Monday, September 26, 2016

Beautiful Lazy Day Through Arapahoe, Adams & Denver Counties

September 26, 2016

Richard Stevens:

After finishing a meeting at the Denver Tech Center, I spent 1.5 hours enjoying this fine fall day by sitting and scoping Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) from the Lake Loop.  At last, winds were mild, one "gust" of 5 mph, mostly 2 mph or less.  Temperatures only reached the middle 70s.

I have not found the Parasitic Jaeger on my last two trips.  Also missed were Common Terns, however, I did see one juvenile Sabine's Gull and at least one Black Tern.

We drove through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) and found a Sage Thrasher along the western side of the Bison enclosure and a late migrating Grasshopper Sparrow along the northern side.

A walk along the Legacy Trail added one Barn Owl and two Long-eared Owls to my day list.

Next, I walked outside the Arsenal, along Buckley Road between 56th and 88th avenue.  With a little effort, Burrowing Owls were found in both Adams & Denver Counties.

A detour along the First Creek Trail found few birds.  An adult & juvenile Red-tailed Hawk, one House Wren, two American Goldfinches and four White-crowned Sparrows were the total.

I was picked up at the 56th avenue end of the First Creek Trail and we headed for home.  A couple of Burrowing Owls were at Third Creek and West Cargo Road.

Note: due to health issues I am told not to drive, Rebecca drops me off and goes shopping until I call her for a pickup.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

"Leaf Peeping" and A Few Birds

September 25, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I planned to do some "leaf peeping" today and chose to drive up Highway 285.  For Colorado, the yellow Aspens among the evergreens are impressive.  Still I miss the many reds, oranges, and yellows of Minnesota.

We stopped at the western Campgrounds at Kenosha Pass (Park County) to stretch our legs.  An American Three-toed Woodpecker gave away his position while drumming on a stag.

A walk across Hwy 285 found a Williamson's Sapsucker in the Aspens.  A male Wilson's Warbler fluttered about some willows.

Great views of Lost Park and South Park can be seen from the south side of the Pass.  And yes, South Park is real; Fairplay is where the creators of South Park went to High School.

Next, we dropped down the north side of the pass and turned up Guanella Pass Road at Grant.

Superb views of the 14,000-foot mountains, Bierstadt and Mt Evans can be seen from the parking area at the top of Guanella Pass.

We sat next to a restroom to shelter us from the wind (only 20+ mph, slow for up here) and scoped the Hillside to the southeast.  Rebecca managed to put her scope onto a White-tailed Ptarmigan!   It beat the strenuous hike to the 603/Rosalie trail intersection.

We did walk to the willows below the parking area and found a singing Brewer's Sparrow.  It sounds different from the Brewer's Sparrows on the Plains and is referred to Timberline Brewer's Sparrow.  Perhaps someday to be a new species (according to Dr. James Rising).

A stop at Guanella Pass Campgrounds found a male American Three-toed Woodpecker drumming on one of his favorite snags.  I find him there 2/3 of my stops.  A pair of Pine Grosbeaks circled overhead and stopped briefly on top of a Lodgepole Pine.

At dusk, we drove back toward Grant and listened for Owls.  The "owl listening stations" I set up at Burning Bear Campgrounds picked up the contact call of a Northern Pygmy-Owl!

No further "owl action" was encountered until we reached Whiteside Campgrounds.  We played owl recordings and saw a small owl fly into the camp.  A brief look with a spotlight found it to be a Northern Saw-whet Owl.

No additional owls were found at Kenosha Pass (Park) or Reynolds Park (Jefferson).

Birding Around Denver & Mt Falcon Park Trip

September 24, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels was kind and took my commitment to lead a trip to Mt Falcon Park (Jefferson).  They all heard a Northern Pygmy Owl toward the overlook at Mt Falcon Park.  They also found two Dusky Grouse along the trail going south from the southeast corner of the parking lot.

Meanwhile I drove over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  I sat and scoped the lake for about two hours, never finding the Parasitic Jaeger.  While doing so, I did see two Sabine's Gulls and three Common Terns.

