Monday, October 27, 2014

North Eastern Colorado Trip

October 16-18, 2014

Richard Stevens:

October 16

Bryan Ehlmann and I returned to northeastern Colorado to catch the end of this fall's migration.

Nothing uncommon or new was found during a three hour walk at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan County).  We did find a Northern Cardinal, three Red-bellied Woodpeckers and two Field Sparrows.  We returned after sunset and heard one of the resident Eastern Screech-Owls calling.

At Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) the Pacific Loon was still swimming around in the middle of the lake.  A Lesser Black-backed Gull and Bonaparte's Gull were found flying around the southeast corner.

We stood at the southeast corner at sunset and watched for Short-eared Owls; without success.

October 17

Bryan and I heard an Eastern Screech-Owl calling before sunrise at Roger Danka's ranch (Sedgwick), then headed south down Highway 385.  A stop at Sand Creek Wildlife Area (Sedgwick County) and two WIAs along Sand Creek did not find any uncommon birds.

This time of year, we conduct bird counts at many of the Walk-In Areas on the eastern plains.  There are too many to visit all of them, so we concentrate on those along creeks.  While any birds are nice to find, our main target birds are sparrows (especially "ammodramus" sparrows).

The highlight of the day was a Blue-headed Vireo at the Holyoke Cemetery  We thought it a great "prize" until I looked up the previous sightings in the Colorado Bird database.  There have been 33 previous Blue-headed Vireo records in October just in the past 15 years.  Four of them were later than 10/17.  Duane Nelson found a Blue-headed Vireo in Las Animas on 11/11/2009 (late date).

A White-throated Sparrow was also found at the Cemetery and then we moved on to Wray.  Three White-throated Sparrows and two Field Sparrows were found at the Wray Fishing Unit (Yuma).

Two additional White-throated Sparrows and a Northern Cardinal (extrese western end) were encountered at Stalker Pond.  A visit to a friend's ranch added an Eastern Screech-Owl to our day list.

Later we heard another Eastern Screech-Owl at Hale Ponds as we set up camp.

October 18

A few nice birds flew around Hale Ponds on this gorgeous fall morning.  Two Field Sparrows were south of CR 4.  A Harris's Sparrow was in a brush pile along CR 4, west of Hale Ponds.  A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers was also found around the Ponds.

Again, we enjoy little luck at WIAs in Yuma County.  We stopped at seven WIAs along Highway 36 around Joes and Kirk.  No "ammodramus" sparrows or others for that matter (only a few White-crowned Sparrows).

We detoured up to Woodrow in late afternoon.  The WIAs areas along Beaver Creek and Sand Creek were quiet.

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