Sunday, July 26, 2015

Another Dickcissel Search in Arapahoe & Elbert Counties

July 19, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan & Sue Ehlmann, Rebecca Kosten and I went out looking for Dickcissel in Arapahoe & Elbert Counties.  We were on our way to a barbecue at a friend's home in Douglas County.

Temperatures were in the 80s early in the morning, but rose quickly to the middle 90s by afternoon.  It was pleasant at 7:00 am when we tried to relocate the Ash-throated Flycatcher reported the before along Gun Club Road, south of 112th avenue (Denver County).

The Ash-throated Flycatcher was not found.  Hundreds of Mourning Doves flew up from the fields as we drove down to 3rd Creek.  Two Burrowing Owls were at the prairie dog town just north of 104th avenue.  A Barn Owl was around the Gun Club Road Field Office.

We walked Gun Club Road for an hour without an Ash-throated Flycatcher sighting.  A Dickcissel sang from a Miner's Candle plant just south of 3rd Creek.  A Cassin's Kingbird was among the many Western Kingbirds perched on telephone wires. 

Our trek continued over to Hudson Road between 56th and 72nd avenues.  A Cassin's Kingbird was on the telephone wires just east of Hudson & 72nd avenue.  Several Sage Thrashers were also observed during the drive.  A No Trespassing Sign stopped us from driving further north on Hudson and we turned east to Imboden Road and then south to I70.

Another Dickcissel was encountered at Arapahoe County Road 137 (Bennett-Kiowa Road) on our drive south to Kiowa (Elbert County).  The farmer had started to cut his fields at the infamous Dickcissel field along Elbert Road (about 4.1 miles south of Hwy 86).   At least three Dickcissel were on the irrigation machinery.  Their songs filled the air.  Several Grasshopper Sparrows were also heard.

After the serenade, our troop turned westward to Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas County).  We circled around and searched for any remaining Bobolink on the Winkler Ranch located on the southwest side of the State Park.

Males usually leave the area in early July; we hoped a few females and young would still be around.  Only one Bobolink, an adult male, was observed.  He was about 1.2 miles south of the traditional breeding grounds.

Castlewood Canyon Road was lined with Vesper Sparrows and Tree Swallows.  Only a few Mountain Bluebirds remained; most are likely done nesting for this summer.

Wild Turkeys were numerous; we counted nineteen spread over four groups from north of the Winkler Ranch entrance to the southern end of the State Park.

Spotted Towhees, Common Yellowthroats (along Cherry Creek), a Cordilleran Flycatcher, a pair of Lazuli Buntings were also seen.  The Lewis's Woodpecker that has been reported several times this summer eluded us.

Daylight ended with a delicious barbecue put on by our friend.  It surely raised the cholesterol count of all of us, but so good!

On the way home we "drove through" Castlewood Canyon State Park at a crawling pace.  Two Northern Saw-whet Owls were found.

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