Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Birding Across Denver Area

September 30, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I left home at 5:00 am.  Birding on the west side of town, coming from east of DIA requires navigating the multitude of cars on Interstate 70.

We found a Burger King on Wadsworth Blvd open for breakfast and then headed to Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge (Jefferson County).  The Refuge does not open until 8:00 am; instead, we walked the various canals south and west of the NWR. 

It turned out to be the better birding.  At a Hackberry Bush along the Farmer's High Line Canal (300 yards south of the footbridge between the Pond Area and Prairie Area of the Refuge, we counted three male, two female Spotted Towhees and a Gray Catbird.

Along the Croke Canal, which runs along the southern border of the refuge, a flock of 10-12 Yellow-rumped Warblers, one Orange-crowned Warbler and two Black-capped Chickadees fluttered about one of the taller trees just south of the Refuge gate.

The highlight bird was a Northern Waterthrush.  It was along the narrow inlet stream into the Croke Canal (about 200 yards west of the Refuge gate).

The Pond area of the Refuge was a disappointment.  Only a pair of Wilson's Warblers was found (in the willows along the south side of the pond).

NOTE: Two Ponds National Wildlife Area, Ponds area is closed from October 1st to April 30.  This area has not provided many bird sightings in 2015.  The Prairie Area is open year round and trails can be accessed from Kipling & 80th avenue or better yet, 77th avenue (parking).

Next, we stopped at Heron Pond Wildlife Refuge (Denver County).  An hour walk around the property found a Wilson's Warbler, Common Yellowthroat, six Chipping Sparrows and a dozen or so Vesper Sparrows.

Continuing east, we stopped at Cheesman Park (Denver).  A possible Philadelphia Vireo was reported on 9/23 and again on 9/29.  We could not find the bird during an hour or so search.

Eight Yellow-rumped Warblers and an Orange-crowned Warbler were in the willows near the parking area next to the northern gate to the Denver Botanic Gardens.

Our next stop was the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  Two Sage Thrashers continue along the western side of the bison enclosure.

Tonight we will conduct our not so annual Eastern Screech-Owl count in Denver.  It was rained out last night.

Owling In Weld & Arapahoe Counties

September 29, 2015

Richard Stevens:

In the afternoon, Rebecca Kosten and I returned to Weld County and visited two friend's ranches.  We stopped off to share some photos at private ranch # 1.  The two Long-eared Owls that I saw yesterday were still in the same windbreak.

Later, we stopped off at private ranch # 2 and found another Long-eared Owl.  At sunset, three of us watched a Short-eared Owl fly along the windbreak of this ranch.

After dark, Rebecca and I stopped at an abandoned barn in Arapahoe County.  We were startled when our spotlight shone on the eyes of a Barn Owl.

I dislike being cryptic; the locations of these owls are to remain undisclosed.  We did report them to the Colorado Bird Records Board.

Monday, September 28, 2015

Pleasant Drive Around Eastern Arapahoe County

September 28, 2015

Richard Stevens:

This morning I drove to a friend's ranch in Weld County.  Two of the family of Long-eared Owls have stayed most of the year.  We assume the pair chased the two fledglings away?

A quick stop at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Adams) found few birds.  Robins were the common bird.  No warblers, vireos or owls were found.

Later, Rebecca Kosten and I went for a drive this afternoon on the eastern plains of Arapahoe County.  Winds at 13 mph, gusts to 18 mph probably kept many birds on the ground.  Temperatures were below 80 degrees.

Many Vesper Sparrows continue along Smith Road, south of E. Jewell Avenue.  A Say's Phoebe was just south of the house at Jewell & Smith Road.  A Grasshopper Sparrow was just south of the open gate about halfway down the road.  South of the gate, there is no fence on the east side of Smith Road.

At the south end of Smith Road, the road turns east and becomes E. Yale Avenue.  More Vesper Sparrows, two Rock Wrens and a Sage Thrasher were observed before the first house down the road (29709 E. Yale).

Red-tailed Hawks, one Swainson's Hawk and a pair of American Kestrels were found from the first house to the junction with Arapahoe County Road 97.

A Prairie Falcon crossed CR 97 at 1.5 miles south of 6th avenue.

We crossed I70 and took the service road west to Hudson, then took Hudson north to 56th avenue.  Another Prairie Falcon was north of the solar farm along Hudson.

A Barn Owl was found under the bridge at an unnamed Creek (about 1.5 miles south of where Box Elder Creek crosses Hudson Avenue.

Two additional Rock Wrens and anther Say's Phoebe were found before Hudson hit 56th avenue.

One Burrowing Owl was along the DIA Owl Loop at Trussville Road & 114th avenue.  We did not drive down Gun Club Road to check on that Burrowing Owl colony.

We sat along Quency Street near the 3rd Creek prairie dog town.  No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.

Birding Around Denver

September 27, 2015

Richard Stevens:

A record high 89 degrees temperature was set today.  Winds were 8+ mph on this hot and sunny day.

I started out at Sloan's Lake (Denver County) hoping to add a Bobolink to my Denver County list.  Yesterday's bird could not be found.

About an hour was spent at Heron Pond Wildlife Refuge (Adams).  The morning heated up quickly.  The few birds found included five Snowy Egrets.  Last week's Green Heron was not located.  The highlight was a Cassin's Vireo along the creek/inlet canal about 500 yards south of the pond.

On the way home, I stopped at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) and Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  No uncommon gulls or terns were found at either.

I pass through the DIA Owl Loop on the way home.  Two Burrowing Owls remain at Trussville Road and 114th avenue (Adams) and four were along Gun Club Road about 0.5 miles south of 112th avenue.

Barr Lake (Adams) was my finally stop.  No uncommon passerines were found when I walked to the banding area.  The Niedrach trail was birdless also.  Out on the lake, half a dozen Bonaparte's Gulls and a Common Tern flew northwest of the trail.

I returned to the Owl Loop; no Short-eared Owls appeared at dusk.

Eastern Plains After a Storm

September 26-28, 2015

Richard Stevens:

September 23

A storm was predicted for the eastern plains tonight, Bryan and I took off for Yuma County.

A stop at Flagler Reservoir (Kit Carson County) lasted three hours.  Hundreds of sparrows fluttered about.  Four Grasshopper Sparrows and two Savannah Sparrows were observed.  None of the rare "ammodramus sparrows" was in the bunch.

