Sunday, July 26, 2015

Trip to Southern Colorado

May 27-31, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I made a brief trip to southern Colorado then headed North. 

May 27
At first light, we walked around Sinton Pond Park (El Paso County).  We relocated the Northern Waterthrush and Baltimore Oriole previously reported.

Mountain Plover, Burrowing Owls and Curve-billed Thrashers were found along Squirrel Creek Road.

I gave a bird talk at a friend's ranch in Furnish Canyon (Baca) in the evening.  A Northern Saw-whet Owl was heard calling at 11:00 pm on his ranch.  Two Western Screech-Owls were heard just down the road!

May 28

This morning we made a quick look at the Vermilion Flycatcher pair nesting on his property and then headed north.  A male Black-chinned Hummingbird visited his feeders.

Both Western and Cassin's Kingbirds were seen during a drive through Cottonwood Canyon (Baca).  Chihuahuan Ravens, a Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Eastern Phoebes, Rufous-crowned Sparrows, and Bewick's Wrens were also found.

When we pulled into Lake Hasty (Bent) a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak was observed flying around the Campgrounds.

May 29

Friday was a busy birding day for Bryan and me.  We covered 400 miles and still managed to bird quite a few interesting locations.

Before sunrise, we heard a Black Rail (or two) calling near Bent County Roads 16 & CR HH.  Later we watched a Least Tern fly by while we looked for Piping Plover at John Martin Reservoir.  One was all we found.

We took less taken County Roads north, such as 63, looking for Mountain Plover and Longspurs (the same old routes get quite boring).

Akron Pond (aka Washington County Golf Course) was quite interesting.  Chimney Swift flew over the Pond (it took awhile to determine none was a Black Swift).  A Wood Thrush was below the eastern end of the pond.

Wray Fishing Unit (Yuma) added Baltimore Oriole, Northern Cardinal and Eastern Phoebe to our day list.  Another Baltimore Oriole and three male Eastern Bluebirds flew about Stalker Pond.

The highlight of the day was a Black-throated Green Warbler at the Holyoke Cemetery.  A Blue-headed Vireo and "empidonax" flycatcher (possible Alder?) was encountered at the Lions Club Fishing Hole.

In the afternoon, we found an immature Bonaparte's Gull at Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick).     An Upland Sandpiper was on the fence at the corner of Hwy 138 & CR 93 (Red Lion Wildlife Area, Logan County).

A Greater Prairie-Chicken wandered around CR 93, 0.2 miles south of CR 46.  He was loosely associated with four Ring-necked Pheasants.

No Short-eared Owls showed up this evening at the southeast corner of Jumbo Reservoir.  An Eastern Screech-Owl called at the north end about an hour after dark.

May 30
Early in the morning we drove Logan County Roads south of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area.  A Greater Prairie-Chicken crossed Hwy 55 about 100 yards south of Mile marker 3.  An Upland Sandpiper stood on a fence post at CR 46 & CR 47.

Later, we walked around the portions of Little Jumbo Reservoir that were not under water (most of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area and Little Jumbo Reservoir were flooded).  Highlight was relocating one of the summer resident Bell's Vireos.  A male Magnolia Warbler and Cassin's Vireo were surprises!

Heading northeast to visit a friend, we stopped at Ovid.  A singing Alder Flycatcher was in the northern woods.  A male Northern Cardinal was south of Highway 138.

We found another male Northern Cardinal near the Julesburg Elementary School (Sedgwick).

May 31

We turned back south and stopped at Sand Draw Wildlife Area (Sedgwick).  Several Field Sparrows flew around the eastern fence line.  A Loggerhead Shrike nest was found in the wild Plum bushes.  Highlight was a Tennessee Warbler fluttering around the windbreak.  A White-throated Sparrow was at the southwestern parking area.

A quick search for Sprague's Pipits at traditional migration grounds found none (it really was too early) and we headed for Denver.

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