Thursday, March 13, 2014

Scouting for Grouse Trips

March 4-6, 2014

Richard Stevens:

Jan Usher and I decided to try for the grouse in the northwestern quadrant of Colorado.  We hoped to sneak in and out of the mountains between snowstorms.  For the most part, we missed the heavy stuff, however were forced to drive on some snowy roads.

March 4

We had no luck finding any White-tailed Ptarmigan on Loveland Pass (Clear Creek County).  Winds were 30+ mph and visibility was poor.  Jan could not walk far in the high altitude, which limited the areas searched to those along Highway 6.

All three Rosy Finches, Pine Grosbeaks, Clark's Nutcrackers, three species of nuthatches, Mountain Chickadees, and Black-capped Chickadees were found in Silverthorne (Summit County).

Seven Barrow's Goldeneyes were swimming on the Blue River Water Treatment Plant Pond.

We arrived at the Jackson County Road 26 Greater Sage-Grouse leks in a snowstorm.  No Greater Sage-Grouse came out in the bad weather (must be smarter than us).

March 5

We spent the night in Craig and headed north to the Greater Sage-Grouse leks about two hours before sunrise.  Two Greater Sage-Grouse were found along Moffat County Road 4 (just east of the cattle guard).

We heard Greater Sage-Grouse booming at the Timberlake Lek.  Visibility was poor and they were too far away to see.

Back in Craig after a terrible breakfast at Village Inn (why do I eat there?), we drove down Ranney Street to Loudy Simpson Park (Moffat).  Nothing was moving around the park; however, two Bohemian Waxwings were in the cottonwoods along Ranney Street (Highway 394) just south of Loudy Simpson Park and the Yampa River.

A drive down highway 13 to the Yampa River found six Barrow's Goldeneyes swimming upstream of the highway.

We checked the 80 Route for road conditions.  There is no way to get to the Greater Sage-Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse and Dusky Grouse locations down the road.  It appears that access maybe late May this year.

No Sharp-tailed Grouse came to the 20 Road leks (Routt County) at sunset.

March 6, 2014

Back at the 20 Road Leks (Routt County), Jan and I enjoyed success this cold morning (21 degrees at 9:00 am).  Two Sharp-tailed Grouse flew from the east and landed at the leks west of 27 Road (do not know why locals call it the 20 Road leks)?

Most of the rest of our day was spent around Steamboat Springs.  The highlight was 40+ Bohemian Waxwings at the Yampa River Crossing at Routt County Road 22.

Pine Grosbeaks and Evening Grosbeaks were found in the Fish Creek area.  We missed Sharp-tailed Grouse which sometimes roost and feed in the area.

The American Three-toed Woodpecker pair that live along the maintenance shed road on Rabbit Ears Pass (Grand County) did not appear today.  No Red or White-winged Crossbills were found either.

At sunset, we watched two Greater Sage-Grouse on the CR 26 Leks.

Later we heard a Boreal Owl at Cameron Pass.

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