Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Brief Northeastern Colorado Trip!

July 21-23, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I made a brief trip to Northeastern Colorado.  Owls were fledgling and rumors of an Eastern Meadowlark sparked our interest.  Weatherwise, it was hot with temperatures in the middle 90s; rains continued to hit the area most afternoons.

July 21

The report of a singing Eastern Wood-Pewee was intriguing.  We arrived at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan County) shortly before sunrise.

An Eastern Screech-Owl was heard at a new location in the Wildlife Area (west of CR 55).  Eventually the Eastern Wood-Pewee was also found singing west of CR 55. 

We enjoyed a successful morning at the Wildlife Area finding seven Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a Great Crested Flycatcher, two Eastern Bluebirds, Bell's Vireos, Field Sparrows, a Cassin's Sparrow, Baltimore Orioles, Northern Cardinal, Yellow-billed Cuckoo (both west and east of CR 55), Green Heron (thanks Bill Kaempfer) and Common Yellowthroat.

The afternoon was spent visiting two private ranches where our friends pointed out a Long-eared Owl with two young, Dickcissels at both ranches, a Barn Owl and another Great Crested Flycatcher.

Late in the afternoon, we drove over to Jumbo Reservoir and watched the field at the southeast corner.  Our wait was rewarded with a Short-eared Owl flying back and forth across the field.  Later an Eastern Screech-Owl responded to our recordings play at the north side of Jumbo.

July 22

Bryan and I decided to explore Little Jumbo Reservoir (Logan) in greater detail.  The area is quite wet from all the rains received this spring and summer.  We "geared up" in mosquito nets over our heads, long sleeves and pants and high boots.

The highlight was a Yellow-crowned Night-Heron along the stream and cattails east of Little Jumbo Reservoir and west of the road along the west side of Jumbo Reservoir.  Yellow-crowned Night-Herons are found many summers in the area.  There are probably more than birders know.  The search was quite difficult in 6 inches of water and mosquitoes buzzing around in hordes.

Other birds found during the night included Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-breasted Chats, a Baltimore Oriole, two Bell's Vireos, Spotted Towhees, Lincoln's Sparrow(s), Song Sparrows, two Virginia Rails and a Sora!

We rested in the afternoon with a barbecue at Roger Danka's Ranch (after a long shower to wash off the grime).  Two Eastern Screech-Owls called shortly after dusk.

July 23

Bryan and I explored areas east and south of Julesburg today.  Again, it was quite hot (almost 100) and thunderstorms rolled in the late afternoon.

We could not relocate a reported Eastern Meadowlark near the Julesburg Rest Stop.  DePoorter Lake added a Baltimore Oriole and White-throated Sparrow to our day list.  No Harris's Sparrows were found this trip.

Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop was interesting.  Another Baltimore Oriole and a Great Crested Flycatcher were the highlights.  We checked the areas where Common Ground-doves have been found in the past; without success.  No Eastern Towhees were found this trip.

Thunderstorms shorten our birding day.  Sitting under a porch and watching the lighting show was a relaxing end to our day.

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