Sunday, November 17, 2013

From Barr Lake (Adams County) to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld County)

November 17, 2013

Richard Stevens:

This morning Bryan Ehlmann and I returned to Barr Lake (Adams County).  Unfortunately, we could not relocate yesterday’s Blackpoll Warbler found below the dam.  We again circled the reservoir (8.9 miles).  The highlight was a Common Loon on the reservoir and a Spotted Towhee near the Visitor’s Center footbridge (no Eastern Towhees, boo).

We did relocate yesterday’s Barn Owl.  He (rather small bird, white breasted) was in the thickets/cottonwoods off mile 7.2.

The temperatures may have reached the mid 50s; winds were pretty close to 10 mph all day.

I heard about the Eastern Towhee at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld) and gave it a try.  Unfortunately I did not know if it was on the north or south side of hwy 52 which splits the Wildlife Area in two.  The Eastern Towhee was not found by me.

I spent about an hour searching the Russian Olive windbreak below the northern parking area.  No towhee, but I did see a Townsend’s Solitaire, White-crowned Sparrow and many American Robins.

The south side Russian Olive windbreak did not hide an Eastern Towhee that I could see (during another hour of searching). However I finally found a few birds.  A chip was heard about halfway down Pond # 4.  With all the uncommon warblers around I was hoping for  a rare one; it turned out to be an Orange-crowned Warbler.  Several Blue Jays, Townsend’s Solitaires and Dark-eyed Juncos filled the air with song.

Finally I gave the northern windbreak another hour of searching; without success.

While missing the Eastern Towhee, I was able to find three Long-eared Owls (two in locations not recorded before by me).

The trip to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area was a superb ending to my birding day.  No sounds but the wind, a couple of Blue Jays and a few songbird calls.

As I wrote yesterday on the CoBus trip Blog, be sure to know the rules and locations of hunters that check in.  In regard to the rules, I have heard of one birder getting a ticket and another birder a warning.  Today hunters were at Ponds 10, 1 & 2. When near Pond 2, I turned around to not disturb the hunter.

Additional birding, 3000+ White-cheeked Geese were on the flooded field north of Tower Road and 96th Avenue (Red Phalarope location).  Four Snow Geese and one Ross’s Goose was among them (no Greater White-fronted Geese however).

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