Tuesday, September 8, 2015

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.

No comments: