that a 4 wheel drive is best to wander in this area.

Best birds were a pair of White-winged Crossbills north of Owl Creek Pass Road (Ouray County Road 8) and County Road 8 H (before the road turns into Forest Road 859.

We ran into one American Three-toed Woodpecker, Red-naped Sapsuckers, a Williamson's Sapsucker, Swainson's Thrushes, a Hermit Thrush, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Ruby-crowned Kinglets and a sooty Fox Sparrow.  The only hummingbirds seen were Broad-tailed.

After dark, we set up our "owl listening stations".  Two Boreal Owls were caught on the recordings.  They were the only owls found.

June 28
Today Bryan and I dropped down to Ouray.  Two Black Swifts were observed flying over Box Canyon Falls.  We found several nests (which appeared empty).

Owling this night was a bust.