Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Adams County Birding With Detour to Bluff Lake Nature Area, Denver County

April 27, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I started our birding afternoon in Adams County.  First, we scoped Barr Lake (Adams) and relocated one of the two Common Loons.

Two Ospreys are now on and around the nesting platform of the Pioneer Trail.  Let us hope they succeed in raising young!

Two Swainson's Hawks circled over the Visitor's Center.  No uncommon birds were around the feeders behind the Visitor's Center.

Next, we drove to Bluff Lake Nature Area (Denver County) and walked the 1.0 mile loop below the parking area.  The rain had stopped and winds were calm.

A Virginia Rail called from underneath the boardwalk.  A Sora called from the cattails southeast of the boardwalk.

When we walked to the northwest corner of the park, an "empidonax flycatcher" was hawking insects.  It eventually flew to the other side of the marsh, north of the main trail.  It was too wet to follow; identification remained "unknown".

Two Swainson's Hawks and a Red-tailed Hawk circled overhead.  All called constantly, allow us great comparisons of the two.

American Robins were numerous.  A Say's Phoebe caught insects as we climbed back up the stairs below the Visitor's building.

Misses: no orioles, warblers, vireos or additional flycatchers.

Back along the DIA Owl Loop, we found nine Burrowing Owls spread over three locations.  Just before sunset (time of sunset, it was cloudy, could not see the sun set), a Short-eared Owl flew back and forth west of Gun Club Road, south of 114th avenue.

This is the same field that is east of the prairie dog town along Quency Street (3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th Avenue).

Five Swainson's Hawks, two Red-tailed Hawks and an American Kestrel were counted along the Owl Loop.

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Northern Mockingbird at Cherry Creek Reservoir

April 26, 2015

While out doing chores, Rebecca and I received a text message about a Northern Mockingbird at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  Winds were mild; however, it rained most of the afternoon.

When we arrived at the northeastern boat launch area, a quite wet Northern Mockingbird was walking up and down the sandy trails near the western restroom.  Given five more seconds, I would have captured some nice photos.  Several dog walkers (dogs off lease) walked by and the mockingbird disappeared.

After waiting about 20 minutes, the Northern Mockingbird reappeared (photos later on the Colorado Birding Society's "photo library").  I took about 40 photos before another unleashed dog and owner walked down the cement path.  We did not continue to wait.

A loose flock of sparrows at the eastern end of the parking area included:  three Vesper, four Lark, a Savannah and Song Sparrow.

No shorebirds were along the swim beach or at the Cottonwood Creek Wetlands.

In the pouring rain, most gulls were on the poles outlining the southwestern marina.  American White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, a dozen or more Franklin's Gulls and two Bonaparte's Gulls were included.

Outside of the park along Bellvue Avenue, we scoped the Bellvue wetlands.  The area is full of water, no shore.  Eleven White-faced Ibis (no Glossy) fed in the taller grasses around the pond.

A wet Western Kingbird was on the fence south of Bellvue and Cherry Creek drive (near last years Great Horned Owl nest).  While there was no owl on the nest, we did spot a Great Horned Owl on a nest in the park.

Only a couple of Burrowing Owls were out along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams).  No Short-eared Owls appeared today.

Reluctant Trip to Belmar Historic Park Turns Out Well

April 25, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I was not going out today to catch up on household chores.  When Loch Kilpatrick reported a Northern Parula at Belmar Historic Park (Jefferson County), I of course had to attempt to see it.

Regrettably, the Northern Parula was not relocated.  I looked at two dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers south of the small pond where the Parula was reported.

Then a dozen additional birds flew into the area.  First one, then two, three and four vireos flew into the cottonwoods along the larger lake.  At least two Cassin's Vireos and a Plumbeous Vireo eventually flew into the pines to the south. 

The fourth vireo would be left unidentified.  It was quite possible that it was a Blue-headed Vireo.  Unfortunately, I made the mistake reaching for my camera instead of obtaining better looks at the bird.  The other three birds were photographed (will put in May's "Colorado Field Notes" or perhaps the Colorado Birding Society's Photo Library).

Other birds that appeared included a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, one Bushtit (strange that there was only one), an Orange-crowned Warbler, and a Hermit Thrush.

At 5:30 pm, winds went from mild to 8 mph as a front blew into the park.  Most of the birds hid in the pines and willows along the south side of the small pond.  Additional looks were close to impossible.

Windy Day At Reynolds Park

April 24, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rick DeBolt and I enjoyed the morning with a hike at Reynolds Park (Jefferson County).  Weather deteriorated as the day continued.

We arrived 30 minutes before sunrise.  No Common Poorwills were enticed to call.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl was found along the Songbird Trail.

Hiking up the Oxen Draw Trail, continuing uphill (south) on the Eagle's View Trail, a female American Three-toed Woodpecker was observed crossing the trail from east to west.

Once at the top of the Eagle's View Trail we heard the booming of a male Dusky Grouse.  It took 15-20 minutes; however, eventually we spotted the bird displaying about 10 yards into the forest.

As we hiked downhill along the Raven's Roost Trail, a male Williamson's Sapsucker was found drumming.  He was right along the trail and several hundred yards south of the old service road (maps can be found at main parking area).

Winds continued to pick up and we abandoned again plans to continue owling in Park County.

After dropping Rick off, I continued to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Anemometer readings when I arrived were 16 mph, with gusts to 23 mph.

No shorebirds were on the swim beach this afternoon.  About twenty Yellow-rumped Warblers (both Audubon and Myrtle) hung to trees around the Smoky Hill Picnic area.  Those that lost their grip were blown far away before catching another branch.

No White-faced Ibis were at the Cottonwood Creek Wetlands today. 

My final stop was at the marina parking area.  Most years, my first Western Kingbird of the year is found below the parking area.  Another birder had just photographed a Western Kingbird near the ski jet rental building.  I spent the next 20 minutes unsuccessfully searching for the bird.  By then, it was probably blown across the lake.

 Several hundred swallows perched on the boats around the southwest marina included all six common species found in Colorado.

Eleven Burrowing Owls, spread over four locations, braved the wind and stood around the DIA Owl Loop (Adams).

A Long Drive Back to Loveland Pass, Then Back to Denver

April 23, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Our trip to search for White-tailed Ptarmigan on Loveland Pass (Clear Creek/Summit Counties) was a success.  However, traffic due to construction was horrible.  It took hours to go a dozen miles.

Eventually, four White-tailed Ptarmigan were spotted below the ragged rocks on the eastern side of the Summit.  One or two Brown-capped Rosy Finches were observed flying overhead.

A stop at Genesee Mountain Park (Jefferson) on the way back to Denver added a pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers near the top of the park.

We detoured to Pine Valley Ranch Park (Jefferson) where a female American Three-toed Woodpecker was found below the Parkview and Strawberry Jack Trails.  No Northern Pygmy-Owl could be found.

Our plan to search for Northern Pygmy-Owls and Northern Saw-whet Owls south of Bailey was canceled when it started to rain quite a bit.

On the way home, I stopped at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Dozens of White-faced Ibis walked around the Cottonwood Creek Wetlands. 

Later I found two Marbled Godwits, four Willets and a Greater Yellowlegs on the swim beach!  Photos later!  I did run into a Maine birder and pointed him to the shorebirds. 

Sorry Jerry, I called on my radio, did not get an answer (Jerry Petrosky was at the park, birding a different area).

Yet Another Grouse Trip

April 15-22, 2015

The CoBus group started another Grouse Trip with four members.  It was snowing a little after midnight.  One Boreal Owl was heard and another was seen just west of Cameron Pass.

Just before sunrise, 49 Greater Sage-Grouse were observed displaying at the Jackson County Road 26b Lek.  Less than a dozen were female birds.

