Monday, August 24, 2015

Jefferson to Adams Counties

August 24, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann, Joel Jenkins and I started the day at Mt. Falcon Park (Jefferson).  While no Northern Pygmy-Owls were found, two Dusky Grouse were observed below the hill, several hundred yards east of the parking area.

The Blue-winged Warbler reported yesterday at Welchester Tree Park (Jefferson) was not found during our two hour search.  A Dusky Grouse was at the western end of the park.

We missed Barn Owl at Barr Lake (Adams) but found seven Burrowing Owls along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams).

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Mt. Evans (Clear Creek County) to Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams/Denver)

August 23, 2015

Richard Stevens:

We returned to Mt. Evans (Clear Creek) today in search of its specialties.  Three Brown-capped Rosy Finches were observed flying around and on the rocks at the northwest corner of Summit Lake.  Several American Pipits walked the northern shore.

It took four of us almost 2.5 hours to find a White-tailed Ptarmigan.  Two birds were finally spotted about 600 yards east-northeast of the Summit Lake parking lot.  Our trip to the top for them had been unsuccessful.

Down at Echo Lake at least four of the Barrow's Goldeneyes were swimming in and out of the weeds at the northeast corner.  American Three-toed Woodpeckers were missed along the eastern side; however, several Lincoln's Sparrows and a Green-tailed Towhee were there.

We had to walk 40-60 yards down the Captain Mountain trail before hearing the distinctive drumming of a Three-toed Woodpecker.  Eventually, a male flew across the trail and continued working the trees toward the research center to the south.

After dropping my companions off, I picked up Rebecca and Sue Ehlmann.  They dropped me off at 88th avenue and Buckley Road.  I walked the four miles south to 56th avenue while they drove to the airport to pick up Bryan.

It had been awhile since I made this hike, just too busy.  Temperatures may have reached 80 degrees; however, there was coolness in the air.  Winds measured less than 3 mph.  The solitude, no cars or people made the walk quite pleasant!

Burrowing Owls (5) were spread across both Denver & Adams Counties.  Other birds found included a Rock Wren, two Say's Phoebes and sparrows (Grasshopper (1), Brewer's (1), many Lark, a few Song and some Chipping).

I surprised by the numbers: five Western Wood-pewees (high?) and only one Western Kingbird (low?).

Two hours of my 4.5 hour trek were spent along the detour First Creek from Buckley to the east side of the new light rail tracks.  This hike is one of many favorite birding spots that others seldom visit.  First Creek has much water with all the rain this summer.  I am hoping for some interesting migration sightings in a few weeks.

Yesterday's sightings of Barn Owls south of Buckley had to be luck that they were out hunting.  The sighting at 56th and Buckley yesterday was interesting in that a Red-tailed Hawk had dove toward the ground after something.  The Barn Owl came out of the trees and dove at the Red-tailed Hawk.  The Hawk lost and departed; the Barn Owl captured a mouse!

My theory is that the shacks/horse stalls at 56th avenue, just east of the Light Rail tracks are attracting many mice.  The Barn Owls are discovered that and return most evenings in search of a meal. 

Nevertheless, where do they spend the day?  Unfortunately, the tall cottonwoods still are thick with leaves.  Any chance of sneaking up on an owl is quite low.  As I passed under Pena Blvd, a Barn Owl flew out of the trees south of the dirt track I was walking, no chance for a photo.

Misses: Northern Mockingbird nested a couple of years ago just north of First Creek.  None was seen today.  Great Horned Owls nested almost every year for a decade; I found none today.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Eastern Meadowlark & Five Owl Day

August 22, 2015

Richard Stevens

Rebecca Kosten and I enjoy the beautiful summer day birding in Boulder, Weld and Adams Counties.  Temperatures barely reached the 90s; winds were calm.

About 30 minutes after sunrise, we walked the east-west trail north of McIntosh Lake (Boulder).  The Eastern Meadowlark was heard calling upon our arrival.  We temporarily were sidetracked by an Ash-throated Flycatcher fluttering about in the short bushes just west of the first line of taller trees west of Airport Road.  It was my first Boulder County Ash-throated Flycatcher sighting!

