Sunday, September 20, 2015

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.

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