A search for the resident American Three-toed Woodpecker at Rabbit Ears Pass (Grand) turned up unsuccessful.  Four Red Crossbills flew around the entrance road to the maintenance sheds.  No White-winged Crossbills were among them.

Recent snows made a drive down 80 Route (Routt County) impossible.  Instead, we sat at the 20 Road Leks (Routt) at dusk.  Sharp-tailed Grouse did show up; however, it was quite dark and looks were terrible.

April 16, 2015

We returned to the 20 Road leks just before sunrise.  In my experience, Sharp-tailed Grouse visit their leks later than other grouse.  They seldom show up before sunrise.  This morning twenty birds appeared and "did their thing" in the tall grasses just north of the infamous pipe gate.

A detour to the Oxbow State Trust Lands (Moffat) found two Sagebrush Sparrows and three Sage Thrashers.

No Barrow's Goldeneyes were found on the Yampa River as we returned to Craig and headed south.

Luck was with us at Coal Canyon; two Chukar were observed on the hillside west of the second pipe gate parking area.  Several Black-throated Sparrows were enticed to jump out of the brush and sing!  A Rock Wren wandered on the rocky hillside to the east.

In spite of light snow, a Boreal Owl was found at the second pullover south of Spruce Grove Campgrounds.  Unfortunately, no American Three-toed Woodpeckers or Northern Pygmy-Owls could be found around the Powderhorn Ski Area.  We did stop and look at the Northern Saw-whet Owl along Highway 65.

April 17, 2015

Before entering the Colorado National Monument (Mesa County) from the southern entrance, we drove around the subdivision just outside.  A dozen Gambel's Quail walked around several of the yards.  Some were singing from the top of the bushes and scrubs.

A walk down the Devil's Kitchen trail found a Black-throated Gray Warbler and several Pinyon Jays.  Regrettably, no Black-chinned Sparrows have shown up yet this year.

Another Black-throated Gray Warbler and four Pinyon Jays flew around the Campgrounds.  Juniper Titmice chattered from the Juniper bushes.  Two Bushtits and many White-throated Swifts were also seen.

A drive to Pinnacle Rock at Escalante Canyon (Delta) added a Black Phoebe to our trip list.

While there, we received a text message about a Painted Redstart sighting in the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park (Montrose).  Eventually we searched for two hours without finding the bird.  No Dusky Grouse came out (it was in early morning).

We decided to detour to Durango and Cortez for a later search for Lucy's Warblers.  Predicted snowstorms made the decision to continue south instead of east an easy one.

It was too late to look today; instead, we stretched our legs at the Huck Finn Pond in Durango.  Both our target birds (Black Phoebe & Lewis's Woodpecker) were found!

April 18, 2015

I called up a friend who lives near Dove Creek.  He occasionally (some years) has Gunnison Sage-Grouse visit his ranch.  He had seen two to four this year and at first light, we parked at a potential lek.  Eventually, two Gunnison Sage-Grouse did show up.

We then turned around and drove to Yellow Jacket Canyon in Montrose County.  The strenuous hike down the canyon was well worth it when Bill found a Lucy's Warbler near the northeastern end of the public land.  The bird flew to the private property across the creek; however, it most likely will return.  We also found our third Black-throated Gray Warbler of our trip!  Other birds included two Bushtits and a Gambel's Quail.

It was a little early for Summer Tanagers (early dates are 4/25 & 4/28); however, Lucy's Warblers have been reported in past years on 4/12/2008; 4/12/2014; 4/13/2013 and 4/16/2011(with mean arrival date being 4/23 (see March 2015 "Colorado Field Notes").

We retired early to catch up on some sleep.

April 19, 2015

Having picked up Gunnison Sage-Grouse yesterday, our trek did not require heading back to Montrose and Gunnison and the winter weather.  Instead, we continued east.  A quick drive to Wildcat Canyon (La Plata) found two Acorn Woodpeckers at their usual location.

While a drive around the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge, (Rio Grande) did not find the previously reported Brant.