After taking a few photos, the Eastern Meadowlark became the center of our attention.  The meadowlark was on the ground about 10 yards south of the trail (at 15 yards east of the trail heading to the museum along Hwy 66).

Eventually the meadowlark flew over our heads and landed 20 yards north of the trail and 10 yards west of the fence heading north from the second grove of trees west of Airport Road.  It fanned its tail as it landed, allowing great views of the white tail feathers!  The white covered four feathers on each side of the tail.  While not my first Boulder County Eastern Meadowlark sighting, if the species is later split, it could be.

A Bald Eagle was perched in the second tree west of Airport Road when we returned to our car.  Photos to come in a day or two on the Colorado Birding Society's website:

Time was 9:00 am when we left McIntosh Lake; we decided to drive through St. Vrain State Park (Weld) and Firestone Gravel Pits (Weld) in search of the previously reported Little Blue Heron and Caspian Tern(s).  Neither was found.

After an early lunch in Greeley (Weld), we searched for shorebirds in the Lower Latham Reservoir/Loloff Reservoir areas.  Nothing uncommon was found and we continued south.

A detour to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld) found few interesting birds.  One Long-eared Owl was found in the windbreak just west of Pond 7!

Our next target was the four reports of Barn Owls in Adams & Denver Counties.  A stop at 56th Avenue and Buckley Road, then hiking the dirt track heading south, found a Barn Owl in the scattered trees over the hill (not visible from 56th avenue).

When we circled south to Green Valley Road and 44th avenue (badly in need of gas), a Barn Owl was observed flying in the southeast of the intersection.  It could not have been the same Owl; we would have beaten it to the intersection.

After gassing up at 44th avenue and Tower Road, we turned back north to drive the DIA Owl Loop (Adams) just before sunset.  As our luck was fantastic today, a Short-eared Owl was hovering over the field 200 yards southeast of the prairie dog town (3.4 miles east of 96th avenue and Tower Road).

Eventually we counted seven Burrowing Owls between the above prairie dog town and the intersection of 114th avenue and Trussville.

We just could not let our four species owl day end.  A Great Horned Owl had to be at Barr Lake (Adams).  Sure enough, when we stopped along the road near mile 8.0 in the park, a Great Horned Owl was heard calling.  We put a scope on it and ended with a five-owl species day!

Great day, hope yours was too!

Birding Southeast of Denver/Aurora

August 21, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I enjoyed this late summer day mostly in Elbert County.  It was warmer than yesterday (low 80s); winds were 8 mph or less.  Skies were hazy due to smoke from the California wildfires.

We departed Denver/Aurora by way of the Jewell-Yale Loop (Arapahoe).  Four Loggerhead Shrikes and two dozen Western Kingbirds remained along East Yale.  We took Quincy Road (Arapahoe CR 30 to CR 137 (Kiowa-Bennett Road), then south to Kiowa.  Several Sage Thrashers and a Common Nighthawk were along CR 137 (Arapahoe).

Only one Dickcissel was found along Elbert Road (at 4.1 miles south of Kiowa & Hwy 86).  A Long-billed Curlew wandering the same field was quite a surprise.

A Long-eared Owl was found on a friend's ranch farther south.  Bob had mentioned hearing a Poorwill at dusk and we planned to return before sunset.

Heading back north, no uncommon birds were found around Kiowa.  A detour to the Highway 86 ponds (Elbert) east of Kiowa found none of the birds reported on Monday.  A Sora was unexpected. 

We drove some of the unpaved Elbert Roads in search of additional Long-billed Curlews, a Mountain Plover or whatever; without success.

Then once again turned north and east toward Elizabeth (Elbert).  A stop at the Cemetery was quite fortunate.  A Cassin's Vireo was observed while we looked at a small flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers.  An interesting drumming (not right for a Downy Woodpecker) turned out to be a Red-headed Woodpecker!

