Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Most Interesting Day In Eastern Arapahoe County

August 7, 2016

Rebecca Kosten and I enjoyed an interesting day at Eastern Arapahoe County.  On the way there we received a text message about a pair of Pectoral Sandpipers at a playa.  We detoured over to the playa located on CR 30 (East Quincy) at 0.4 miles west of CR 181.

Note CR 30 does not continue from CR 161 to CR 181.  We had to drive through Byers and take CR 181 south.  It turned out to be good fortune.  We took the Byers exit and drove east on the south service road to CR 181 to go south.  A Lewis's Woodpecker was on a telephone pole at this intersection.  The woodpecker eventually flew west to the first house and yard.

Continuing south on CR 181 to CR 30, then west to the playa, one of the Pectoral Sandpipers was on the road when we arrived.  The other was 10 yards north of CR 30.  A Lesser Yellowlegs, Stilt Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpiper and half a dozen Killdeer were also there.  Gene Rutherford also reported four Cassin's Kingbirds.  We found one in the first tree west of the playa.

Continuing west on CR 30 to its end in about 0.5 miles there is a large flooded field.  Presently, it has too much water and no shore.  Conditions could change when the water evaporates.  Another Cassin's Kingbird was on the fence here.

We continued south on CR 181 and found an adult Dickcissel (at 0.7 miles north of CR 38). 

When we stopped at a friend's ranch (south of CR 181 & CR 42) a Ferruginous Hawk stood on a telephone pole.  It was our first Ferruginous Hawk in Arapahoe County!  

A Long-billed Curlew was in one of his fields.  I suggest keep eyes out for Long-billed Curlews when driving CR 42 between CR 181 & CR 161.  Rebecca and I encountered one along CR 42 on June 24, 2016.

A stop at the cut hill along CR 42 at 1.0 miles east of CR 161 relocated a Northern Mockingbird (draw northeast of the cut) and a Cassin's Kingbird (first driveway southwest of same).

We turned north on CR 161 and headed north to CR 30.  No Cassin's Kingbirds were found at the small grove of trees at 1.4 miles south of CR 30 (one had been there for the last month).  A juvenile Dickcissel was on the telephone wires at 1.2 miles south of CR 30!

While driving CR 30 toward CR 129, we relocated the Burrowing Owl east of CR 149 (just west of the oil tanks).

We drove south down CR 129 to Orchard Road and back.  No Dickcissels were at the draw near the intersection today (up to 3 on past visits).  Rebecca noticed two Dickcissels on the small fence line at the north side of the large electric complex just south of the Arapahoe County Eastern Service Center.  We parked and watch the pair for 30 minutes or so.  The adult fed the juvenile Dickcissel several times! 

This indicates the second nesting locations we have discovered in Arapahoe County this summer.   The article that Dave King wrote on Dickcissel nesting for August's (2016) "Colorado Field Notes" is quite informative.  The adult was almost certainly a female feeding the juvenile bird.

As we turned west at CR 129 and CR 30, Rebecca pointed out a male Blue Grosbeak at the Service Center!  I have been missing Blue Grosbeak sightings most of the summer.

We returned by way of the Yale-Jewell Loop off CR 97.  No Sage Thrashers (Stevens, 7/30/16) or Long-billed Curlews (Petrosky, 7/28/15) today.  A Cassin's Kingbird was on the dead limbs at first grove east of Smith Road-E. Yale (some maps call the diagonal road E. Yale instead of Smith Road).  The adult Bald Eagle was perched on a stag along Smith Road.  The bird has been there most of the summer.  Is it possible that Bald Eagles nested along Coal Creek?

No Short-eared Owls found along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver) this evening.  Burrowing Owls at the usual locations listed on CoBus website (Adams/Denver County).

Along our trek we also found 7 Loggerhead Shrikes, a Sage Thrasher, 2 Grasshopper Sparrows (CR 161), 3 Red-tailed Hawks, 6 Swainson's Hawks and an American Kestrel.

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