Having already found Sagebrush Sparrows, we opted to skip the drive to John James Canyon in Conejos County.  Black Swifts traditionally do not return to Colorado until late May or even June; we skipped a drive to Zapata Falls (Alamosa).

The drive over La Veta Pass many times has caused but stress (my most dreaded Colorado Pass).  Today it was quite tame.

A Greater Roadrunner was found along Highway 160 shortly after we passed San Francisco Creek (Las Animas).

We turned south on Baca County Road 16, just west of Pritchett.  The road is one of my favorite routes to Cottonwood Canyon.  Two Mountain Plover were spotted east of CR 16, between CR R & CR S.  A Long-billed Curlew was just north of CR T.

At dusk, we found a Western Screech-Owl in Cottonwood Canyon (the draw near the primitive Campgrounds.

April 20, 2015

Bryan Ehlmann and I found the Elkhart, Kansas Leks to have few Lesser Prairie-Chickens this year.  Our only sightings were along the road into the lek and not the lek itself (although our visits were quite early in the season).

Fortunately, we found a lek in Colorado (Baca County) where up to four male Lesser Prairie-Chickens have performed their ritual dances.  In three trips, we have not seen any females.

Afterwards, we stopped at the entrance road to the old Campo Lek.  The dirt road headed north has been good for sparrows this year and past years.  A Cassin's Sparrow was observed performing his flight display with accompanying song!  A few Vesper Sparrows, a Brewer's Sparrow and two Song Sparrows were also in the area.

We returned to Cottonwood Canyon, which was rich with birds.  Two Eastern Phoebes, two Rufous-crowned Sparrows, an Ash-throated Flycatcher, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Canyon Towhees, Spotted Towhee, Chihuahuan Ravens and many Wild Turkeys were found.

Our trek continued toward Lamar with several stops. Probably the best bird was a Northern Parula at Turk's Pond (Baca).  A Great Crested Flycatcher and White-throated Sparrow was found at Burchfield Wildlife Area.

No Mountain Plovers were found along the roads surrounding Two Buttes Reservoir (Baca). We scoped from the dam road and saw a Black-and-white Warbler walking along the limbs of a cottonwood tree. Construction has closed the northern side below the dam.  However, there is some access from the south side.  The resident Barn Owl eluded us today.

A walk around Fairmount Cemetery and the Lamar Community College woods added only three Northern Cardinals, a male Red-bellied Woodpecker, two Chimney Swifts and a Brown Thrasher to our trip list.

April 21, 2015

The detour to John Martin Reservoir (Bent) was well worth the trip.  Even though we missed the Black Rails, Snowy Plovers and Semipalmated Plovers were relocated from the north side overlook.  Two Piping Plovers were later found along the south side.

A quick detour to Upper Queens Reservoir (Kiowa) found a Mountain Plover and two Burrowing Owls (along the west side).  Neenoshe Reservoir however was slow.

We arrived in early afternoon at Bonny Reservoir (Yuma).  Two Long-eared Owls and Wild Turkey were found at the now defunct State Park.  Eastern Bluebirds were found along Yuma County Road 4 as we drove to Hale Ponds.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker called and drummed on a cottonwood tree while we waited for sunset.  Later an Eastern Screech-Owl called several times.

April 22, 2015

Thirty minutes before sunrise, we watched six Greater Prairie-Chickens dance at the Yuma County Road 45 Lek.  Plenty of Horned Larks flew along the road as we drove back to Highway 385.

Stops at nearby Wildlife Areas found several nice birds.  Two White-throated Sparrows and an Eastern Phoebe were at the Wray Fishing Unit.  A male Northern Cardinal was relocated at Stalker Pond.  A House Wren fluttered about below the spillway.

We passed one of my favorite pastures in Pawnee National Grasslands and relocated one of the nesting Mountain Plovers.  Our birding trip would end at the field at Highway 85 & Weld County Road 114.  Two male Chestnut-collared Longspurs in new breeding plumage performed their mating flights.