Additional travels down unpaved county Roads south of Elizabeth added two Eastern Kingbirds, many Western Kingbirds (no Cassin's Kingbirds), two Sage Thrashers, Grasshopper Sparrows, a Savannah Sparrow and Prairie Falcon.

Our route CR 5 to CR 98 to Elbert Road was uneventful.  We continued to my friend's ranch, picked up Bob who took us to several ranches where Long-eared Owls and Eastern Screech-Owls have nested.  Unfortunately, neither was around today.

Back at Bob's ranch, sure enough a Common Poorwill was enticed to respond to our recordings.  A flyby Short-eared Owl was an added bonus.

We drove through the western side of Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas) on the trip home.  No owls called tonight.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Trek

August 20, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I spent most of the day at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County).  Target birds were the Long-billed Curlews and Blue Grosbeak reported earlier in the week.  Neither was found.

Thursday was a not a typical summer day in Colorado.  Temperatures hovered around 80s (nice and cool) and winds were calm.

Sage Thrashers were numerous today and just about everywhere I went.  Total count was fourteen.  Three were around the western entrance to the bison enclosure.  Another two were north at the end of B Street and 7th avenue.  Three were along the Locust Loop.  Two along 6th avenue south of Lower Derby Lake and four along the Rod and Gun Club trail.

Around trip, the Rod and Gun Club trail is four miles with the side trip to Havana Ponds.  One Townsend's Warbler (only warbler of the day) and a Rock Wren were near the R&G Club blind.  The pond here was surrounded by weeds, no shore for birds.

Killdeer were the only shorebirds around Havana Ponds.  A Prairie Falcon zoomed by once.

The Bluestem Loop (1.3 miles) and Southwest Loop (0.5 miles) did not add any uncommon birds to my trek.

Western Kingbirds were everywhere.  The conservative count was over 160 birds.  A Sora and Virginia Rail were along the southern edge of Lake Ladora.  While most of the swallows were Barn Swallows, two Northern Rough-winged Swallows flew around the northern end of the Lake.

I rested my legs before heading for home by hiking the Locust Loop Trail (relatively flat 0.8 mile hike).  Three Sage Thrashers and two Loggerhead Shrikes occupied the few trees along the loop.  The setting sun provided the highlight of the day with the silhouette of a Long-eared Owl in the New Mexico Locust at the beginning of the Loop.

Arapahoe, Adams, Weld County Trip

August 19, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Another beautiful day in Colorado, temperatures only reached the middle 70s; winds were 8 mph or less.  Jerry Petrosky and I birded eastern Arapahoe County, then north to southern Weld County.

More birds were around than yesterday's trip along the Jewell-Yale Loop (Arapahoe).  Two Loggerhead Shrike and three Western Kingbirds were along Smith Road.  Bird count picked up along East Yale Avenue (Arapahoe CR 22).  An additional five Loggerhead Shrikes and nine Western Kingbirds were seen here.  No Ash-throated Flycatcher or Red-headed Woodpecker was around today.

Our trip continued east along CR 30 (Quincy Avenue).  A stop at Box Elder Creek at CR 30 added a nice Cassin's Vireo to our trip list.

The CR 30 Playa 0.5 miles east of Arapahoe County Road 157 and the CR 149 Playa 0.7 miles north of CR 26 were both dried up.  Several dozen Lark Buntings were between CR 157 and CR 149.

We searched unsuccessfully for Mountain Plover north of Strasburg (Adams).  Traditional fields are covered with high weeds and plants due to this summer's many rains.  A dozen Great-tailed Grackles continued at the goat farm west of Bradbury-Krebs Road & CR 2.

Our drive continued north to Prospect Valley (Weld).  This small town has an Eurasian Collared-Dove problem.  Several hundred flew around Hwy 52 as we passed through.

We stopped at a friend's ranch to say "Hi" and get an update on the Mountain Plovers that nested on his property.  He had not seen any in several weeks now.  The Long-eared Owl pair that successfully nested was still in the windbreaks around his house.

A trip up to Weld County Road 24 1/2 found five Burrowing Owls.  On the trip back to Denver, Jerry pointed out a Long-billed Curlew in the field near CR 73 and Hwy 52 (Weld).

A quick drive through the DIA Owl Loop (Adams) found nine Burrowing Owls spread over four locations.  No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.

Arapahoe County Trip

August 18, 2015

Richard Stevens:

After a late start, I drove the Jewell-Yale loop (Arapahoe) to enjoy the afternoon away from traffic.  Target bird was the Ash-throated Flycatcher reported earlier (it was not found).

Birding was slower than others had reported in the past week.  Only two Loggerhead Shrikes and two Western Kingbirds were found.  Numerous birds were reported a few days earlier.

The "bird of the day" was American Kestrel.  Two male and seven female or immature were along E. Yale Avenue.

One Sage Thrasher continued along East Jewell Avenue (near the entrance of the paint ball field).

DIA Owl Loop (Adams) partial drive, seven Burrowing Owls, no Short-eared Owls.

Mountain Trip

August 13-18, 2015

August 13

Rebecca Kosten and I headed to Jackson County for a few days.  It was not a birding trip, more to relax; however, we always seem to think about birds.

Late in the afternoon, we drove to Crags Campgrounds for a couple of mile walk.  Several Swainson's Thrushes called late in the day from the firs.

After dark, we heard a Boreal Owl calling along the fire road that leads south from the Campgrounds.

August 14

A walk around the store at Gould found a few Rufous Hummingbirds and many Broad-tailed Hummingbirds flying around.  The scene was similar at the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center and at the KOA Campgrounds down the road.

In the afternoon, we ventured in the Colorado State Forest and parked at Jackson County Road 41 and Ruby Jewell Road.

We did not walk more than 30 yards before hearing and then seeing a male American Three-toed Woodpecker drumming away on an Aspen Tree.  A pair of Red-naped Sapsuckers shared the Aspen grove with the Three-toed Woodpecker.

We hiked about two miles up the road (east) and turned around after civil twilight.  Up here, the sky looks to be filled with millions of stars.  We counted nine satellites cruising across the ski.  It amazes us how much "junk" has been put up there.

On the trip back to our car, we had a visit by a curious Flammulated Owl (responding to our recordings).  Farther down the road a Boreal Owl called (no recording was played).

Later a second Boreal Owl was heard as we walked by Ranger Lakes area (we stayed on Hwy 14).

August 15

We drove to Walden for gas and detoured to the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge auto tour.  Nothing uncommon was encountered.

In the afternoon, we drove down the road toward the Teller Ghost Town.  Although we made it to the town, we did not walk the self-guided tour today.  Several Swainson's Thrushes called above us.  No owls were heard.

 We stopped at the KOA Campgrounds to watch hummingbirds and ran into Steve Hsu.  Steve had camped at Tunnel Campgrounds in Larimer County the past three days.  This morning he saw a female or juvenile Magnificent Hummingbird at the Campgrounds.

It would be our destination tomorrow.

August 16

At first light, Rebecca and I were at Tunnel Campgrounds (Larimer).  We set up two hummingbird feeders where Steve Hsu had directed.  A few Rufous and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds visited the feeder in the next two hours.

We were tired of waiting (or figured the Magnificent Hummingbird was gone) and walked around the Campgrounds.  A Townsend's Warbler loosely accompanied a flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers.  An American Three-toed Woodpecker was found near the entrance.

Then we drove into Wyoming to visit a friend who lives in Jelm.  He had found a pair of Pileated Woodpeckers in the area a few years ago.  As suspected, he had not encountered any since.

After a nice barbecue lunch, we headed back to Gould.   When we stopped to pick up our hummingbird feeders, another camper said that she twice saw a large hummingbird.  It was not ten minutes before the large hummingbird returned.  Definitely not an adult male, it looked more like a female, perhaps a juvenile?  Unfortunately, the waning daylight only allowed for a witness shot of the hummer.

