Monday, August 15, 2016

Trip to Northeastern Colorado

August 9-13, 2016

Terry Michaels and I made a five day trip to northeastern Colorado.  We hoped to determine the extent of fall migration.  Results appeared to show that migration is not in full swing yet.

August 9

We started at sunrise at Soapstone Prairie Natural Area (Larimer County).  Eventually two Baird's Sparrows were encountered.  No sign of breeding was seen.

We stopped for a short walk at the field southeast of Hwy 85 and Weld County Road 114.  Two Chestnut-collared Longspurs (both males) were observed during a hike to the windmill to the southeast.

Our next stop was Sterling Reservoir (Logan).  Exposed shore line is at a premium with Colorado's penchant to save/store as much water as possible.  Few shorebirds were found during our northeastern trip.

A Barn Owl was at the picnic area.  A Dickcissel was along Logan County Road 46 near CR 34.

Visits to Pioneer Park and Overland Park found few birds moving about.

August 10

At dawn, Terry and I drove up and down Highway 138 in search of Upland Sandpipers; without success.

With the help of Roger Danka we took two cars to Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan), parking one at each end of the 7 mile Wildlife Area. 

Eventually we hiked a mile west of CO 55 and then the seven miles to CO     65.  Highlights west of CO 55 included a Bell's Vireo, Eastern Wood-Pewee, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, and Northern Cardinal.  Misses: any Eastern Towhees, any uncommon warblers or vireos.

Highlights east of CO 55 included Yellow-billed Cuckoos, Northern Cardinal, three Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Eastern Screech-Owl.

Our only shorebird sightings of the day were at Red Lion Wildlife Area (Logan).  These included Least Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Willet, Wilson's Phalaropes and Red-necked Phalarope.

After dark, we heard an Eastern Screech-Owl on Roger's ranch.

August 11

Terry and I birded mostly in Sedgwick County today.

We searched along the Platte River where a Common Ground-Dove 11/12 to 12/2/2011; without success.

We enjoy better success at Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop where a late migrating male Baltimore Oriole and a male Red-bellied Woodpecker were found.

An Upland Sandpiper and Yellow-billed Cuckoo were discovered at Sedgwick Bar Wildlife Area.

A male Northern Cardinal stood out in the green cottonwood leaves at the Julesburg Wildlife Area.

No Cardinals were found at Ovid Woods; we did see a female Red-bellied Woodpecker and Brown Thrasher.

Nothing uncommon was found at Pony Express Wildlife Area.  A Field Sparrow was on the hillside south of the parking area at DePoorter Lake.  Misses, no Harris's Sparrows encountered along the S. Platte River.

A Dickcissel was singing when we arrived at the entrance to Roger Danka's ranch.

August 12

Yesterday evening we reached a call concerning a Ruby-throated Hummingbird in Holyoke.  Of course we headed south early in the morning.

We sat in a friend's kitchen for about two hours; finally, a male Ruby-throated Hummingbird made a couple of visits around 8:00 am!

Holyoke Fishing Pond hosted a pair of Eastern Kingbirds, a Western Kingbird and Western Wood-pewee.  Nothing uncommon was around.

Holyoke Cemetery was more interesting.  A Mississippi Kite circled overhead.  A male Red-bellied Woodpecker flew from cottonwood to cottonwood.  A Red-headed Woodpecker and Barn Owl were also there.

Two Chimney Swifts flew over Holyoke.  Another Mississippi Kite was in Holyoke City Park.

Late in the afternoon we drove to Frenchman Creek Wildlife Area hoping for an uncommon migrating sparrow (such as Baird's, Le Conte's or Sharp-tailed).  Only common sparrows White-crowned, Lark, Brewer's and Vesper were around.

Highlights included a singing Dickcissel near the entrance.  A Bell's Vireo popped out of the short hedgerow as we walked to the pond area (dry).

August 13

About an hour before sunrise (6:09 am), Terry and I drove Yuma County Road 45.  Target birds were Greater Prairie-Chickens and Short-eared Owls.  At 6:02 am, three Greater Prairie-Chickens were walking the field about 0.3 miles east of highway 385.  Misses: no Short-eared Owls

We stopped briefly at two friend's homes in Wray, just to say Hi!  A pair of Northern Cardinals was at one yard and another male at the second.

Brief stops in search of shorebirds at Wray Fishing Unit and Stalker Pond found nothing but Killdeer. 

An Upland Sandpiper was walking the hill above the southern side of Stalker Pond.  It was a nice consolation for no uncommon sparrows or shorebirds!

A female Baltimore Oriole was around the western end of the road at Wray Fishing Unit. 

Exhausted, we headed for home.

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