Nothing uncommon was found along CR 48 (south side of Lower Latham Reservoir) as I took several birders to DIA.

On the way home, I stopped by Barr Lake (Adams) and relocated the Common Loon first found on 4/10.  I could not resist driving the nearby DIA Owl Loop and counted nine Burrowing Owls.  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

Search for Early Migrants in Arapahoe County

April 14, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Still too early in the spring, I still searched for early migrants.

A drive through Cherry Creek State Park (Arapahoe) found few uncommon birds.  A few Bonaparte's Gulls flew around, not much else.  American White Pelicans and Double-crested Cormorants have returned.  Gulls were few and all Ring-billed Gulls.

Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) was also slow.  Only a few gulls flew about.  The majority were Ring-billed Gulls and a couple of California Gulls.

Another Trip to Loveland Pass

April 13, 2015

I took two Illinois birders up to Loveland Pass (Clear Creek County).  It was surprisingly quiet.  Few skiers and mild winds made for a pleasant morning of birding.  After stopping at three pullovers along the highway, we found two White-tailed Ptarmigan below the eastern side of the Summit.

Afterwards, I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams) and counted nine Burrowing Owls spread over three locations.  At dusk, a Short-eared Owl flew around the field east of Quency Street and 3.2 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue intersection.

Drive to Fort Collins Walmart

April 12, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I made a trip north to the Walmart Pond in Fort Collins (Larimer County).  Winds were measured at 12 mph with gusts to 21 mph.  We found it difficult to stay on our feet; holding binoculars steady was quite a task.

Only one of the three previously reported Long-tailed Ducks were on the pond.  A pair of Red-breasted Mergansers and a lone Western Grebe was all we found.

A stop at Windsor Lake on the trip back to Denver found two Bonaparte's Gulls flying around the southeastern corner.

We also stopped at Barr Lake (Adams) and relocated the Common Loon I found on 4/10 off the boat ramp.  Several Bonaparte's Gulls also flew around here.  The Barn Owl was not in his or her owl box today.  An Osprey stood on the nesting platform near mile 8.2.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Birding Along Interstate 76

April 11, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I birded along Interstate 76 today.  Skies were overcast; winds 8 mph.

At Jackson Reservoir (Morgan County), we managed to relocate one Long-eared Owl at the Campgrounds.  A walk along the southern dam walk for about a mile found two Bonaparte's Gulls and a 1st/2nd year Glaucous Gull.  It appeared to be too early for migrants; not even a House Wren was found.

Several American Avocets, a Greater Yellowlegs and Lesser Yellowlegs were observed from the northern Wildlife Area.

The Bonaparte's Gulls may be those found at nearby Andrick Wildlife Area.  Nothing uncommon was found there.

The previously reported Winter Wrens could not be found at Brush Wildlife Area.  One Red-bellied Woodpecker was observed working the trees at the northern border.  No House Wrens, they might have been expected.

Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington) was slower yet.  Two Bonaparte's Gulls were found flying around the eastern end.  Few birds moved around the outlet canal below the dam.

At dusk, we found an Eastern Screech-Owl at the inlet area.

Saturday, April 11, 2015

Walk Around Barr Lake

April 10, 2015

Rebecca and I wanted to go for a long walk and chose Barr Lake (Adams County).  We did not expect much during the three mile hike.  It appears to be too early for (most) migrants? 

The highlight was a Common Loon in breeding plumage.  It was west-southwest off the Niedrach Boardwalk Trail.  At 5:30 pm, skies were overcast and the loon was several hundred yards off the lookout platform.  I did put two witness shots on the Colorado Birding Society's website ("recent witness photos" link).

Still no House Wrens, flycatchers or orioles, they should show up any day now.

Later we counted eleven Burrowing Owls spread over four locations along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams).  No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.