August 17-18

Rebecca and returned to Tunnel Campgrounds (Larimer) around 10:00 am in the morning.  We now had four people watching our hummingbird feeders (which fortunately had made it through the night without visits from any bears, squirrels or "other" mammals.

Our sentinels had been watching since sunrise without spying any large hummingbirds.  We watched another two hours without a sighting.  Donating our hummingbird feeders to our new friends, leaving our cell phone number, we headed back to Gould.

No additional reports were received.  We got an update text message upon our return to Denver.

A stop along the eastern side of Chambers Lake (Larimer) found another male American Three-toed Woodpecker.  Later we added two additional Three-toed Woodpeckers, a male north of the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center (across Hwy 14) and a female at Ranger's Lakes.

By the time we closed up everything, it was late afternoon and we decided to drive Pennock Pass (Larimer) on the return to Denver.

Eventually, we found two additional Flammulated Owls to add to our trip list!

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

More Point Counts in Arapahoe County

August 12, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Today, Terry Michaels and I conducted "fall" point counts on State Trust Lands along Box Elder Creek (Arapahoe County, later Adams County).

Highlight was a juvenile Yellow-billed Cuckoo, most likely one of two born on the property.  The parents were first discovered on May 5th.  Several CoBus members watched the progress over the next two months.

Migration may have started here.  We found a Warbling Vireo, Wilson's Warbler and Plumbeous Vireo.  Several nesting birds included Yellow Warblers, Downy Woodpeckers, and of course, Northern Flickers.

Later we tried to bird parts of Box Elder Creek farther north of the State Trust Lands.  Best bird was a Red-headed Woodpecker at 96th avenue.  The woodpecker stayed south of 96th avenue in the tall cottonwoods along the dry creek.

We checked for Burrowing Owls along the DIA Owl Loop and found them at three locations in Adams County and one in Denver County (Gun Club Road, south of 112th).

No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.

We wondered why Loggerhead Shrikes were more common farther south than 96th avenue, and then remembered that E. Yale & E. Quincy and Arapahoe County Road 30 have barbwire fences.  They are lacking farther north.

Back to Arapahoe County

August 11, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels, Jerry Petrosky and I completed our point counts on Arapahoe County State Trust Lands today.  None too soon, thunderstorms and possible tornados moved in about an hour after we finished.  Hiking today was 5.7 miles (yesterday as Jerry pointed out was 7.8).

Birding was not as interesting as yesterday, except for one possibility.  We found eight Grasshopper Sparrows, two Savannah Sparrows, and one possible Baird's Sparrow.  I sent photos to a sparrow expert and we wait to see the verdict.

Two additional Burrowing Owls were added to the sixteen found yesterday.  These two officially added to Aurora Reservoir's bird list.

Our plan to revisit the Eastern Arapahoe playas along CR 149 & CR 30 were rained out.  Perhaps the playas gained much water today and will attract additional shorebirds tomorrow?

Monday, August 10, 2015

Back to Eastern Arapahoe County

August 10, 2015

Richard Stevens:

After Jerry Petrosky and I conducted some point counts on private land, Terry Michaels joined us and we drove eastern Arapahoe County. Results of Point Counts below:

I hoped that the Red-necked Phalaropes reported yesterday by Gene Rutherford at a Playa along Arapahoe County Road 30 (East Quincy Avenue) would be close to the road for photos. 

No Red-necked Phalaropes were at the playa when we arrived around 5:30 pm.  Some nice birds there included a Willet, a Long-billed Curlew, a Greater Yellowlegs, four Lesser Yellowlegs, two Baird's Sandpipers and eight Killdeer.

The drive along CR 30 from Aurora Reservoir to the Playa east of CR 157 was quite interesting.  I was able to take pictures of a Peregrine Falcon molting from juvenile to adult plumage.  Western Kingbirds were down to less than half a dozen (we had over a hundred yesterday).  The Kingbirds were "replaced" by hundreds of Lark Buntings (maybe 1/4 were adult males).

Other raptors included 12 Swainson's Hawks (including on intermediate adult), five Red-tailed Hawks and two American Kestrels.