Two vireos were in one tree along the south side of the reservoir.  Good contrast was seen between the more common Cassin's Vireo and a Blue-headed Vireo!  September 2012 "Colorado Field Notes" has a great article on separating the "solitary vireo" complex.

A Tennessee Warbler was found below the dam on the north side of the reservoir.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker was heard, too deep in the woods for a glimpse.

Palmer Park in Burlington (Kit Carson) was slow, Fairview Cemetery not so much.  Another pair of vireos turned out to be a Blue-headed Vireo & Cassin's Vireo!

It was late in the day for passerine bird searches.  After an early dinner, we did drive to Bonny Reservoir (Yuma) for some owling.  We arrived at Hale Ponds around sunset and played a Common Poorwill (and Whip-poor-will) recordings.  A Common Poorwill answered rather quickly, Although we would have preferred the Whip-poor-will, it was a nice find.

Thirty minutes after sunset, an Eastern Screech-Owl called from north of the Ponds.  A Great Horned Owl called along Yuma County Road 4 (near the Kansas Border).

By now, winds were howling and rain started.  We detoured to Foster's Grove and found a Long-eared Owl (he responded to our recording)!

September 24

Last night's thunderstorm stopped sometime after 2:00 am.  Winds were calm most of the morning and did not pick up until after 1:00 pm.  The day would turn out to be one of the best birding days ever, definitely the best in 2015.

We started by walking from the old Wagon Wheel Campgrounds west to Highway 385, then CR 3 back to Foster's Grove Campgrounds and then to the dam.  Our 11.4 mile trek took us most of the morning and afternoon.

Best sightings along the way included:
At the Wagon Wheel Campgrounds: Eastern Phoebe, Nashville Warbler & Black-and-white Warbler.

At the Wagon Wheel picnic area: Eastern Towhee (bird of the day, almost), Long-eared Owl (enclosed area), Blue-headed Vireo (enclosed area) and Plumbeous Vireo (just west of picnic area)

Along Southern gated road: Baltimore Oriole

Hopper Ponds: Grasshopper Sparrows and Savannah Sparrow

Foster's Grove: first year male Baltimore Oriole, Wild Turkey (9)

Later in the afternoon at Hale Ponds: Magnolia Warbler (along Republican River about 30 yards west of Kansas border), three Red-bellied Woodpeckers

We drove to visit a friend's ranch where a first year Prairie Warbler and another Magnolia Warbler were in the willows around his pond.

The day was not over; when we drove back to Hale Ponds, we stopped at the famous pipit hill.  A Sprague's Pipit walked the ridge northwest of CR 4 & CR LL.5!

September 25

As superb as yesterday's birding was, today's was not.  Hot temperatures, winds 13 mph, gusts to 22 mph hampered our birding.

We debated on heading south into southern Kit Carson and Cheyenne Counties, instead visited Walk-In-Areas in northern Kit Carson and southern Yuma Counties.  (Perhaps missing a chance to see the Sedge Wren at the Sand Creek Massacre Site).

No uncommon sparrows or other birds were encountered on the Walk-In-Areas.  A few Grasshopper Sparrows were at Kit Carson County Walk-In-Area U & 59.

A possible Sprague's Pipit was at Walk-In-Area CR AA & 54.  The bird flew up several times; however, it did not allow good looks.

An American Redstart and Red-bellied Woodpecker were found at Sandy Bluffs State Trust Lands along the Arikaree River.

At Walk-In-Area, CR 18 & DD, we had another "near miss".   A rather buffy faced, highly streaked breast and flanks, flat headed, short tailed sparrow popped up three times from the grasses.  It may have been a Baird's Sparrow.  Although, it could have been a Grasshopper Sparrow that we did not give us good looks.  It hurt to leave the sparrow unidentified.

Farther north, a couple of nice birds were found at Beecher Island.  A Great Crested Flycatcher was in the cottonwoods along the entrance road.  A Blue-headed Vireo worked the willows along Arikaree River.

We ended our birding day along the Yuma County Road PP &45 loop looking for Greater Prairie-Chickens and Short-eared Owls; neither was found.

September 26

Bryan and I returned to Denver by way of Washington County.  Temperatures reached the high 80s; winds were 13 mph, gusts to 18 mph.  It was not ideal birding conditions to say the least.

We stopped at fifteen Walk-In-Areas within ten miles of Highway 34.  Most of them are grass fields this year.

No uncommon sparrows or Sprague's Pipits were found.  At Walk-In-Area CR SS & CR 44 along Surveyor Creek, two Grasshopper Sparrows and a Savannah Sparrow were found.  They would be the highlight of our day.

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Looking for Sage Thrashers and Sparrows

September 22, 2015

Richard Stevens:

While Bryan Ehlmann and I are waiting for a storm to come to the eastern plains and slow down migration, today Rebecca Kosten and Sue Ehlmann joined us.  We went out looking for some target birds for two out of state birders.

Winds were 12+ mph; temperature reached the low 80s.

We started at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County).  Sage Thrashers were found:
1. two along the western road in the Bison enclosure
2. one about 300 yards up (northward) the Locust trail
3. two north of the Bluestem trail parking area; many Vesper Sparrows were here, no Clay-colored Sparrows.

Next, we exited Rocky Mountain Arsenal and drove 56th avenue east to Hudson Road, then south on Hudson Road to I70.  At 1.5 miles north of 26th avenue, we found a flock of birds, which included four Say's Phoebes, several White-crowned Sparrows, and a Clay-colored Sparrow.  The area was 0.2 miles north of the first house encountered on the east side of Hudson Road.

Once we reached the service road on the north side of I70, we turned west, south across the bridge, east to Powhaton Road, then south to East Jewell Road.

Two Sage Thrashers were on the east side of S. Powhaton Road at 0.2 miles north of E. Jewell.  We then turned east on Jewell to Smith Road.  Two Sage Thrashers were just south of the ranch house at the corner of Jewell & Smith Roads.

Continuing south on Smith Road, it makes a left hand turn onto East Yale Road.  Just before the first house on the north side of Yale, we found three Sage Thrashers.  Just east of this same house, we found a flock of eight Brewer's Sparrows accompanied by a Clay-colored Sparrow!

We continued east to CR 97, then north to CR 18 (E. Jewell) back west to Powhaton Road.  A lone Burrowing Owl was in the prairie dog town just west of the Paintball entrance road.

