Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Return from Jackson County to Arapahoe County

December 14, 2014

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I returned from Jackson County.  Thanks to the eight birders who helped with the Colorado State Forest and Rabbit Ears Pass Christmas Counts.  Weather Friday and Saturday was excellent.  We enjoyed some good bird sightings including multiple Boreal Owls, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Long-eared Owl and Great Horned Owl.  Greater Sage-Grouse were found at five locations, American Three-toed Woodpeckers at six.  Four of us saw White-winged Crossbills (one pair) on Rabbit Ears Pass yesterday.  Others were not able to relocate them later in the afternoon.  Without a long snowshoe trip, they are probably not going to be found again.  Final results will be posted in January's "Colorado Field Notes".

We left Jackson County shortly after sunrise to avoid the coming snowstorms.  A dozen Rosy Finches and a pair of Pine Grosbeak were at the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center feeders.

Back in Denver, while doing chores I stopped at Arapahoe County Reservoirs.  I was waiting to hear about a Yellow-billed Loon sighting at Chatfield Reservoir.  However, visibility today was poor.  If the Yellow-billed Loon was relocated, I did not hear about it in time to travel the extra 20 miles.

Visibility was better at Aurora Reservoir but still not great.  I was able to find the Glaucous Gull and several Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  The majority of birds were too far into the fog for an ID. 

Then I hustled over to Cherry Creek Reservoir to see if I could find another Glaucous Gull (confirm two in the county?).  Visibility was poor.  I managed to see two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and one Bonaparte's Gull.  Duck-wise I saw one Long-tailed Duck but none of the other uncommon ducks.

I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams County) on the way home and was rewarded with a Short-eared Owl sighting.  Many times during a snow storm, the Short-eared Owls will hunt before sunrise.  Today one perched on one of those plastic green road markers along 114th avenue, just east of the west end of the DIA runways.

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