Tuesday, August 9, 2016

End of the Western Slope Trip

July 16-22, 2016

Most of our western slope trip we did not have internet access.  In fact, the cabin in Montrose County lacked electricity.  I recorded notes on my digital recorder.  Unfortunately it was dropped in Lake Dorothey.  It was it or me; I saved myself.

Almost every afternoon we ran into rain and thunderstorms.  Many roads were quite muddy.  Most devastating the rain and high winds put a damper on our owling.  It was my worst summer for owling on the western slope.

Abbreviated highlights included:

July 16

Ophir Pass Road (San Miguel):
  Dusky Grouse (2)
  Black Swifts (4)
  Alta Ghost Town and Alta Lakes (San Miguel)
  American Three-toed Woodpeckers (3)
  Boreal Owl (after dark)

July 17

Bridal Veil Falls (San Miguel)
  two Black Swifts

Black Bear Pass to Red Mountain Pass (Ouray)
  Black Swift (2) near Bullion King Lake (San Juan)
  White-tailed Ptarmigan (1) Black Bear Pass (San Juan)

July 18

Yankee Boy Basin (San Miguel):
  two Black Swifts
  a male American Three-toed Woodpecker

Mt Sneffel's trail (Ouray)
  Fox Sparrow (slate colored)
  Rufous Hummingbird at Sneffels Ghost Town

They also detoured up Imogene Pass Road to Tomboy Ghost Town and 2 miles farther to Social Tunnel. Views from the tunnel back toward Black Bear Pass and Bridal Veil Falls were said to be spectacular. A 4 wheel drive high clearance vehicle is a must.

Back to Ouray

July 19

North Clear Creek Campgrounds (Hinsdale):
  Dusky Grouse (adult and three young)
  Black Swift (flying overhead)

Slumgullion Pass (Hinsdale)
  White-winged Crossbill (pair at Campgrounds)
  Boreal Owls (2, some of the few found on this trip)

July 20
  Long-eared Owl at the Slumgullion Campgrounds, called early in the morning

Creede area (Mineral County)

Lime Creek Road:
  American Three-toed Woodpecker (2)
  Dusky Grouse (adult and 2 young)
Ivy Creek Campgrounds
  Grace's Warbler (2)

At Wagon Wheel Campgrounds, a Hooded Warbler popped up when we played a recording.  It was just about in the same location as past years (2011, 2012, 2015).  The question still is out there, do they nest here?

July 21, 2016

Mineral County

Owling trip to Wolf Creek and West Fork Campgrounds early in the morning.

Wolf Creek Campgrounds: Northern Pygmy-Owl
West Fork Campgrounds (Northern Saw-whet Owl)
West of Wolf Creek Pass (Mineral): Boreal Owl
Wolf Creek Pass, Treasure Falls Black Swift (2)

A Dusky Grouse was at Park Creek Campgrounds.
A Northern Pygmy-Owl called at Palisade.

July 22, 2016

Saguache County

Two Curve-billed Thrashers were found near Forest Roads 560 & 559 (Saguache) while we searched unsuccessfully for Bendire's Thrashers.

The adult Western Gull was still at Blanca Wetlands (Alamosa) when we arrived.

Nothing uncommon was found at the Great Sand Dunes National Monument (Alamosa).  We did hear a Western Screech-Owl after dark.

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