On the return trip, we drove Arapahoe County Road 22 (East Yale) and found seven Loggerhead Shrikes, four Grasshopper Sparrows, many Lark Sparrows and a Common Nighthawk (nice photos).

With written permission, Jerry and I spent eight hours conducting point counts on State Trust Lands (Arapahoe County) today (8/10/2015).

Highlights included three Long-billed Curlews (individuals not together), sixteen Burrowing Owls, two Ferruginous Hawks, many Lark Buntings, many Lark Sparrows, Grasshopper Sparrows, two Willet (only flooded area on property), eleven Loggerhead Shrikes, two Red-headed Woodpeckers, Wilson's Warbler, Plumbeous Vireo, Cassin's Vireo, and six Bushtits.

Surprising note: Thunderstorms hit Colorado Springs, Highlands Ranch, Aurora, Denver, etc.  We did not see any rain all day?

Eastern Arapahoe County to Northern Elbert County

August 9, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I made the drive down to Kiowa by way of East Jewell-East Yale Loop today.

Hundreds of Chipping Sparrows were flying south E. Quebec (Arapahoe CR 22) west of CR 197.  oggerhead Shrike count was four, no curlews or Red-headed Woodpeckers today.  Four Common Nighthawks also flew over CR 22.

I use to drive to Kiowa by way of Parker Road (Hwy 83) to Hwy 86.  However, we found that Aurora Parkway to Quebec (CR 30) to Kiowa-Bennett Road (CR 137) had less traffic and more scenery.

The Kiowa-Bennett Road was quite interesting Sunday.  Dozens of Western Kingbirds lined CR 137.  A Cassin's Kingbird was found at 0.3 mile south of Orchard & 137.

At least one Dickcissel was on a telephone wire at 2.7 miles north of CR 137/CR 50 (Arapahoe County).

Two Long-billed Curlews wandered the field on the west side of CR 137 at 2.1 miles south of CR 50 (Elbert County).

Rebecca and I scoped the alfalfa field along Elbert Road at 4.1 miles south of Hwy 86 for an hour and fifteen minutes.  The farmer is starting to cut the field near its south end.  While no Dickcissels were heard, we did see one fly up four of five times.  Interestingly, it was in the cut part of the field not in the higher alfalfa plants.  Anemometer readings were 8 mph, gusts to 11 mph; winds may have kept additional Dickcissels from leaving the ground?

In the 4.1 miles along Elbert Road, we counted eight Swainson's Hawks and four Red-tailed Hawks on telephone poles.  Dozens more were along the 20 miles of Kiowa-Bennett Road.  Two Common Nighthawks flew over the alfalfa field.

We ran into thunderstorms around Kiowa (Elbert) and later around DIA (Arapahoe).  No owl sightings to report today.

Trip to Mt. Evans

August 8, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Three of us drove up Mt Evans (Clear Creek County) this morning.  Two Brown-capped Rosy Finches circled overhead at the northwest corner of Summit Lake.  Later we found a White-tailed Ptarmigan wandering around east of the Summit Lake Parking Lot.  It was about 400 yards east of the road.

We found a male American Three-toed Woodpecker crossing the Captain Mt trail at the Echo Lake Campgrounds.  Two Barrow's Goldeneyes were on Echo Lake.

A male Williamson's Sapsucker visited "his drumming" pole at the group picnic area, Genesee Mountain Park (Jefferson County)

On the way home, I stopped and took photos of the Yellow-crowned Night-Heron along the south side of Tabor Lake, Wheat Ridge Greenbelt (Jefferson County).

Northeastern Bird Trip

August 4-7, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Looking for a little alone birding time, I headed up to northeastern Colorado by myself.  Temperatures hovered around 90 degrees; winds around 8-10 mph.  That was when thunderstorms were not blowing in on several afternoons.

August 4

I headed up to Pawnee National Grasslands by way of the Firestone Gravel Pits (Weld).  Unfortunately, the Little Blue Heron eluded me during my two-hour search.

