Sunday, September 20, 2015

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.

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