Friday, August 21, 2015

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!

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