Saturday, August 17, 2013

Derby Mesa Loop

August 13-14, 2013

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone call:

After returning to the Colorado River Road, the guys drove north to the Derby Mesa Loop in Eagle County.  Bird surveys in northwestern Eagle County are limited or lacking.

They goal was to drive as far as possible up Deer Park (Deer Creek) and get back into Garfield County to Crescent Lake (10,758 feet) about nine miles from Derby Mesa Road.  A thunderstorm stopped them at Emerald Lake (9598 feet) in Eagle County (approximately 1.7 miles short of Garfield County, note county line is not well defined in this area).

No owls this night.  They encountered a Northern Goshawk around the lake.  Stops along the trip up found two American Three-toed Woodpeckers and several flocks of Band-tailed Pigeons.  Red Crossbills were found, but no White-winged Crossbills. 

They had to use one of their two spare tires.  This trip is strongly not recommended without 4 wheel drive, spare tires, good supplies and experience in the back country.

The next morning they continued into Garfield County past Still Waters Lake and to Crescent Lake.  Beautiful scenery, not many birders have made it this far!  Sheep Mountain about 1.6 miles to northeast.  While it would be nice to find White-tailed Ptarmigan on its slopes, they were not into the 2000 foot climb.

They recorded an American Three-toed Woodpecker along the jeep trail just west of Still Waters.  Band-tailed Pigeons, Red Crossbills, Pine Grosbeaks and Pine Siskins all in Garfield County.

No rain?  They recorded a Flammulated Owl around Emerald Lake, Eagle County.  A better "prize" was a Boreal Owl north of Still Waters Lake, Garfield County.

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