Chatfield Reservoir to Cherry Creek Reservoir to DIA Owl Loop

April 9, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Today Bryan Ehlmann and I went to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas).  We missed Rusty Blackbirds and Eastern Phoebe at the Deer Creek Inlet.  We did find an Eastern Phoebe at Plum Creek Delta, but missed the Northern Saw-whet Owl south of Kingfisher Bridge.  Within 30 minutes, Eastern Phoebe photos will be on Colorado Birding Society's website, "photo library link".

A juvenile Bald Eagle was at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Photos on website.

No Brown Pelican was at Chatfield Reservoir, Cherry Creek Reservoir, Quincy Reservoir or Aurora Reservoir.  Two Black-necked Stilts were at eastern end of Cherry Creek Reservoir.

Fourteen Burrowing Owls were observed along the DIA Owl Loop on our way down to Chatfield Reservoir, going out to look for Short-eared Owls now.

In late afternoon, Rebecca Kosten and I returned to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  Still no Brown Pelican, at least 36 White Pelicans were on the lake.  At 7:38 pm, six minutes after sunset, a Short-eared Owl flew 15 feet over our car when we drove by the cattail field just west of where Cherry Creek flows under Lake View Road (main road).

Trip to Pawnee National Grasslands

April 8, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I headed up to Pawnee National Grasslands (Weld County) on this beautiful spring day.  Mountain Plovers were our target birds.

Crow Valley Campground was quiet.  Still no House Wrens, orioles or flycatchers have arrived.

We found a Mountain Plover at a traditional nesting area!  Burrowing Owls were scarce (only found one).

A Prairie Falcon was on the fence along County Road 114.  We then hiked the field at the southeast corner of Highway 85 and CR 114.  My route is to walk toward the windmill to the southeast.  Seldom do I have to go all the way before finding a Chestnut-collared Longspur.  Today we made it about 2/3 the way before a colorful male in breeding plumage flew up and performed his mating ritual.

We opted not to continue to Fort Collins to see the Long-tailed Ducks at the Walmart Pond.  Dealing with the traffic is just worth it.

Instead, we headed south to Lower Latham Reservoir (Weld).  Unfortunately, no shorebirds were found along County Road 48.  The Long-billed Curlew appeared to leave the Beebe Draw Ponds area.

Birding was slow on our return to Denver.

Another Grouse Trip

March 31 to April 7, 2015

Richard Stevens:

March 31 to April 7, 2015

March 31

Mark Foresman, Dale Casey and I started on a Grouse Trip today.  I found twelve Burrowing Owls along the DIA Owl Loop when driving over to the Airport to pick them up.

One of their target birds was a Flammulated Owl.  I could only think of one possible location to try for one.  They were up for anything and we drove to the western side of Pennock Pass.  Muddy roads close down the Summit until late May or June.

We hiked up the road about 1.6 miles before finding a Flammulated Owl.  They usually migrate into Colorado the last week of March or first week of April.  Unfortunately, most access roads are closed leading to few early spring records.

April 1

Continuing west to Walden, we stopped and listened for Boreal Owls once we reached Cameron Pass (Jackson County).  Two Boreal Owls were heard and one seen along Highway 14 (between mile markers 61-62).  The owls were calling on their own; we played no recordings.  Too many birders search this area for Boreal Owls; I suspect the owls are disturbed much.

At first light, sixty+ Greater Sage-Grouse entertained us with their mating dances at the Jackson County 26b Lek!

We stopped at Rabbit Ears Pass (Grand) to look for Crossbills and Woodpeckers.  A female American Three-toed Woodpecker was along the road to the maintenance shed.  Two flocks (28 birds) of Red Crossbills did not have a White-winged Crossbill with them.

Sharp-tailed Grouse visited my friend's home in Steamboat Springs early in the morning.  They were gone before our arrival.

We ended our day at the 20 Road Leks.  No Sharp-tailed Grouse appeared before it was too dark to see them.  We could hear one or two.

April 2

At first light, we parked at the infamous cattle guard up Routt 80 Route (actually 20 yards north).  The male Dusky Grouse came out of the brush, looked around and disappeared back into the tangles.

