Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Final Spring Northeastern Trip

June 5 to 10, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I enjoyed another interesting trip to Northeastern Colorado.  Weather was mixed with thunderstorms, calm skies, cool and warm temperatures.  I switched birding companions several times.

June 5
Terry Michaels and I started our northeastern trip by heading north to Pawnee National Grasslands (Weld).

Half a dozen White-rumped Sandpipers lingered along Weld County Road 48, south side of Lower Latham Reservoir.

Crow Valley Campground (Weld) still has quite a bit of water flooding it.  We managed to see a previously reported Cassin's Kingbird and Baltimore Oriole.

We checked on the progress of a nesting Mountain Plover on Pawnee National Grasslands.  The female was observed wandering around collecting food.  Two unhatched eggs are in the nest.

A friend had sent a text message that a Northern Saw-whet Owl was calling this morning on his ranch.  Unfortunately, we were not able to find it.  Perhaps an Eastern Screech-Owl nesting near the Saw-whet Owl site had chased it off?

A male Chestnut-sided Warbler fluttering around willows surrounding the ranch house was a nice consolation prize!

Two Chestnut-collared Longspurs were found in the field at the southeast corner of Hwy 85 & Weld County Road 114.  I have a permit to enter the field and am not sure if one is still required.  Read the sign at the entrance gate for possible details (it is unclear).

Our birding day ended at the CPER.  We walked along appropriately called Owl Creek.  A Short-eared Owl was found northeast of the CPER Center.  Farther north, we heard two Great Horned Owls also along Owl Creek.

June 6

Terry Michaels and I were up early driving the Logan County Roads in search of Upland Sandpipers near the Red Lion Wildlife Area.  A stop at a friend's ranch found the only Upland Sandpiper encountered this morning.

Most of the morning and early afternoon was spent at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan County).  We enjoyed a great birding experience.

Eventually we found 4 Bell's Vireos, 2 Yellow-billed Cuckoos, 3 Baltimore Orioles, 2 Northern Cardinals, 6 Red-bellied Woodpeckers, 2 Field Sparrows, 3 Great Crested Flycatchers, 2 Cassin's Sparrows and a Red-eyed Vireo! 

Later we walked around Red Lion Wildlife Area (Little Jumbo Reservoir, Logan) and found an additional Bell's Vireo and a Magnolia Warbler.

Late in the afternoon, we relocated a Baltimore Oriole at Jumbo Reservoir.  We missed finding the resident Long-eared Owls today; however, an Eastern Screech-Owl was heard along the north side of the reservoir.

June 7, 2016

Terry Michaels had to return to Denver yesterday evening.  I stayed at Roger Danka's ranch.  Two Eastern Screech-Owls called as we enjoyed the midnight air and a late barbecue.

Just before sunrise, we drove the Logan County Roads and Highway 138 in search of Upland Sandpipers.  This morning we located one along Hwy 138 near Logan County Road 95!

Duck Creek Wildlife Area gets some interesting bird sightings.  Regrettably, I have not enjoyed the fortune that other birders have.  Roger and I did find a Baltimore Oriole and Red-bellied Woodpecker, no Upland Sandpipers, uncommon warblers or sparrows.

We enjoyed better birding at Sedgwick Bar Wildlife Area (Logan).  Here we found a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Great Crested Flycatcher, Red-bellied Woodpecker & two Eastern Bluebirds.

At Sedgwick Cemetery, we missed the previously reported Baltimore Oriole; however, we did find a male Red-bellied Woodpecker,

We stood watch at Sedgwick Draw (Sedgwick) at dusk.   No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.

June 8

Today Roger and I were joined by Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons (my ride back to Denver in a few days).

We stopped at several ranches in Sedgwick County.  I added Long-eared Owls (private ranch #2), Eastern Wood-Pewee (private ranch #2), Yellow-billed Cuckoo (private ranch #3), Red-bellied Woodpeckers (private ranch #2, #3), Baltimore Oriole (private ranch #3), Field Sparrow (private ranch #5), and Eastern Screech-Owl (private ranch #5) to my trip list.

We were happy to see the Yellow-billed Cuckoo; however would have preferred a Black-billed Cuckoo.

The highlight of the day came at Sand Draw Wildlife Area (Sedgwick).   An Eastern Meadowlark was singing along the eastern border of the Wildlife Area. Close views confirmed the hearing/sighting), no yellow on its malar.  When it flew, we could tell it was an Eastern Meadowlark and not a "Lilian's" Eastern Meadowlark.

Keep an eye out on those Eastern Meadowlarks; Lilian's may soon be split from the Eastern Meadowlark complex.

We enjoyed a fantastic barbecue at sunset.  The Eastern Screech-Owl again called at dusk.

June 9, 2016

Jacob Washburn, Ray Simmons and I turned south today.  We sat at the Yuma County Road 45 Leks at first light.  No Greater Prairie-Chicken displayed this morning.

Walks around several birding areas found some interesting birds.

A Dickcissel was singing along Yuma County Road CC when we drove to Sandsage Wildlife Area.

Wray Fishing Unit (Yuma) added 2 Northern Cardinals, a male and female Baltimore Oriole, and calling Great Crested Flycatcher to our day list.

The Eastern Phoebes are still at Stalker Pond.  Another Northern Cardinal was encountered here.

Wray City Park added a Townsend's Warbler to our day.  Reports of Townsend's Warblers across Colorado are down this spring.  In the past, they seem to appear near the end of migration, almost signaling the end of spring migration.  Perhaps migration is not over for the season?

A walk around Beecher Island one of my favorite stops for historical reasons found another Great Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Phoebe.

We walked down the Republican River at Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area (east of Hwy 385) at dusk.  Two Eastern Screech-Owls were heard.

A Common Poorwill responded to our recordings when played at Hale Ponds.  We hoped for a Whip-poor-will instead.  We even wandered into Kansas for an hour hoping to conjure up one; without success.

June 10, 2016

Migration was not over at Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area and Hale Ponds.  We hiked quite a distance today covering both sides of Bonny Reservoir, Hale and Hale Ponds.

At Hale Ponds we came across Red-eyed Vireos, Eastern Phoebe, Harris's Sparrow, Dickcissel, Baltimore Orioles, Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Great Crested Flycatchers, Eastern Bluebirds, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Northern Bobwhite, and Eastern Screech-Owls (at dusk).

At Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area we found a Magnolia Warbler (old Wagon Wheel Campgrounds), Baltimore Oriole, Great Crested Flycatchers, Red-bellied Woodpeckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Wild Turkey, and Northern Cardinal.

By late afternoon, it was time to head toward to Denver.

We could not resist one last stop.  Flagler Reservoir (Kit Carson) added another Yellow-billed Cuckoo and Red-bellied Woodpeckers to my final trip list.  Not one warbler or vireo could be found.

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