Sunday, January 18, 2015

Continued Birding Trip to South-central Colorado

January 13-15, 2015

Richard Stevens:

January 13

Bryan and I spent most of the day picking up the uncommon birds in Fremont County for our year list.

Greater White-fronted Geese were at Valco Ponds.  Two Rufous-crowned Sparrows were found while hiking up Tunnel Drive.  Another birder reported a Fox Sparrow (we did not find it).

A previously reported Williamson's Sapsucker was found at Centennial Park.  We relocated one of the Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers at Rouse Park.

The most interesting stop was the Arkansas Riverwalk hike from Raynolds to Sells Pond.  Eventually, we recorded two Stub-tailed Wrens.  Both a Pacific Wren and Winter Wren have been reported here this winter.  Bryan and I are more conservative and prefer to call them Stub-tailed Wrens (although, at least one of them is a Winter Wren).  Further study is needed before we call either a Pacific Wren.

January 14

After a late start having searched for Spotted Owls most of last night, Bryan and I drove to Red Canyon Park (Fremont County).  About 12 Pinyon Jays were observed flying around the Pinyon-Juniper Woodlands.

We then headed east to Brush Hollow Wildlife Area (Fremont).  Another 20+ Pinyon Jays flew around southeast of the dam.  Two Juniper Titmice and a flock of 6+ Bushtits also added to our year list.

Our next stop was Beaver Creek Wildlife Area.  Two Wild Turkeys wandered along the creek.  About 15 minutes after sunset, a Northern Pygmy-Owl made a contact call!

Persistent paid off, we found (heard) at Spotted Owl tonight!  Location of this protected species will always remain discreet.

Our "owl listening stations" picked up another Northern Saw-whet Owl this night.  Strange that they called.  Usually our only successful technique is to play recordings while sitting nearby.  Scanning the area then with a spotlight sometimes reveals a nearby owl.

January 15

Bryan and I wound down our south-central Colorado trip with a drive down the Shelf Road to Cripple Creek and Victor.  No Rosy Finches were found at Cripple Creek (Teller County); however, we spotted about 50 Rosy Finches in Victor.  Most were Brown-capped Rosy Finches; however, two Gray-crowned and half a dozen Black Rosy Finches were picked out of the flock.

We wanted to go owling after sunset and continued east to Rampart Range Road and Highway 67.  A male American Three-toed Woodpecker drummed just north of Hwy 67 and east of Rampart Range Road.

After dark, a Northern Pygmy-Owl made a contact call when we played a recording along Rampart Range Road about 0.15 miles south of Hwy 67.  We were not able to find or pick up (on our "owl listening stations") any calls from Northern Saw-whet Owls reported in the area by David Suddjian on 1/12.

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