Wednesday, May 13, 2015

A Sunny Day in Elbert County

May 13, 2015

I tried to duplicate David Suddjian's superb drive around Elbert County yesterday.  I did not come close.  However, a few interesting birds were flying around.

David's birds that I was able to relocate included a Dusky Flycatcher at Bijou Creek and CR 117 and a Field Sparrow near Bijou Creek and CR 170.  Target misses included the Chestnut-sided Warbler near Bijou Creek and CR 125 and the Mourning Warbler at Bijou Creek and CR 170.

The highlight of my drive around Elbert County was a Mourning Warbler at Box Elder Creek along County Line Road (spot where Northern Parula & Tennessee Warbler were found last week).

My luck improved at Barr Lake (Adams County) in spite of the late afternoon hike.  In my experience, birds follow the direct sunlight and I assume insects.  Barr Lake's main road is usually more active in the morning with its eastern sun.  The afternoon direct sunlight is on the side of trees inaccessible due to water levels. 

In order of sightings, walking from Visitor's Center footbridge to boat ramp (mile 7.5):

A Blackpoll Warbler was at mile 8.9 loosely associated with two Black-capped Chickadees and three Yellow-rumped Warblers.

A Hermit Thrush at mile 8.8.  Then a Nashville Warbler deep in the chokecherry bushes at mile 8.7.

The Barn Owl was at the banding station (mile 8.5).  One Osprey (female?) on nesting platform with the other (male) perched overhead along the shore.

At the willows, mile 7.8, I was trying to choose whether the thrush I was looking at was Swainson's or Hermit (turned out to be Swainson's Thrush).  Another thrush popped out of the underbrush and was a Gray-cheeked Thrush!

I forgot to scope the lake to see if the Common Loon was still present.

The birding day ended with a drive around the DIA Owl Loop.  At least five Burrowing Owls were spread over three locations.  About 10 minutes after sunset, a Short-eared Owl flew around the field west of Gun Club Road (south of 96th avenue).

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