A check of my favorite Plover nesting field found two adults wandering around.  Later another Mountain Plover was found along Weld County Road 104, east of CR 57.  A flock of 12+ Chestnut-collared Longspurs in the same area was quite a surprise.

Continuing east of Highway14, I detoured north to Sterling Reservoir.  Nothing uncommon was on the water or at the Campgrounds.  The resident Barn Owls usually found at the southeast corner of the property were not around today.  An Upland Sandpiper standing on a fence post where I parked was a nice consolation!

As I drove east, two Dickcissel were found along 46!

Back in Sterling, Pioneer Park was quiet bird wise.  Two Mississippi Kites circled overhead when I stopped at the Cemetery.  Not much else was there and I headed over to Overland Park.  Overland was also quiet.

I walked around the Museum across the highway and found a male Baltimore Oriole.  It seemed late for him to still be around.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker was heard drumming at the southeast corner of the property.

August 5

After camping at the Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area parking area, I woke two hours before sunrise and listened at area 6E & 7E.  Two Eastern Screech-Owls called about an hour before sunrise.

Then I drove Logan County Road 93; however, no Greater Prairie-Chickens were found.

Back at the Wildlife Area, I walked both the western then eastern sections, south of the Platte River.  Highlights included: two Yellow-billed Cuckoos, five Red-bellied Woodpeckers, two Field Sparrows, a Cassin's Sparrow (possibly two), and Northern Cardinal. 

Misses included the previously seen Eastern Wood-Pewee (I did see a possible one, but it did not call or sing) and any Eastern Towhee.

The Lesser Black-backed Gull hanging around Jumbo Reservoir was not to be seen.  No Short-eared Owls appeared at sunset.

August 6

Two Eastern Screech-Owls called early in the morning at Roger Danka's ranch.  I headed south checking several State Trust Lands for Eastern Meadowlarks or any uncommon sparrows (nothing to report).

My stops at Wray Fishing Unit and Stalker Pond near Wray lasted less than an hour and I continued south.

Beecher Island also had nothing uncommon to report. 

After sunset, I got looks at a Common Poorwill at Hale Ponds (south side of CR 4) in response to my recordings.  Shortly later, I heard an Eastern Screech-Owl calling north of the ponds.

August 7

It was a good day at the old Bonny Reservoir (now Bonny Wildlife Area, no facilities).

Hale Ponds offered looks at a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and three Red-bellied Woodpeckers.  The highlight of the trip was a Ruby-throated Hummingbird that visited one of two hummingbird feeders I put up near the Kansas border!

A walk along the gated road that runs along the south side of the old Bonny Reservoir (now emptied) added Great Crested Flycatcher and another Baltimore Oriole (guess it may not be too late in the year to see male Orioles).  Nine Wild Turkey walked around the road.  Misses included the Long-eared Owls that had been in the area a few weeks ago.

A flock of sparrows along Yuma County Road 2 had many Lark, some White-crowned, two Brewer's, one Clay-colored and several Song Sparrows.  A Dickcissel sang briefly near the road to Hopper Ponds.

Another Great Crested Flycatcher was found along CR 3, west of Fosters Grove Campgrounds.  Misses: no Northern Cardinal or Wild Turkey here today.

The final surprise of the day as I headed south to Burlington was an Upland Sandpiper standing on a fence post back near CR 2!

Threats of thunderstorms, I headed for home.

Sunday, August 2, 2015

Search for Ash-throated Flycatcher along Yale Avenue Loop

August 2, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and drove the East Yale Avenue loop (Arapahoe County) in search of the reported Ash-throated Flycatcher.  We traveled the E. Yale to CR 97 to E. Jewell loop twice, did not find the Ash-throated Flycatcher.

Most interesting birds were along E. Yale Avenue.  It was partially sunny on our first trip; a downpour scattered most birds on our second pass.  Anemometer readings during the thunderstorm were 14 mph, gusts to 21 mph.

Our count included fourteen wet Western Kingbirds, three Loggerhead Shrikes, many Western Meadowlarks, one Burrowing Owl, which stood on a fence post for as many photos we desired, several Grasshopper Sparrows and one Savannah Sparrow.

