Monday, August 10, 2015

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.

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