It was to say the least, an interesting drive up the 80 route.  Several snowdrifts forced us to dig out our jeep.  We had anticipated this and brought along two shovels.  Past experience helped as I still have nightmares from the time I had to dig out with an ice scrapper at 10:00 pm.

Eventually we found seven Sharp-tailed Grouse at the old Jimmy Dunn State Trust Land lek.  Five Sharp-tailed Grouse were observed at their lek (farther south).

After searching Loudy Simpson Park in Craig (Moffat), no birds, we continued to Oxbow State Trust Lands (Moffat).  Two Sagebrush Sparrows and a Sage Thrasher were just east of the parking area.

No Barrow's Goldeneyes could be seen on the Yampa River (from Hwy 13).  Perch Pond south of Craig had no birds.

A Great-tailed Grackle was observed at the Rifle Rest Stop along I70 (Garfield County).

We next drove up Coal Canyon at Cameo (Mesa).  Two Chukar were found on the hillside southwest of the parking area at the second pipe gate.  Two Black-throated Sparrows popped up from the brush and sang.

We then drove up the Grand Mesa (Mesa).  A stop at Powderhorn Ski Area found an American Three-toed Woodpecker in the trees at the eastern end of the upper parking area.

Then we drove to the Visitor's Center and waiting for dark.  A Clark's Nutcracker was seen around the Grand Mesa Lodge. 

We stopped at the various pullovers along Highway 65 on our return trip to Powderhorn.  Boreal Owls were heard at two stops; observed at one!

Back at Powderhorn Ski Area, a Northern Pygmy-Owl responded to our recordings played near the entrance road (up the semi-loop road).

April 3

At first light, we drove around the subdivision just outside the southern (eastern) entrance to the Colorado National Monument (Mesa).  More than a dozen Gambel's Quail wandered around the homes.

A Black-throated Sparrow sang from a bush just outside of the entrance.  A walk to the Devil's Kitchen trail did not find any Black-chinned Sparrows, flycatchers or vireos.  None was expected, too early in the season.

To save time, we drove to the northern (western) entrance to the Monument and continued to the Campgrounds.  Four Pinyon Jays flew around the Campgrounds.  Juniper Titmice and Bushtits were easy to find.

No Western Screech-Owls or Barrow's Goldeneyes were found at Confluence Park in Delta (Delta County).

Few birds were on Fruitgrower's Reservoir (Delta).  No Lewis's Woodpeckers were below the dam near Evelyn Horn's home.  Fortunately, a Lewis's Woodpecker was in the cottonwood next to the Eckert Post Office.

We continued to the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park (Montrose) and drove the South Rim Drive to the Visitor's Center (road closed farther west for season).

A few Clark's Nutcrackers and two White-throated Swifts flew below us.  A drive through the Campgrounds did not find a Dusky Grouse so we parked at the intersection of the road to the eastern Campgrounds and the main road.

Just before sunset, a male Dusky Grouse walked out onto the road.  Regrettably, he did not display.

April 4

Thirty minutes before sunrise, we drove Road 884, north of the Waunita Hot Springs Lek.  Eight Gunnison Sage-Grouse were observed several hundred yards farther north than the old lek.

Note: Later we heard that they could be seen from the old lek parking area (although, quite far away).

We stopped at the Rest Stop/parking area for Monarch Ski Area on the south side of Highway 50.  Male American Three-toed Woodpeckers were observed on both the north and south sides of Hwy 50.

Continuing along Highway 50 through Salida to Canon City, we saw few birds.  It took only ten minutes to find a Rufous-crowned Sparrow down Tunnel Drive in Canon City. 

A drive south down the Swallows Road (Pueblo West) found two Curve-billed Thrashers, two Scaled Quail and a Loggerhead Shrike.

It was still early in the day; we decided to detour to Beulah (Pueblo) for Acorn Woodpeckers and owls.  Only one Acorn Woodpecker was found at Pueblo Mountain Park.