With only an hour before sunset, we decided to sit near Jewell Avenue and Powhaton Road.  Rebecca and Bryan parked at Smith Road & Jewell after dropping Sue and I off just west of Jewell & Powhaton Road.

We had both sides of Murphy Creek covered.  Our target bird was a Short-eared Owl.  I have seen Barn Owls fly around the ranch house just southwest of Gun Club and Jewell Roads; none did tonight.

About 10 minutes after sunset, Sue called out, Short-eared Owl.  A Short-eared Owl was flying over the field southwest/behind the ranch house.  We radioed Bryan and Sue and all were able to see the Short-eared Owl hunt, albeit, quite far away (northeast of DADS trash dump).

I would suggest Smith Road and East Yale Avenue for Sage Thrashers and sparrows.  It is about 30 minutes from Iliff Avenue & I225, then 30 minutes to drive to CR 97.

Search for Sabine's Gull(s)

September 21, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bill Cryder and walked the southern side of Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) today.  Denver set a record high temperature of 89 degrees.  Winds were 4 mph, gusts to 8 mph.

I hoped to get a better photo of a Sabine's Gull today.  We relocated the Sabine's Gull at mile 3.0, Aurora Reservoir.  Unfortunately, it was swimming offshore, too far away for anything but a witness photo.

I gave it another shot at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Regrettably, the few gulls at Cherry Creek Reservoir did not include yesterday's Sabine's Gull.  Eight Common Terns on the southwest marina were a nice consolation.

The only land birding I did today was at Smoky Hill Group Picnic area-swim beach.  Not one warbler was around today.

No Short-eared Owls appeared when I parked at the south side of DIA tonight.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

A three Sabine's Gull Day (3 locations)

September 20, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I enjoyed this early fall birding day with Sabine's Gulls at three reservoirs.  We started at Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas Counties).  We missed the Sabine's Gull and Red Phalarope at the marina sand spit, plum creek delta and the heronry overlook.  Then found both the juvenile Sabine's Gull and Red Phalarope from the swim beach area.

While searching for the two target birds we found some nice birds.  In the woods just west of the handicapped fisherperson dock our conservative count was 49 Yellow-rumped Warblers.  Loosely associated with these warblers were a Cassin's Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo and four Black-capped Chickadees.

In the willows along the shore from the marina sand spit area to Plum Creek delta we counted another 18 Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Cassin's Vireo.

At the Heronry overlook we found a Rock Wren, late House Wren and an American Redstart.

Our next stop was Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  A Sabine's Gull flew below the dam.  We did not look elsewhere, instead headed to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  We entered from the south side and scoped the many gulls at mile 1.0, 2.0 and the cove at 3.0.  Our third Sabine's Gull of the day was at the mile3.0 cove.

We headed for home by way of the Arapahoe County Road 97-East Yale Avenue route.  A flock of 28 Brewer's Sparrows was quite interesting.  Dozens of Vesper Sparrows, two Rock Wrens and an unidentified flycatcher were along E. Yale Avenue.  Two Sage Thrashers were west of the last house down Yale before it runs into Smith Road (the extreme right turn).

We drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams) just before sunset.  Only one Burrowing Owl was around the prairie dog town at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue (hence will be called 3rd Creek prairie dog town).

No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

Detour to Cherry Creek Reservoir, Arapahoe County

September 19, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I got a late start today.  I started out for Chatfield Reservoir (reports of Sabine's Gulls & Red Phalarope).  When I got halfway at around 4:30 pm, I225 and I25, traffic was a nightmare.  Instead, I exited the highway and detoured to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).

A walk up the Butterfly Hill trail found seven Say's Phoebes and 2-3 Sage Thrashers.  Yesterday's Eastern Phoebe was not found.  Several dozen American Goldfinches also flew around.

Over at the Smoky Hill Group Picnic area on the north side of the reservoir, twenty two Yellow-rumped Warblers were in the three pines east of the restroom.  Later I watched another sixteen Yellow-rumped Warblers, two Orange-crowned Warblers, two Wilson's Warblers and a Townsend's Warbler fly about the locust trees on the west side of the picnic area.

Phillips County Birding and a Gilpin Owling Trip

September 18, 2015

Richard Stevens:

The day started out again with calm winds and temperatures in the 50s.  Conditions changed after Noon.  Anemometer readings were 12+ mph, gusts to 26 mph; temperatures rose into the 90s.

Our plan today was to follow September's "Colorado Field Notes" article on birding the Holyoke area (Phillips County).  It was an entertaining choice!

A Canada Warbler was found with a dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers at the Holyoke Cemetery (they are a rare find anywhere in Colorado).  We could not find the Bell's Vireo reported by Mlodinow on 9/15.

An hour spent at the Holyoke Fishing Pond was productive.  A Nashville Warbler hid in the bushes along the canal (southeast corner).  A Least Flycatcher hawked insects farther west along the canal.  A Western Wood-pewee, as out of place as the Least Flycatcher, hawked insects in the gun club area.  An Eastern Kingbird was late in leaving.  Misses: orioles, additional warblers and vireos.

The only bird uncommon at the Holyoke City Park was a Tennessee Warbler flipping high above in the tall cottonwoods.

A check of Frenchman Creek Wildlife Area (Phillips) did not find any uncommon sparrows.  The Wildlife Area is quite dry this year.  Still we hoped for an "ammodramus" sparrow, Le Conte's or Baird's would have been nice (heck, super)!

We had to return to Denver for a previously planned owling trip and only had a few additional hours to bird.  We drove north to Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick Counties).  It was another great choice.

A Pectoral Sandpiper was along the southeastern shore.  A Common Tern and the Lesser Black-backed Gull, which has been there for months, were observed off the southeastern point.

A Blackpoll Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler and Baltimore Oriole were fluttering about the Campgrounds. 

The five Walk-In-Areas south of Yuma are also grassy Areas this year.  They consist of rolling sandy hills with little water.  The highlight was our second Greater Prairie-Chicken of the day (Walk-In-Area 32/59).

10:00 pm to sunrise on 9/19:

Bryan Ehlmann, Jacob Washburn, Ray Simmons and I headed to Gilpin County.  We visited waypoints from previous years and found a Northern Pygmy-Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl and Boreal Owl.  Our "owl listening stations" picked up another two Northern Saw-whet Owls and a Northern Pygmy-Owl.

