Thursday, March 13, 2014

A Few Snowy Days In the Northern Mountains

February 23 to 28, 2014

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I spent a few days up in the mountains.  We stayed inside during several snowstorms.  Between the storms, I was able to snowshoe around several areas.  When winds died down, the quiet forest had only birds singing and the sound of the snowshoes moving through the powder.

On the trip up on 2/23, we stopped and heard two Boreal Owls calling at dusk south of the Crags Campgrounds, just west of Cameron Pass (Jackson County).

On 2/24, we drove into Steamboat Springs.  The female American Three-toed Woodpecker cooperated and flew over the maintenance shed road off highway 40 (Grand County).  The several crossbills that flew around were all Red Crossbills. White-winged Crossbills have been reported in the area again this winter.

Thanks to Teresa Moulton, we relocated the 22+ Bohemian Waxwings at the Yampa River Crossing at Routt County Road 22!

A friend and I took his snowmobiles north of Steamboat Springs.  Unfortunately, we did not run into any Dusky Grouse.

On 2/25, we drove up Jackson County Road 26 toward the Greater Sage-Grouse leks.  A Greater Sage-Grouse crossed CR 26 at approximately 200 yards west of highway 14.  It was a good thing, as the road was too snow covered to make it to the leks.

Later we saw 14+ Rosy Finches (no Black Rosy Finches) coming to the feeders behind the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.

It was snowing quite heavy in the afternoon and we retreated to the warm cabin.

On 2/26, it snowed most of the day.  During a short lull, I drove back to Larimer County and snow shoed up the Zimmerman Lake Trail.  Regrettably, no White-winged Crossbills were run across.  I did savor much the solitude of the snow covered trail and forest.

On 2/27, snow continued most of the day.  We made it over to the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center and again observed 14+ Rosy Finches (no Black).

We did not find the resident American Three-toed Woodpecker that wanders the north side of highway 14 (across from the Visitor's Center).

I cross-country skied into the Colorado State Forest to North Michigan Reservoir.  Nothing uncommon was encountered.

After dark, I heard two Boreal Owls calling just west of Cameron Pass (Jackson County).

On 2/28, there was a brief break in the weather and we headed back to Denver by way of Fort Collins.

We had heard about the Long-tailed Duck near downtown Denver and stopped there before turning for home.

February 28, 2014

Email sent to cobirders by Jacob Washburn:

Hello birding people,

Ray Simmons and I went to Water Street and the aquarium. Who do we meet but Rich and Rebecca Stevens. At 5:00 pm it was too dark for good photos, only witness shots. The Long tailed Duck was on the S Platte River just south of the aquarium.

For those not familiar with the convoluted streets down there: take 15th street (not Colfax) west to Platte Street (REI on southeast corner). Follow Platte Street south, turns into Water Street. Just north of the aquarium there is a parking lot on left, east. Walk south down path. This is Denver County.

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