Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Searching for Mountain Birds

August 27, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Peter Ferguson, Tom Graham and I started out at Reynolds Park (Jefferson County) about an hour before sunrise.  A Common Poorwill called north of the road while we stood at the western parking area.

Unfortunately, no Northern Pygmy-Owls called around the same parking area and we hiked up the Elkhorn Trail to Raven's Roost, then to the top of the park.  A male Williamson's Sapsucker drummed along Raven's Roost just south of the service road.  While a Dusky Grouse crossed our path at 300 yards south of the old service road.

We did not run into an American Three-toed Woodpecker until our return down the mountain.  A male American Three-toed Woodpecker was along the Oxen Draw Trail, just north of the intersection with Eagle's View/Raven's Roost Trails.

Plenty of additional birds were around to entertain us.  Three species of Nuthatches, Red Crossbills (near clear at the top), Hairy & Downy Woodpeckers, Pine Siskins buzzed about, Western Wood-pewees and a Cordilleran Flycatcher.

Temperatures were much cooler than the predicted 90+ degrees back in Denver; we decided to head up higher to Guanella Pass (Clear Creek). 

It took about two hours before we found our target bird.  An adult White-tailed Ptarmigan was about 30 yards over the mountain (south of the 603 trail Summit) that is south-southeast of the main parking area.

A few additional birds perked our interest.  Two "timberline" Brewer's Sparrows called with the tops of the mountain willows.  There plenty of rumblings that the Brewer's Sparrow will be split into two species (the one nesting in the mountains & the plains Brewer's Sparrow).

A Prairie Falcon zoomed through the valley below us!  White-crowned Sparrows and a few Wilson's Warblers were also found.

We ended our birding day at Kenosha Pass.  Regrettably, no owls called tonight.

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