Armed with GPS waypoints, we found a Northern Pygmy-Owl and two Northern Saw-whet Owls around Beulah.  This made the detour quite worthwhile!

April 5

Our troop continued to Cottonwood Canyon (Baca County) arriving at 2:00 am.  A Western Screech-Owl was found around the primitive Campgrounds, and then we set up camp in Comanche National Grasslands (slept in car).

At first light, we found three male Lesser Prairie-Chickens at a "lek" that Bryan Ehlmann and I had discovered earlier this year.  The old campo lek is closed; we have been told only one bird goes to it.  We are interested in seeing if additional birds come to "our new lek".

Afterwards we stopped at the entrance road to the old Campo Lek and walked the dirt road heading north from Baca CR G.  A Cassin's Sparrow was performing his mating flight at 300 yards north of CR G and 200 yards east.

At Picture Canyon, we found a Rufous-crowned Sparrow on the eastern rocky ridge about 250 feet south of the parking area.  Few birds were at the rocky cliffs with the hieroglyphs.  As we walked to the springs near the southern Colorado border, a Curve-billed Thrasher walked the rocks along the ridge south of the gated tunnel.

No uncommon birds were visiting the spring area this day and we returned to our vehicle.  From Picture Canyon we drove back to visit Cottonwood Canyon during daylight.  Another Rufous-crowned Sparrow was found at their usual location 1.4 miles east of the Campgrounds at Carrizo Creek.

Two Eastern Phoebes were up the draw south of Carrizo Creek and the Campgrounds.  A Ladder-backed Woodpecker was seen down the draw south of the old stone house.

A Long-billed Curlew was along Baca County Road M, just west of highway 385.  We drove through Pasture G (west across Highway 385 from the Washington Work Center.  No Mountain Plovers were in the field today; however, one Burrowing Owl was 0.2 miles into the field.

Nothing uncommon was found when we walked around Two Buttes Reservoir for an hour.

Our birding day ended at Lamar Community College (Prowers).  A Northern Cardinal was at the south end of the woods.  A male Red-bellied Woodpecker was found at the north end.

April 6

After spending the night in Lamar, we detoured to the west end of John Martin Reservoir (Bent County).  One Black Rail was heard along Bent County Road HH, east of CR 13.  We also found a Virginia Rail and Sora.

We turned north and headed to Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area (Yuma).  No Mountain Plovers were found at their traditional field near Eads (Kiowa).  Sheridan Lake (Kiowa) was dry.  No Grasshopper Sparrows have yet shown up in the grasses north of the lake.

Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area and Hale were explored the rest of the day.  A Long-eared Owl was relocated in the windbreak east of Foster's Grove.  A pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers was along the gated road along the south side of the dry reservoir.

Eastern Bluebirds were below the dam (off Yuma County Road zLL.5.  We hoped for an uncommon sparrow or Sprague's Pipit (too late or early in the season?).

Another pair of Red-bellied Woodpeckers was along the west side of the western Hale Pond.  At dusk, we heard an Eastern Screech-Owl north of the Hale Ponds.  After dark, we heard another Eastern Screech-Owl while we drove CR 3, east of Highway 385.

April 7

Thirty minutes before sunrise, we stopped at the Yuma County Road 45 Lek.  Four male Greater Prairie-Chickens called and displayed.  Afterwards, we drove to the Kitzmueller Ranch.  Another Greater Prairie-Chicken was perched high on a telephone pole!

Inclement weather was predicted for Denver and east.  Quick stops at Stalker Ponds and the Wray Fishing Unit (Yuma) found a few birds before we headed for home.

At Wray Fishing Unit, we found a Red-bellied Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebe (along creek) and two White-throated Sparrows (east of CR zFF.5).  Missed the Barn Owl.

At Stalker Pond, another Red-bellied Woodpecker was observed flying around the picnic area.  No wrens could be coaxed out of the marshes.  Missed the Northern Cardinal today.