Saturday, December 12, 2015

Gallinaceous bird and Owl Chase!

December 7-10, 2015

Richard Stevens:

December 7

Robert Allen and I took off to the northeast to "work on" his gallinaceous bird and owl list.

Passerines were in short supply at Jackson Reservoir (Morgan County).  We enjoyed better fortune with a Pacific Loon and Lesser Black-backed Gull on the lake.

The resident Eastern Screech-Owl and two Long-eared Owls were relocated in the western Campgrounds.

We missed the Eastern Screech-Owl and Winter Wren at Brush Wildlife Area (Morgan).  A male Red-bellied Woodpecker flew from cottonwood to cottonwood along the northern border of the Wildlife Area.

We reached Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington) with only a couple of hours of daylight remaining.  A Glaucous Gull stood on the ice with 800+ gulls.  The others were mostly Ring-billed, some California and a few Herring.

Shortly after sunset, we found our second Eastern Screech-Owl of the day (at the eastern end of the property.

December 8

Robert and I birded Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) most of the morning (after driving Hwy 55, Fleming Road first in an unsuccessful search for Greater Prairie-Chickens).

The Winter Wren Bryan Ehlmann and I found on 11/23, was pretty much in the same area today!

Other birds found included two Long-eared Owls, a male Northern Cardinal, five Red-bellied Woodpeckers, 12+ Eastern Bluebirds, an Eastern Screech-Owl and a Field Sparrow.

A quick stop at nearby Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) relocated the Long-tailed Duck (Mihm-Dunning, 11/29) a Thayer's Gull and dozens of Greater White-fronted Geese.

We stopped at Ovid Woods (Sedgwick) briefly and added a Red-bellied Woodpecker to the trip list.  Misses included the Rusty Blackbirds and Purple Finch Bryan and I had found two weeks earlier.

Ten minutes at the Ovid Sewage Pond area found only one White-throated Sparrow (no Harris's Sparrows).

We bypassed many good birding areas to be at Yuma County Road 45 about an hour before sunset.  Five Greater Prairie-Chickens walked in the field south of CR 45, 0.2 miles east of Highway 285.

Then we returned to Denver.

December 9

Instead of going to bed after an all night drive from Hale (Yuma County) we drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams) to get an update on the Snowy Owl.  It was almost in the same spot as 12/5!

The Burrowing Owl that was reported on 12/7 was not around this morning.

Robert and I came up with this crazy idea and headed toward Cameron Pass in Jackson County.

A quick stop at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) added a Great Horned Owl to our day list.

Heading toward Fort Collins we stopped at a traditional Long-eared Owl location in Boulder County and added two of them to our list.

An Eastern Screech-Owl was relocated at Spring Canyon Community Park in Fort Collins.

Then we visited a friend's ranch west of Fort Collins (Larimer) and picked up a Northern Pygmy-Owl he had staked out for us.

A detour to Wellington Wildlife Area added another Long-eared Owl and a Short-eared Owl to our crazy plan.

At 11:10 pm we relocated a Boreal Owl just west of Cameron Pass (Jackson)!

Not bad, even missing Northern Saw-whet & Burrowing Owl we enjoyed our seven owl Day!

December 10

Robert and I started out around 4:30 am, after three hours sleep and parked along Jackson County Road 26.  Unfortunately, no Greater Sage-Grouse appeared this cold cold morning.

We detoured over to Steamboat Springs (Routt) and found three Sharp-tailed Grouse at their traditional wintering grounds.

On the drive back to Denver (by way of Fort Collins, I70 has too much construction) we stopped at the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.  We missed the previously reported White-throated Sparrow; twelve Gray-crowned Rosy Finches and four Brown-capped Rosy Finches were our consolation.

After dropping Robert off at the airport, I drove the DIA Owl Loop.  Unfortunately, the Snowy Owl had not been seen since 12/9.  The Burrowing Owl had not been reported since 12/7.  No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight, while I parked along West Cargo Street at 0.2 miles south of third Creek (Adams).

No comments: