Monday, October 12, 2015

A Drive Around Eastern Arapahoe and Adams Counties

October 12, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I drove the countryside roads in eastern Arapahoe and Adams Counties this afternoon.  Nothing rare was found.  Temperatures were in the high 70s; anemometer readings at 13 mph; gusts to 20 mph.  We always enjoy the rides on the "eastern plains", especially since unoccupied lands are disappearing rapidly.

The Jewell-Yale Loop was quiet this afternoon.  A House Wren was along E. Yale under the trees and dead limbs on the only tree east of Smith Road.  A Rock Wren was 100 yards east of there.  Eight Vesper Sparrows flew up from the cut fields.

Seven Red-tailed Hawks were counted along Arapahoe County Road 97, north of Yale, south of 6th avenue (Arapahoe).

Continuing north to Hudson Road, another Rock Wren was at the Solar Farm several miles north of I70.  A Prairie Falcon was on a telephone pole about 1.5 miles north of 26th avenue.

A Harris's Sparrow was under the trees/downed limbs on the east side of Hudson Road at 0.6 miles south of 72nd avenue (note, I had no recorder or pen and was just remembering locations.  If the trees were not here, they were 0.6 miles south of 56th avenue).

At Hudson & 72nd avenue, we turned east.  At the first clearing under the metal telephone poles, about 0.6 miles west of Imboden Road, we encountered 100+ Horned Larks and three Chestnut-collared Longspurs (Adams County).  An interesting observation, most of the Horned Larks walked in the shadows of the telephone poles while the Chestnut-collared Longspurs searched for food in the sunny areas.

Another Prairie Falcon was seen at 0.3 miles south of 96th avenue & Imboden Road.  A stop at 96th avenue and Box Elder Creek found no birds (site of several Red-headed Woodpecker sightings in the past year).

Our route was Imboden to 120th avenue, west to Trussville, south to 114th, west to Gun Club Road, detour down Gun Club, then back east to Quency Road, south to 96th, east to Tower Road.

No Burrowing Owls were found at Trussville Road & 114th avenue or Third Creek & Quency (the old prairie dog village at 3.4 miles east of Tower & 96th).  Two Burrowing Owls were west of Gun Club Road at 1.5 miles south of 112th avenue.  I was asked yesterday to check for Burrowing Owls along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams County).

At the Third Creek/Quency Road site, we did see two Swainson's Hawks and three Ferruginous Hawks. All were standing around while one Swainson's Hawk ate a prairie dog. 

The interesting behavior, Swainson's Hawk over Ferruginous Hawk, followed the article I wrote for "Colorado Field Notes" August 2013 p. 52 on Raptor Habitat Selection and Behavior.  The Swainson's Hawk covered the prairie dog with one wing and ate while the other hawks watched (waiting their turn?).

No Short-eared Owls were found this evening after the four Northern Harriers disappeared at dusk.

No comments: