Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Eastern Bird Trip

October 8-11, 2014

Richard Stevens:

October 8

Bryan Ehlmann and I started a couple day trip to the eastern plains to see what migration was continuing.  The weather today was overcast with temperatures in the 80s.  Conditions deteriorated as the week continued.

At dawn, we found a Greater Prairie-Chicken walking in the field near Yuma County Road BB & Highway 36.  This is the third time in five years that this area has provided a Greater Prairie-Chicken sighting!  Another location to search is the road going past the Fox Ranch Nature Conservancy.  Unfortunately, the ranch itself is closed to the public.

Three Sprague's Pipits were relocated at the infamous hill below the Bonny Reservoir dam.  A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers and seven Eastern Bluebirds was east of Hale Ponds.

The Highlight was a Bay-breasted Warbler along the Republican River as we walked east from Yuma CR aLL.5.  Later we found a Nashville Warbler along the Republican River at 60 yards west of the Kansas border.

At dusk, an Eastern Screech-Owl called from east of Hale Ponds and north of the Republican River.  We heard another Eastern Screech-Owl along the River at 600 yards east of Hwy 385.

October 9

After just a couple of hours sleep, Bryan and I headed over to the Wray Fishing Unit and Stalker Pond, west of Wray.  The day started off overcast; rains moved in later.

The highlight of the day would be a Winter Wren moving about the cattails and weeds below the Stalker Pond dam.  We missed the resident Northern Cardinals today.

A couple of White-throated Sparrows moved along the canal on the east side of Yuma County Road FF.  The Eastern Phoebe pair that probably nested along the canal appears to have left the area.  We missed the resident Barn Owls today.

Heading north, we stopped at the Holyoke City Park, which was quiet today.  The Holyoke Cemetery was hopping with birds.  The best birds being a skunking Hooded Warbler and a Tennessee Warbler.  Chipping Sparrows were counted in the hundreds!  A Lincoln's Sparrow and Clay-colored Sparrow was among them.

Sand Draw Wildlife Area (Phillips County) was quiet.  We could not find the resident Barn Owl or the Field Sparrows, which quite often wander the short grasses along the eastern border.

The last few hours of light were spent searching for pipits, Greater Prairie-Chickens and/or Sharp-tailed Grouse near Marks Butte and neighboring county roads; without success.

October 10

Another overcast morning and rain in the afternoon.  We discovered two Sprague's Pipits along Sedgwick County Road 15, north of Highway 138.  This is one of the best two locations in Sedgwick County to search for them (the other being CR 30 between CR 55 & CR 61).

After "getting our Sedgwick County Sprague's Pipit", we headed over to Pony Express Wildlife Area.  A male Red-bellied Woodpecker fluttered about from cottonwood to cottonwood.  A Palm Warbler with its flicking tail was a surprise and the highlight.

We looked unsuccessfully for the on and off again Northern Cardinal at the Colorado Welcome Center along I76.  A Field Sparrow in the weeds on the east side of the property was a nice consolation.

Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop had another Red-bellied Woodpecker and not much else.  We checked unsuccessfully the Inca Dove spot of November 2011.

At dusk, we watched Sedgwick Draw (Logan) and were not disappointed.  A Short-eared Owl flew across the field just before sunset.

On the way to a friend's ranch, we drove the eastern road through Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan).  We were able to get an Eastern Screech-Owl to respond to our recording!  We also stopped at Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick).  An Eastern Screech-Owl responded to our recording here also!

October 11

We spent the night at Roger Danka's ranch again and woke to rain pouring down.  The forecast was for rain throughout the day.  Tired of birding in winds and rain, we decided to return to Denver.

No comments: