Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Ptarmigan in the Mountains; Owls on the Plains

February 18, 2014

Richard Stevens:

It was another marvelous winter day in Colorado.  Each like day is one less day of cruddy cold.  Spring no doubt will arrive soon.  Temperatures in Denver reached the middle 60s; winds were 12 mph, gusts to 16 mph.

Joyce Thompson and I went on a search for White-tailed Ptarmigan.  Fortune shined, it took less than thirty minutes (upon arrival) to find a pair of Ptarmigan below the evergreens on the east side of highway 6 (across from the first large pullover below the south side of Loveland Pass).

We stopped at a friend's home in Summit County and found three species of Rosy Finches and other mountain species.  Twelve Barrow's Goldeneyes swam on the Blue River Water Treatment Plant Pond.

After dropping Joyce off, I thought about a place for a hike (too much time spent in moving car).  I chose Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Adams County); it was a great choice.

On the trip to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area, a brief stop at the Green Valley Recreational Center Pond relocated the two male Greater Scaup reported yesterday by Doug Kibbe.

Eventually I enjoyed a three-owl day at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area: Long-eared Owl, Great Horned Owl & Short-eared Owl.  My conservative Long-eared Owl count was 20 birds!  The Short-eared Owl appeared at the northeastern quadrant shortly after sunset.

It was a brilliant ending to a remarkable birding day.

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