Sunday, January 3, 2016

First Days of 2016

January 1-3, 2016

Richard Stevens:

January 1

Winds were 6 mph today; temperatures barely reached 30 degrees.

I left home an hour before sunrise to drive the DIA Owl Loop (Adams County).  The plan was to sit along Gun Club Road about a mile south of 112th avenue.  There was a good chance that my first bird of 2016 would be a Northern Harrier or Short-eared Owl.

Almost as if I ordered it, a Short-eared Owl flew down third creek at Gun Club Road (Denver County).  The owl was great first bird of the year!

I picked up Horned Larks and one Lapland Longspur for my New Year list and then drove over to the South Platte Birding Area at 88th avenue (Adams).

Thirteen duck species were added to the day list including a pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes.

I headed north to Boulder County, first stop Teller Lake # 5 windbreak.  The Golden-crowned Sparrow appeared after a 20 minute wait.  Song Sparrows, White-crowned Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, European Starlings, American Robins, Northern Flickers and a Great-tailed Grackle were also observed.

The legion overlook at Valmont Reservoir (off Arapahoe Road) was especially productive.  With a help of a scope, a Tundra Swan, Common Loon, Lesser Black-backed Gull & Thayer's Gull were listed!

Then I headed to Gould and the Colorado State Forest.  Behind the Visitor's Center I found Gray-crowned and Brown-capped Rosy Finches, a White-throated Sparrow, Gray Jay, Pine Siskins, a pair of Pine Grosbeaks, Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees and plenty of Dark-eyed Juncos.

A male American Three-toed Woodpecker drummed from across highway 14, north of the Visitor's Center.

After dark, a walk about 0.2 miles either side of Cameron Pass found a Boreal Owl on the Jackson County side (west side).

It was a satisfying first day of 2016!

January 2

Day two of 2016 was just as interesting as New Year's Day.  I drove Jackson County Roads 26 & 26b about an hour before sunrise.  Two Greater Sage-Grouse were seen crossing CR 26b (just before sunrise and 0.1 miles from CR 26).

I drove to Steamboat Springs and drove the neighborhoods on the east side of town.  Five Sharp-tailed Grouse were found along Angler Drive (one of their wintering grounds).

Two Evening Grosbeaks, more Pine Siskins, chickadees, American Crows, Common Ravens and Robins were here.

A flock of ten-twelve Cedar Waxwings were along the Yampa River near downtown.  I checked the other two "roosting" spots of Sharp-tailed Grouse without finding additional birds.  They do tend to wander during the day.

A stop at the Rabbit Ears Pass maintenance shed road added a female American Three-toed Woodpecker, eight Red Crossbills and additional Pine Siskins to my trip list.  Misses included White-winged Crossbills.

After dark, I Boreal Owl responded to my recordings at one of the four GPS waypoints that have been successful in past years.
 January 3

I started back to Denver around midnight with the plan to detour up Rist Canyon (Larimer County).  Unfortunately, I could not find the Northern Saw-whet Owl and Northern Pygmy-Owl found last week.

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