Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Two Day Trip to Southeastern Colorado

March 19-20, 2016

March 19

Jacob Washburn, Ray Simmons and I decided to try for the Black Phoebes reported by Van Truan in Bent County.  Unfortunately we never found public access to the location.  We continued to bird in southeastern Colorado for a couple of days.

At a private yard in Las Animas (Bent) it only took 20 minutes to see the Curve-billed Thrasher & Red-bellied Woodpecker.

We searched John Martin Reservoir (Bent) for previously reported Lesser Black-backed Gull and four Common Loons.  One Common Loon was relocated.

It had been six days since a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker was reported at the Hasty Cemetery.  It was not relocated.  A Barn Owl was found not far from Hasty.

Our last bird of the day was a Western Screech-Owl in Cottonwood Canyon (Baca).  It called shortly after dusk near the Campgrounds area.

March 20

Our birding day started in southeastern Colorado at a Lek that Terry Michaels and I discovered earlier in the month.  Shortly after civil twilight, two Lesser Prairie-Chickens danced on the lek. 

I am holding back directions until after the lekking season is over.  Too many leks have been abandoned partially/totally due to human interaction.  I am controlling disturbance as best as possible.

We walked around one of my favorite "sparrow spots" in Baca County for almost two hours.  It is the field north of the entrance to the old/defunct Lesser Prairie-Chicken Lek along Baca County Road G.

With much patience, we relocated a Cassin's Sparrow found by Terry Michaels and myself back on March 10.  The highlight was our first Lark Bunting on the year!  A Burrowing Owl continued 0.3 miles east of this field.

A return to Cottonwood Canyon added a Greater Roadrunner, Eastern Phoebe, two Rufous-crowned Sparrows, Chihuahuan Ravens, Bewick's Wren and Cooper's Hawk to our trip list.

A stop at Two Buttes Reservoir (Baca) found a Hermit Thrush, Barn Owl & Northern Mockingbird. 

We passed through Lincoln County on the trip back to Denver.  Both Chestnut-collared Longspurs and McCown's Longspurs were located in the County Road 41 area!

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