Sunday, July 26, 2015

Dickcissel and Bobolink Search in Elbert & Douglas Counties

June 13, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan and Sue Ehlmann, Rebecca Kosten and I decided to bird in Elbert County today.  Temperatures reached the high 80s; winds were less than 6 mph.  Thunderstorms did not roll in until after 6:00 pm.

A quick drive through Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas County) found few birds in the park.  Seven male Bobolink and at least two females were in the field south of the Winkler Ranch entrance. 

Both Western and Mountain Bluebirds lingered around the bluebird boxes along Castlewood Canyon Road.  It did appear that more Tree Swallows were occupying the boxes than a few weeks ago.  The previously reported Lewis's Woodpecker(s) was again missed by us.

We scoped the "Dickcissel/Bobolink" fields south of Kiowa (Elbert County) for about an hour.  Only one definite Dickcissel was spotted.  Several other possible birds did pop up from the fields.  At least one Grasshopper Sparrow sang on the south side of Elbert Road.

Nothing uncommon was found in Kiowa or along CR 125 to the north.  We drove to the eastern side of Elbert County stopping at west, middle and east Bijou Creek.  Again, few birds were spotted.  Ball Reservoir had little activity.

Our plan was to past through Castlewood Canyon State Park on the way home.  Huge thunderclouds over the area changed our plans.  Instead, we took I70 back to Denver.

We stopped at the now defunct Bennett Rest Stop.  No trespassing signs surround the area; however, we scoped the oasis of trees from the perimeter.  Eventually we found a Northern Cardinal, Long-eared Owl, two Black-headed Grosbeaks and plenty of Eurasian Collared-Doves.

It is unfortunate that the area was closed down.  With few trees nearby, the birds here should stay around.  Beware, do not trespass, the State patrol came by.  After explaining that we were not breaking the law by walking the road shoulders around the area, he eventually left but delayed our birding for 45 minutes.

Thunderstorms started before we reached Barr Lake (Adams) and the DIA Owl Loop.  We skipped both and headed for home.

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