Once the rain started, we headed to Aurora Reservoir. No Ash-throated Flycatcher there either, anemometer readings were 26 mph, with gusts to 33 mph. 

Winds died down by the time we reached the DIA Owl Loop (Adams).  A couple of wet Burrowing Owls were on fence lines.

Trip Back to Elbert County

August 1, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I waited until temperatures cooled from the 95-degree high early in the day.  It was a "cool" 88 degrees when we set out for Elbert County, by way of the East Yale Avenue drive through eastern Arapahoe County.

On the trip down to Kiowa, we observed two Dickcissel on telephone wires.  One Dickcissel was just south of Arapahoe County Road 42; the other was 2.0 miles south of Elbert CR 154.

We arrived at the "Dickcissel field" along Elbert Road at 4.1 miles south of Hwy 86 around 6:00 pm.  At least three Dickcissels popped up from the alfalfa field east of the electric building.

No Bobolink were found at the Winkler Ranch (Douglas County) when we drove by about 30 minutes before sunset. 

After stopping at a friend's home, we drove through Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas) around 9:30 pm.  Two Northern Saw-whet Owls were heard at previous waypoint stops found earlier in the summer.

Continued Mountain Birding

July 27-31, 2015

Richard Stevens:

July 27

Still in the mountains to avoid the 90+ degree temperatures on the plains, it was quite hot up here (84 degrees).

A first light Bryan and I drove through the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge self-auto tour.  Four Greater Sage-Grouse were observed south of Jackson County Road 13.

Sage Thrashers, Vesper Sparrows and White-throated Sparrows were quite numerous.  Shorebirds were scarce, only Killdeer were found today.

After lunch, we drove by Lake John Wildlife Area.  Nothing uncommon was found in the Wildlife Area.  Shortly after sunset, two Greater Sage-Grouse were observed walking along CR 7 (about 6.0 miles north of CR 12W.

Owls were quiet tonight along Highway 14 and Cameron Pass.  Winds were 18+ mph.  Perhaps they called and we just could not hear them.

July 28

After missing any Greater Sage-Grouse along Jackson County Roads 26 & 26b, Bryan and I drove to the end of Michigan Creek Road.  A Veery was the only uncommon bird found there.

Later we search Ruby Jewell Road missed American Three-toed Woodpeckers.  A couple of Red-naped Sapsuckers were near the clearing about 0.2 miles up the road.

A check for shorebirds at Walden Reservoir found six Red-necked Phalaropes and a lone Willet.

Back at Gould, we saw both a Calliope Hummingbird and two Rufous Hummingbirds.  A Fox Sparrow, Wilson's Warblers and a MacGillivray's Warbler were behind the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.

 July 29, 2015

Today Bryan and I headed south to the Teller City Ghost Town.  A 4-wheel drive vehicle is suggested for the drive from Gould.  Birders without one should circle down to Rand and come back that way.

A visit to this Ghost Town that was once a busy Silver mining town is quite worth the time.  The history along the self-guided tour is interesting.

We found a male American Three-toed Woodpecker at the north end of the trail.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl responded to our recordings played at dusk.  Later we picked up our three "owl listening stations" that were placed along CR 21 earlier.  Two additional Northern Pygmy-Owls were recorded.

We camped out near Jack Creek and rested for a strenuous hike tomorrow.

 July 30

Two Boreal Owls were heard two hours before sunrise near the Jack Creek trailhead.

Our day was spent hiking the trail and to the summit of Baker Pass.  Highlight was a female White-tailed Ptarmigan accompanied by two youngsters.

We were both exhausted by the time we returned to our jeep.  High winds at dusk ended any desire to go owling.

 July 31

Bryan and I stopped at several birding locations on the way back to Denver.

Four Greater Sage-Grouse were found at MacFarlane Reservoir shortly after sunrise.

Two Dusky Grouse were the highlight during our two-hour trip to Owl Mountain Wildlife Area.