Sunday, October 18, 2015

Search for Uncommon Sparrows in Yuma County

October 13-15, 2015

Bryan Ehlmann and I trip to the eastern plains this time in Yuma County for a search of uncommon sparrows and pipits.  Winds were 10 to 14 mph, gusts to 22 mph most of the trip.

October 13, 2015

Our first stop was Flagler Reservoir just before sunrise.  No Short-eared Owls hunted the fields west of the Wildlife Area this morning.  Highlight was a Broad-winged Hawk, probably one of the seven reported a few days earlier.

A few other birds seen were a late House Wren, Orange-crowned Warbler and Brown Thrasher.

Fairview Cemetery at the north end of Burlington (Kit Carson) offers an interesting bird now and then.  Today we found a Black-and-white Warbler and an "empidonax flycatcher".

Note: later a study of our photos (also sent to an expert) indicated that the flycatcher was a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher!

A stop at a friend's ranch in Yuma County found a Long-eared Owl in the windbreak around his house.

A stop at "pipit hill" near Hale found two of the six Sprague's Pipits reported by multiple birders since we first found them on September 24!  Half a dozen Eastern Bluebirds were also in the area.  Another four Eastern Bluebirds were just north of Hale.

Wagon Wheel Campgrounds was slow today.  We missed finding any Common Poorwills at Hale Ponds.  A nice consolation was an Eastern Screech-Owl that called shortly after sunset.

October 14, 2015

Our day started out with a bang!  A Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was found in Wray City Park.  We took quite a while to make sure it was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and not a Red-naped Sapsucker.

The goal today was to check on several locations of uncommon sparrows (including Sharp tailed) north and east of Wray.

We also stopped at three friend's homes to see what their feeders have been attracting.  Sightings included: at private yard # 3: two male Northern Cardinals and a Harris's Sparrow; at private yard # 1 a pair of Northern Cardinals.  A red form of Fox Sparrow had been here two days earlier; it did not show today.

The three Walk-In-Areas visited added no birds to our day list.  At sunset, we heard an Eastern Screech-Owl at private yard # 2.

October 15

Just before sunrise, we watched a Greater Prairie-Chicken cross County Road 45 around 1.6 miles east of Highway 385.

We walked around Sandsage Wildlife Area for an hour and found dozens of sparrows.  Only one Harris's Sparrow and one White-throated Sparrow were among the many White-crowned Sparrows, half a dozen Song Sparrows and a Lincoln's Sparrow.

Stalker Pond and Wray Fishing Unit had few birds of interest.  Earlier we missed relocating the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker found yesterday at Wray City Park.  A stop at the Wray Community Hospital was more successful.  The Yellow-bellied Sapsucker fluttered about the western side.

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