Yuma County Birding

September 17, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Winds were mild and temperatures were in the low 50s an hour before sunrise.  Bryan Ehlmann and I waited patiently along Yuma County Road 45.  Shortly after sunrise, our target bird walked across the road.  A male Greater Prairie-Chicken was observed at 1.4 miles east of Highway 385!

We returned to Wray for a great breakfast burrito (at the gas station across from the Sandhiller Motel).  Then we drove west for a few miles to Stalker Pond and the Wray Fishing Unit (Yuma).

Nothing uncommon was found at Stalker Pond; then we walked over to the Wray Fishing Unit.  A Barn Owl was at his (it was a male) location, just west of the ranger's home.  A male Northern Cardinal was in the windbreak along the entrance road.  No phoebes or orioles could be found as they most likely have migrated south by now.

A few miles farther west is Sandsage Wildlife Area.  It has some superb habitat for sparrows.  While no uncommon sparrows were found today, we did find two White-throated Sparrows and a Harris's Sparrow.  The highlight however, a Bell's Vireo was in thickets along the North Fork of the Republican River (about 400 yards west of CR CC & 3/10.

We stopped at two friend's yards in Wray and found a pair of Northern Cardinals at one and a lone male at the other.  No uncommon birds had been reported at either this summer/fall.

Our afternoon was spent visiting several Walk-In-Areas in Yuma County with the plan it "hit" the southern grassy areas the last two hours of daylight.  It was a little early for sparrow and Sprague's Pipit migration; one can always hope!

The fourteen Walk-In-Areas around Clarkville, CO are grassy areas this year.  Coyote Creek runs through several of the Areas and meets with Rock Creek.  As expected, nothing uncommon was encountered.  This could change in the next couple of weeks.  Winds picked up to 14 mph, gusts to 22; temperatures reached into the 90s.

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Kit Carson and Yuma County Birding

September 16, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I birded Flagler Reservoir (Kit Carson County) just after sunrise.  Winds were 8 mph, gusts to 12 mph; temperature was 58 degrees.

In two hours, we found a Northern Waterthrush, Cassin's Vireo and Brown Thrasher along the eastern and southern sides.  Two Eastern Bluebirds and a White-throated Sparrow were near the northeastern corner.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker and Marsh Wren were below the dam.

Our next stop of the day was Fairview Cemetery in Burlington (Kit Carson).  A Blue-headed Vireo was in the evergreens at the southwest corner.  Two Red Crossbills were a surprise sighting.  A Townsend's Warbler and Great Horned Owl were also in the cemetery.  Great-tailed Grackles (8) were across the highway.

After lunch (91 degrees at 3:00 pm), we finally arrived at Bonny Reservoir (Yuma).  Winds were 13+ mph; gusts to 22 mph.  Highlights were a Northern Cardinal and Long-eared Owl near Foster's Grove.  Four Wild Turkey walked CR 3, west of Foster's Grove.  Stalker Pond was quiet.  A Bell's Vireo was in the trees along County Road 2.  No birds were at the infamous CR 2 corner (first right turn east of Hwy 385).

A Philadelphia Vireo was the highlight of the day at wagon wheel Campgrounds.  At dusk, we got a Common Poorwill to respond to our recording (would have preferred a Whip-poor-will).  An Eastern Screech-Owl called about 60 minutes after sunset.

Return to Rocky Mountain Arsenal

September 15, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I over five miles at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County).  We hiked from the Lake Ladora parking area to Havana Ponds, then to the Rod & Gun Club Pond and back.  It was cool in the morning, but heated up to the high 80s by noon.  Winds were measured at 12+ mph.

Sage Thrashers were still around in good numbers (total 11 along our route). The highlight was an Eastern Phoebe along the Rod and Gun Club trail.  We also spotted a Long-eared Owl in a New Mexico Locust grove.

Other birds observed included two Rock Wrens, two Common Yellowthroat, Virginia Rail (heard), Sora (heard), a Western Wood-pewee, and a young Bullock's Oriole.

Guanella Pass Fall Count

September 14, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Four of us conducted the Guanella Pass fall count (Clear Creek).  Temperatures were in the low 50s; anemometer readings were 10+ mph, gusts to 22 mph.  Thanks to Bryan Ehlmann, Jacob Washburn & Ray Simmons for their participation.

Only two White-tailed Ptarmigan were found in three hours at the top of the pass.  They can be quite difficult to find in summer when the willows are in bloom and 4-5 feet high.

The best bird at the top of the pass was Brewer's Sparrows (2).  They were Timberline Brewer's Sparrows, which someday maybe split from the Brewer's Sparrows found at lower elevations.

Other birds found at the top of the pass included a flyover Prairie Falcon, White-crowned Sparrows, American Pipits, Mountain Bluebirds (2), four Brown-capped Rosy Finches and a surprising Wilson's Warbler!

We then hiked around the Campgrounds area and up Lost Silver Dollar Lake trail.  Two American Three-toed Woodpeckers were found around the Campgrounds and another two up the Lake trail.

Other birds recorded around the Campgrounds and Guanella pass road included: six Wilson's Warblers, a male MacGillivray's Warbler, four Pine Grosbeaks, ten Red Crossbills, Hairy Woodpeckers, Red-naped Sapsucker (2), Lincoln's Sparrows, Pine Siskins, White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-breasted Nuthatches (2), and a Townsend's Solitaire.

Farther down the road, we found three Northern Pygmy-Owls and a Northern Saw-whet Owl.  Two additional Northern Pygmy-Owls were picked up on our "owl listening stations".

Suspects: Jacob and Ray were almost sure they had a Swamp Sparrow along South Clear Creek.

Misses: no Black Swifts at Square Top Lakes Falls.

Lowell Ponds Wildlife Area and Chatfield Reservoir

September 13, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I headed down to Chatfield Reservoir by way of Lowell Ponds Wildlife Area (Adams).

Some outrageous shorebirds were reported yesterday at Lowell Ponds.  We hiked around each of the five ponds.  Unfortunately, we found no exposed shore for the shorebirds to wander.

We enjoyed the walk around the relatively flat Wildlife Area.  We hoped to run into Bob Canter who once birded the area quite often.  He was a no show today.  This small Wildlife Area had many small ponds and thick riparian areas around the ponds and along Clear Creek.

The trip was not a waste.  Starting with the northern side, a Cassin's Vireo was found in the cottonwoods between the two northeastern ponds.  We continued west to Tennyson Street, crossed Clear Creek and returned east to the parking area.

A Plumbeous Vireo was along the south side of Clear Creek at 400 yards east of Tennyson.  The large pond just west of the parking area was our best hope for shorebirds.  Again, there was no open shore; weeds grew right to the water line.

While trying to photograph two Orange-crowned Warblers along the west side of the pond, we noticed a Northern Waterthrush walking along the dead branches in the water.  The warblers were near the only Russian Olive tree that hung over the dirt path.

Two Gray Catbirds were at the southwest corner of the pond.  A Western Wood-pewee (late) hawked insects up the hill south of the pond.

Next, we drove south to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) to search for a Worm-eating Warbler reported yesterday.

Eventually we hiked a mile upstream of Kingfisher Bridge and both the east and west sides of the South Platte River.

On the east side, we ran into a Blackpoll Warbler about 40 yards south of the end of the cement path.  Few other birds were found.  When we reached the "Worm-eating Warbler spot", I played a recording and received a three second response by the Worm-eating Warbler.  Unfortunately, we were not able to entice the bird out of the thickets.

On the west side, we walked down to the "old White-eyed Vireo spot".  No vireos were around today (also no Yellow-billed Cuckoos).  We did see a Black-and-white Warbler about 30 yards south of the end of the paved path.

After a late lunch at Morrison Inn, we drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams).  Burrowing Owls were spotted along third Creek and along Gun Club Road, south of 112th avenue.

Mt. Evans Fall Count

September 12, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Eight of us conducted the Mt. Evans Fall Count today.  The weather was superb.  Cool temperatures (50s) and normal winds (12-16 mph) were measured.

Participants included Richard Stevens, Rebecca Kosten, Bryan Ehlmann, Sue Ehlmann, Jacob Washburn, Ray Simmons, Dave King and Mary King.  Not all birds were observed by each observer.

Two White-tailed Ptarmigan were found below the first pullover below the upper parking area.  Another was seen below the eastern side of the upper parking lot.

Bryan and I walked the field east of the Summit Lake Parking area for about three hours.  Only two additional two White-tailed Ptarmigan were added to our list.

Three Brown-capped Rosy Finches were observed flying around the northwest corner of Summit Lake.

Other birds seen from Summit Lake to the top of Mt. Evans: American Pipits, Mountain Bluebirds, Common Ravens, and White-crowned Sparrows.  Bryan and I found two Brewer's Sparrows, which sounded like Timberline Brewer's Sparrows.  Could they nest there?

Bryan and I also hiked from the tree line down to the Campgrounds.  We could not find any Dusky Grouse; however did run into Pine Grosbeaks, White-breasted Nuthatches, Red-breasted Nuthatches, Townsend's Solitaires, Dark-eyed Juncos, Red Crossbills, and Pine Siskins.

The Echo Lake Campgrounds was quite birdy.  They recorded a pair of American Three-toed Woodpeckers, a pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers, four Pine Grosbeaks and a Dusky Grouse.

Echo Lake still had seven Barrow's Goldeneyes swimming around (the Goldeneyes nested again this summer south of the lake, we found the active nest earlier in the summer)!

The east side of Echo Lake added Pine Grosbeaks, Lincoln's Sparrows, Green-tailed Towhees, Red-naped Sapsuckers and another Three-toed Woodpecker to the count.

A few Rufous Hummingbirds and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds flew around the Lodge.

Bryan and I stayed well toward midnight in search of owls.  One Northern Pygmy-Owl was heard south of the Campgrounds.  Our only owl of the count.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Cherry Creek Reservoir Warbler Flock

September 11, 2015

Richard Stevens:

After spending most of the day doing chores and answering emails, I had to get out and enjoy the beautiful day.  Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) was not far from one of my stops.  I savored an hour walking around the Smoky Hill picnic area and Reservoir swim beach.

A flock of warblers circling the area included 28 Yellow-rumped, 2 Orange-crowned, 2 Wilson's, 2 Yellow and at least three Townsend's Warblers.  They jumped from locust tree to locust tree, and then went for the pines northeast of the restrooms.

No identifiable vireos were in the mix.  One House Wren fluttered about the shorter bushes at the western side of the group picnic area. 

I encountered one additional bird that I am not reporting publicly. I was standing by a small bush waiting for one of the Townsend's Warblers to come out in the open for a photo op.  A small grayish bird came into sight twice for about 5 seconds each time.  It looked much like a Bell's Vireo.  

It was a grayish bird with rounded head, weak wingbars and a long tail.  Definitely, it was not a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher.  I am almost sure it was a Bell's Vireo.  With only one other Bell's Vireo record for Arapahoe County (Stevens, 5/19/2015) I will wait to see if anyone relocates the bird on Saturday's Fall Count.  I eventually lost the bird in the bushes along the lakeshore southeast of the group picnic area.

Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge Fall Count

September 10, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I conducted the fifth annual count at Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge today.  It was a cool 55 degrees when the park opened at 8:00 am; winds were less than 2 mph.

We did not need any extra help to count the birds at this 67-acre property.  We hiked the trails twice during our 2.5 hours stay (did not really need that much time).  Two Ponds is most likely the smallest National Wildlife Area in the US.

Total birds (and I mean every one): Red-winged Blackbirds (6), Barn Swallows (4), Northern Flicker (2), House Finches (2), Red-tailed Hawk (1), House Wren (1), Hermit Thrush (1), Cassin's Vireo (1), Sage Thrasher (1), Wilson's Warblers (2), Eastern Screech-Owl (1).

Misses: no other birds.  Sixty Rock Doves circled just south of the property, never entered.  Not one sparrow or House Sparrow (which is a weaver finch, not a sparrow) was seen.

On the way home in the afternoon we stopped at Grandview Ponds Open Space (Adams County).  Highlights were an out of place MacGillivray's Warbler and a late migrating young male Western Tanager.

Our birding day ended at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  Eventually we found five Sage Thrashers along the western side of the auto tour.  A Cassin's Kingbird was along the northern road of the Bison enclosure.  A Northern Mockingbird was along East 64 Avenue at First Creek.

Only one Burrowing Owl was later found along the DIA Owl Loop (at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th Avenue).  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

Cherry Creek Trail Fall Count

September 9, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Today eight of us conducted the Cherry Creek Trail Fall Count (3rd annual).  Temperatures were 48 degrees at sunrise; winds were less than 4 mph.  By the afternoon, temperatures rose to the high 80s.

The Count is along the Cherry Creek bike trail from Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas) to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  We split into groups of two and kept in contact by radios.

Highlights were few; the fantastic day made the walks on relatively flat bike paths quite enjoyable.

The number one highlight was an Eastern Screech-Owl (we are keeping location undisclosed).

Other highlights: at Hidden Mesa Open Space: Nashville Warbler, Cassin's Vireo and Plumbeous Vireo (in cottonwoods and willows along Cherry Creek).

At Whispering Pines Park, (not part of the count): two Townsend's Warblers and a Plumbeous Vireo.

Other birds found included: House Wrens at two locations, MacGillivray's Warbler, five Yellow Warblers, Warbling Vireo, Downy Woodpeckers (11), Hairy Woodpecker (2), and a Virginia's Warbler.

Misses: while late in the season, we hoped for a Yellow-billed Cuckoo.  No additional owls.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Heron Pond Wildlife Refuge, Denver County

September 8, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I started out toward the west side of Denver.  Traffic on Interstate 70 was terrible and we abandon it at Washington Street.  A short distance north of I70, we stopped at Heron Ponds Wildlife Refuge (Denver County).  Temperatures were in the high 60s this morning; winds were less than 3 mph.

This area was the Denver Water Company back in the 1950s.  In the early 1980s, they tore down most of the decrepit buildings and converted the property into the Wildlife Refuge.

The Heron Ponds Wildlife Refuge is rightly named.  We circled the perimeter of the property twice in the next three hours and found two Great Blue Herons, one Great Egret, six Snowy Egrets and the prize, a Green Heron.  The herons and egrets were easy to see.  The passerines took more effort.

In the past, I visited this Refuge quite often; however, quit coming about three years ago when Green Herons were no longer reported.  Today we scoped from the north side the cattail fields along the south side of the pond.  A mostly hidden Green Heron was moving in and out of the cattails (about the middle of the group).

On the first pass we found a lingering House Wren (north side), young Common Yellowthroat (inlet canal), flock of 60+ Chipping Sparrows (corner at southwest bend) and a Cassin's Vireo (about 20 yards north of the dried cement canal, south end of refuge).

Water trickled around the canal that runs from south to north out of the Platte River.  Most likely the water was from runoff from recent rains and not from the Platte River.

On the second pass, we walked south down to the Platte River and back.  First, we detoured through the grassy area along the west side of the pond.  A Savannah Sparrow was along the inlet canal. 

Farther west, we ran into a sparrow that flew up several times however returned quickly to the high grasses.  Both of us thought the head had a hint of orange color.  Each time the small sparrow flew directly away from us.  It appeared to have a square tail and twice both of us thought we saw streaked flanks.  It was an "ammodramus" sparrow (Baird's or LeConte's or not) perhaps a Grasshopper Sparrow (more likely).  After close to an hour, we lost track of it (last seen 80 yards west of the inlet canal, 60 yards south of the northern chain link fence).

Nothing interesting was along the Platte.  It is possible to circle the Refuge by cutting across the canal/drainage with a land bridge just south of the west-east cement canal.  We continued south and found another cement bridge several hundred yards south of the mostly dried west-east canal.

At the southern cement bridge (really just a flat cement platform), we looked down stream and found a Northern Waterthrush walking the western edge!

The Refuge has much riparian area besides the pond.  Perhaps bird activity will pick up when migration gets in full swing (week or two).  We plan to return several times in the coming weeks.

Another Colorado Eastern Plains Trip

September 4-7 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I returned to Northeastern Colorado for a four day trek in search of migrating birds.  The major part of fall migration has not arrived on the northeastern plains yet.  We did enjoy a fantastic trip anyway!

September 4

We headed north and stopped at Crow Valley Campground (Weld County).  Birding was quite interesting.  Most of our "finds" were birds previously reported.  Eventually we encountered a Townsend's Warbler, Northern Waterthrush, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher, Eastern Phoebe, Red-eyed Vireo and Tennessee Warbler (work center).

No Mountain Plovers were found at previously reported locations around the Campgrounds and we continued east.  We wandered around driving the many roads in the Pawnee National Grasslands.  Pawnee Buttes had little bird activity except for Horned Larks.

Two Chestnut-collared Longspurs and a few McCown's Longspurs were found at the old eastern Campground area on the Pawnee National Grasslands (Weld).

We stopped at four Walk-in-Areas (access open up on September 1st) and two State Trust Lands in Weld County.  Several had expected habitat for uncommon "ammodramus" sparrows; none was found however.  All three Sharp-tailed Sparrow records in Colorado are from 10/6 to 10/26; however, one never knows what might be around.

No Sharp-tailed Grouse were found; however, they would be introduced and not countable anyway.  Highlights were a Barn Owl at an abandon building and a late migrating Bullock's Oriole.

A Short-eared Owl was observed hovering along Cedar Creek, east of Highway 71 (still Weld).

September 5, 2015

Bryan and I enjoyed a superb morning of birding around Sterling Reservoir (Logan).  We relocated both the Red-shouldered Hawk and Barn Owl previously reported.  Although, no one has addressed the origin of the Hawk.  It may or may not be a countable bird.  Passerines were in short supply, we were happy to find the Red-shouldered Hawk.  A Dickcissel was found along CR 46, just outside of the Park.

Afterwards we visited the three Walk-In-Areas in Logan County north of I76.  We usually pick the Walk-In-Areas to visit by those along creeks or drainages.  Only the Walk-In-Area near Logan County Roads 54 & 25 fits this description.  Two additional Dickcissel for our day list were found here!

Quick stops are Pioneer Park and Overland Park in Sterling found a Bullock's Oriole at Pioneer and nothing uncommon at Overland Park or Musuem.

Stops at four Walk-In-Areas east of Fleming found nothing of interest and we continued to Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick).  Two of the areas border Wild Horse Creek.

The Lesser Black-backed Gull was still at Jumbo Reservoir (Sedgwick side when we arrived).  Nothing uncommon flew around the Campgrounds.  We waited unsuccessfully for Short-eared Owls to appear at sunset and dusk along the southern side of Jumbo.  Later we heard an Eastern Screech-Owl along the Northern side!

September 6, 2015

Bryan, Roger and I wandered around eastern Sedgwick County today.  Possible target birds included "ammodramus" sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks, Sprague's Pipit (really unlikely) and migrating passerines.

Public locations walked included DePoorter Lake where we found a Dickcissel along the Platte River and a Field Sparrow on the hill near the parking area.

At nearby Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop, a Baltimore Oriole and Red-bellied Woodpecker were spotted.  We checked unsuccessfully the area where Common Ground-Doves were found in 2011.

Five Walk-In-Areas border Sand Creek (Sedgwick County).  However, Sand Creek had no surface water.  The highlight of the day and possibly our trip was a Baird's Sparrow CR 55/btw CR 8/10!

Two Field Sparrows were found at Walk-In-Area (CR 59/CR 16).

Later we visited friend's ranches (Sedgwick) and added birds to our day list:
private ranch #3: Long-eared Owl (2)
private ranch #4: Eastern Screech-Owl
private ranch #1: Cassin's Vireo, Tennessee Warbler

September 7

Bryan and I spent half the day at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan).  It was cool in the morning with winds less than 3 mph.  Temperatures rose after noon and winds picked up to 12+ mph.

Note: for those who do not keep track of wind speeds, 8+ mph is quite fast for those looking for birds, especially when leaves are in full form.

In spite of several misses, we enjoy a spectacular day at Tamarack.  Eventually our bird list included: Black-throated Green Warbler, Cassin's Vireo, Red-eyed Vireo, two Field Sparrows, a Harris's Sparrow, a male and female Northern Cardinal, a female Baltimore Oriole, five Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Eastern Screech-Owls (at two locations).

Misses included: possibly now departed Bell's Vireos and Yellow-billed Cuckoos.

We dropped down to Washington County by way of Highway 61.  A young Baltimore Oriole was along Rock Creek at Hwy 61 (just west of Burdett, Washington County).

A small gallinaceous bird that probably was a Greater Prairie-Chicken was at Walk-In-Area (CR 59/CR SS).  We supposed that there was always a small chance of a "Plains" Sharp-tailed Grouse.

Two Walk-In-Areas are along Surveyor Creek, just north of Otis.  A Great Crested Flycatcher was at Walk-In-Area (CR 43/Hwy 61).

Our spectacular day was not over.  A stop at Last Chance Rest Stop (Washington) added another surprise.  An Eastern Wood-Pewee was calling from the trees at the old store area!

Across the street, another Cassin's Vireo was added to our trip list.

Birds in the Jefferson County Foothills

September 3, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I called around, could not find anyone who wanted to drive up to Indian Hills this morning.  Skies threaten rain off and on (it sprinkled at Indian Hills).  Finally, I drove up to Indian Hills (Jefferson).

Within 10 minutes the Acorn Woodpecker appeared at Penny Corpeny's home (only 2nd Jefferson County Record).  Photos on the Colorado Birding Society's photo library:

She has an interesting yard.  Townsend's Warblers, Virginia's Warblers, Golden-crowned Kinglet, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, and other mountain species visit her yard!

It was early morning when I left so detoured over to nearby Mt. Falcon Park (Jefferson).  A Townsend's Warbler was in the trees just east of the upper parking area.

A walk down the trail heading south from just west of the parking area found a Dusky Grouse.  The bird was west of the path and just north of the steep drop in the trail.

I walked up to the overlook area.  Along the way, a couple of Mountain Bluebirds fluttered around the open area.  Hairy and Downy Woodpeckers were where the trail entered the forest.

Two Red Crossbills were observed high in the pine trees.

A search around the Tiny Town parking area did not find any Northern Pygmy or Northern Saw-whet Owls today.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Cherry Creek Reservoir to Rocky Mountain Arsenal to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area

September 1, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I started the morning at 7:00 am at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Anemometer readings were zero (which is quite unusual); temperature was 62 degrees.  I hiked from the Lake Loop east to the Cottonwood Creek wetlands back and west to the Mountain Loop in the next three hours.

Mosquitoes were quite abundant.  Each time I stopped to scope the trees, my jacket would be covered with hundreds of the pests.

Excluding Northern Flickers and Black-billed Magpies, no birds were encountered until I reached the Prairie Loop parking area.  Several American Goldfinches were attacking the Elk Thistle and occasionally sunflower plants.

A Great Blue Heron, Snowy Egret and juvenile hunting for food along Cottonwood Creek, just north of the washed out footbridge.  A Cassin's Vireo was in the willows along Cottonwood Creek at 30 yards north of the washed out area.

About 80 yards west of the Bird Platform area I saw a Great Blue Heron perched (?) in a cottonwood tree.  While trying to photograph the Heron, I was startled by a Long-eared Owl staring at me!

The woods from the Prairie Loop to the Lake Loop were short on birds.  Once back at the Lake Loop, a pair of Wilson's Warblers and an Orange-crowned Warbler were discovered in a Russian Olive Tree along the shore.

The cottonwoods just west of the Lake Loop parking lot were interesting in that 26 Northern Flickers flew back and forth.  I have never seen that many together before.  Fourteen Black-billed Magpies were also here.

Most entertaining was an Osprey that was hunting back and forth along the shore here.  The width of his wingspan was fascinating.  It was much longer than that of the Red-tailed Hawks circled above.

Farther west, two male Belted Kingfishers appeared to be fighting over a lone female.  Nothing else was observed and I turned around at the Mountain Loop parking area.

The lack of birds on the north side of the lake was eerie.  Not one bird was found between the swim beach and the Smoky Hill group picnic area.

My next stop was the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County).  Two Sage Thrashers were still just north of the southwest entrance to the Bison enclosure.

Continuing around the loop, two or three Savannah Sparrows flew about the high grasses along 7th avenue (72nd ave).

Zero birds were on Lake Ladora or Lower Derby Lake.  By 1:00 pm, the day was staring to warm up.  I expected to find few birds during the 4.0 mile round trip to the Rod and Gun Club bird blind and Havana Ponds.  That was the case.

My birding day ended at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld).  By 4:30 pm, the day started to cool off as clouds rolled eastward.

While birding was not great, I found a couple of nice birds.  A Cassin's Vireo was working the trees along the east side of Pond 3.  While a Barn Owl flew out of the windbreak along the western side.

I crossed the road and walked from Pond 5 to Pond 9.  A Townsend's Warbler was in the windbreak west of Pond 7.  Dozens of American Robins flew back and forth between Pond 7 and 9.  One of the Long-eared Owls was relocated between Pond 7 & 8.

No Short-eared Owls appeared at sunset tonight.

Chatfield Reservoir Shorebirds

August 31, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Winds were less than 6 mph and temperatures in the low 60s when I arrived at Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas Counties).

A check at the marina sand spit found only one shorebird.  A Spotted Sandpiper walked the eastern side.  A few Ring-billed and California Gulls stood at the northern end.  American White Pelicans also rested there.

At the Platte River delta area, I walked north to the lake proper.  Seven species of shorebirds included a Semipalmated Plover.

As I continued north (in my new hiking boots), I encountered a small stream.  Debating for 10 minutes whether to attempt jumping the little five foot stream from virtually a dead stop, finally the wrong decision was made.  My new hiking boots were no more; covered in mud above ankles I continued north pass the stream.

My lack of common sense about my abilities to jump the five foot stream was rewarded however.  The Short-billed Dowitcher was found along the mudflats at the southwest corner of the lake.  It was not visible from any point south or east of the "roaring monster" stream.

After another flop into the muddy trickle of a stream and my return to the parking area, I walked over to the Kingfisher Bridge.  A short walk of less than hundred yards north and south of the bridge found lingering (not yet migrating) Least Flycatcher and Eastern Phoebe.

On the trip home, I detoured over to the Stonegate North Pond at the southwest corner of Arapahoe Road and 470-toll road.  The Pectoral Sandpiper was still there as were six other species of shorebirds.

Return to Jackson County

August 29-30, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I made a short trip to Gould to enjoy the cooler mountain temperatures and birds.

August 29

We walked around the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center area in the afternoon.  Wilson's Warblers and a Fox Sparrow (slate colored) were behind the building.  Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and a couple of Rufous Hummingbirds attacked the hummingbird feeders.

Thirty minutes before sunset, we hiked down the road to the Crags Campgrounds.  A Swainson's Thrush was heard singing from somewhere in the fir trees north of the Campgrounds.  Eventually a Boreal Owl was heard during the walk south along the fire road.  Bring a flashlight if you attempt this hike; trees have fallen down on several sections of the road and some bushwhacking is required.

August 30

Rebecca Kosten and I searched for Calliope Hummingbirds at the Gould Store and KOA Campgrounds.  Only Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and a few Rufous Hummingbirds were found.

An American Dipper was found walking along the Michigan River near the bridge at the intersection of Jackson County Road 21 and Forest Road 740!  I have encountered them before up here, however not often.

In the afternoon, we hiked up Ruby Jewell Road for a couple of miles, and then turned around after sunset.  A Boreal Owl was heard about 1/2 mile from the main road.  No Flammulated Owls could be enticed to call tonight.

Be careful, a few Wilson's Snipes were calling about 1/4 mile from the main road (Jackson County Road 41).  They do sound similar to a Boreal Owl.

We returned to Denver by way of Pennock Pass (Larimer).  A Flammulated Owl was heard calling close to the same location as our last trip. 

Following a Kelp Gull Report, Morgan County

August 28, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I made a one day trip up I76.  Our target bird was from a report we received of a larger Black backed Gull at Jackson Reservoir.  The reporter thought it to be a Kelp Gull.  While not a first county record, it would be quite a rare find.  Unfortunately, no black backed Gull was found at Jackson Reservoir or nearby Andrick Wildlife Area.

Our trip was not a lost.  A walk along the western Campgrounds found a Mourning Warbler deep in the woods between Lakeside Campgrounds and Cove Campgrounds (much bushwhacking required).

A Cassin's Vireo was along the eastern side of Pelican Campgrounds.  One of the two Long-eared Owls, which appeared to have stayed all year, was also relocated.

A walk along the north shore did not find any uncommon shorebirds.  A Common Tern flying along the shore was a nice consolation!

By the way, mosquitoes were horrible in the Campgrounds and the Jackson Reservoir Wildlife Area.

A detour to Brush Wildlife Area and Brush Prairie Wildlife Area found nothing uncommon to report.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker was seen at Brush Wildlife Area.  Previous reports of Upland Sandpipers and a Yellow-billed Cuckoo were not corroborated.

We detoured home by way of Prospect Valley to say hi to a friend.  Burrowing Owls continue along Weld County 24 1/2 Road.  No reports of migrating Mountain Plovers were found in the area.

Adams County, Barr Lake and DIA Owl Loop

August 27, 2015

Richard Stevens:

In spite of expected high numbers of mosquitoes, Bryan Ehlmann and I walked Barr Lake trail from mile 1.0 to 6.0 (by way of the boat ramp) and back.  Mosquito numbers were substantiated and made the trek not enjoyable at times.

Best birds were a Cassin's Vireo and Townsend's Warbler within 50 yards north of the banding station.

Later we found relocated Burrowing Owls along the DIA Owl Loop (3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue; Trussville Road & 114th avenue; south of Gun Club Road & 112th avenue).

Exploring SE Arapahoe County to Elbert County

August 26, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I drove the Yale-Jewell Loop (Arapahoe) on our way to Elbert County and the Dickcissel field south of Kiowa.

A few Loggerhead Shrikes and half a dozen Western Kingbirds continue along Yale Avenue.

No Dickcissels were found when we scoped the "Dickcissel field" along Elbert Road (4.1 miles south of Hwy 86).

A check of two "traditional" locations of Common Poorwill in Elbert did not turn up any today.

We continued south to Ramah Reservoir (El Paso).  Unfortunately, the Buff-breasted Sandpiper appeared to be gone.  We did see the previously reported Red-headed Woodpecker.

We returned to Stonegate Pond trying for better photos of the Pectoral Sandpiper there. The sandpiper was there however, it was too dark for photos by the time we arrived.

Cherry Creek Reservoir and Stonegate North Pond

August 25, 2015

Richard Stevens:

In the early afternoon, I drove down to the Stonegate North Pond (Douglas County).  Seven species of shorebirds walked the mudflats around this swallow small pond created by runoff.

Several photos of the Pectoral Sandpiper were added to the Colorado Birding Society's Photo Library (

On the way home, I stopped at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Winds were calm and temperatures in the high 80s.

A Townsend's Warbler was loosely associated with three Yellow-rumped Warblers working the locust trees between the Smoky Hill group picnic area and the swim beach.