Sunday, July 26, 2015

Colorado State Forest Owl Survey

June 3-12, 2015

Richard Stevens:

After a few days rest, Bryan Ehlmann and I headed to the Colorado State Forest (Jackson) where I monitor 155 owl boxes (number is down because of logging in the forest).

We took the chance that Trail Ridge Road in Rocky Mountain National Park (Larimer) would be open (officially it was, but nightly snowstorms could close it down).

We left in the afternoon and went owling in Rocky Mountain National Park after dusk.  Our arrival at Cow Creek was timed so that our hike to the three trailheads about a mile from the parking area would end just before dusk.

A search for Flammulated Owls along Cow Creek was not successful.  After civil twilight, we heard two Northern Pygmy-Owls near the wooden stairs (about 0.7 miles from the trailhead).

Later we found two Boreal Owls in the hidden valley area of Rocky Mountain National Park proper.

June 4

A walk through the snow at Medicine Bow Curve found two White-tailed Ptarmigan perhaps 200 yards from the pullover.

Nothing uncommon was found as we dropped down to Granby (Grand).  A Common Loon was found swimming around Lake Granby (from a pullover at the 1/3 western end of the lake).

We enjoyed a good meal in Granby and then drove up Muddy Pass Road (Grand).  Two American Three-toed Woodpeckers were found east of Muddy Pass Lake.  After dark we found our only Boreal Owl of the night around the lake.  Our "owl listening stations" that were set up along Muddy Pass Road, either side of the Lake did not pick up any owl calls this night.

June 5

After a couple of hours of sleep, Bryan and I drove to Ruby Jewell Road in the Colorado State Forest.  One Boreal Owl, zero Flammulated Owls called this morning.

We then rushed to the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge (Jackson) and drove around searching for Greater Sage-Grouse.  Eventually two Greater Sage-Grouse were found wandering along Jackson County Road 32.

June 6-11

Over the next six days we used our telescoping mirror to look in the 137 owl boxes that have survived de-foresting in the Colorado State Forest (originally there were 155).

Final count was nine Boreal Owls (only one in a box, the rest encountered during our night owling sessions).  Three Flammulated Owls were also run across during these searches.

Other highlights included an American Three-toed Woodpecker at the closed gate along CR 41 on 6/9.  A Veery was here on 6/10.

On the morning of 6/11, two Greater Sage-Grouse were found along Jackson CR 26, downhill/north of CR 26b.

Later on the morning of 6/11, we again found the male American Three-toed Woodpecker that has territory north of highway 14, across from the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.

No Rosy Finches were found during several stops during the week at the Visitor's Center.

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