Next, I stopped at Barr Lake (Adams).  Eventually I walked from the Visitor's Center to banding station and then the peninsula to the north.  Again, I missed the Semipalmated Plover that everyone else seems to find for the past two weeks.

A Nashville Warbler was in the willows just north of where the Willow Tree hangs over the main trail (mile 8.8).  A little farther north, a Cassin's Vireo fluttered about in the cottonwoods.

A Barn Owl was again at the banding station nesting box.  A Hermit Thrush jumped around the fallen trees below the banding station table.

Many American White Pelicans, Ring-billed Gulls and Double-crested Cormorants stood on the shore.  Two Pectoral Sandpipers were along the western side of the peninsula.

My birding day ended with a drive along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver) in search of owls.  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening. 

Two Burrowing Owls were along Gun Club Road, south of 112th avenue.  Another two were at W. Cargo Road and Third Creek.  I have not seen any Burrowing Owls at Trussville Road & 114th since August 7.

East of Denver

September 23, 2016

Richard Stevens:

This afternoon Terry Michaels and I visited ranches of two friends near Prospect Valley (Weld).  We were chasing a couple of interesting bird reports.  At private ranch #1, we missed a Blackburnian Warbler that had been seen the last three days.

At private ranch # 2, the Jack had seen what he thought was a Ruby-throated Hummingbird for three days (last sighting 9/21).  We sat for two hours, never saw a hummingbird.  Winds were 21 mph, gusts to 33 mph.

We found ourselves close to Last Chance Rest Stop (Washington) and decided to check it out.  A Brown Thrasher and Philadelphia Vireo were our reward for the 35 mile detour.

Trip to the High Mountains

September 19-22, 2016

Richard Stevens:

September 19

Terry Michaels and I headed to the high country to do some owling.  No owls were found around Estes Park (Larimer) during the three hours before sunrise.

We stopped at Medicine Bow Curve in Rocky Mountain National Park early in the morning.  Four White-tailed Ptarmigan were found below the main trail heading north from the pullover.

Two Brown-capped Rosy Finches were observed flying overhead during our hike.

Terry climbed up Rock Cut trail searching for additional White-tailed Ptarmigan while I sat at the Lava Cliffs pullover.  One Brown-capped Rosy Finch flew around the Lava Cliffs while no Ptarmigan were moving around the Rock Cut.

After dark, Terry and I stopped at several pullovers to do some owling.  Winds were calm which is quite strange for Rocky Mountain National Park.

A Boreal Owl along Hidden Valley Road was the only owl found in the main park.

It was such a fantastic night; we decided to hike the Cow Creek trail, which is not accessed, from the main road.

The decision was a great one.  We eventually ran into a Northern Pygmy-Owl (near the stairs at the three-trail intersection) and two Flammulated Owls south of Cow Creek and the trail intersections.

September 20

Terry Michaels and I got a late start today.  Eventually we relocated the male American Three-toed Woodpecker across highway 14 from the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.  The American Three-toed Woodpecker at Ranger Lakes was also relocated.

A few hummingbirds mostly Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and one Rufous Hummingbird were found in Gould.

A drive into the Colorado State Forest found an American Three-toed Woodpecker along Ruby Jewell Road.  The only owl heard tonight was a Boreal Owl up RJR at 2.0 miles from the main State Forest Road.

September 21

At first light, Terry Michaels and I drove around Lake John Wildlife Area.  The highlight was sighting three Greater Sage-Grouse walking along the entrance road.

Next Terry Michaels and I drove the Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge self-driving tour.

The previously reported Mountain Plover was not relocated; however, two Greater Sage-Grouse were a fair consolation.

At least two Rough-legged Hawks were on the Refuge.  They have been recorded nesting here.  A few stay in Jackson County year round.

Our next stop was the Teller City Ghost Town.  A walk around the self-guiding tour added a male American Three-toed Woodpecker to our day list.  The woodpecker was at the northwest corner of the walk.

With my limited "temporary" mobility, we could not hike up Baker Pass (Jackson) to look for Ptarmigan. 

After dark, we located (heard only) two Boreal Owls (one at the trailhead, one along Forest Road 728 (Jack Creek).

We stopped to pick up our "owl listening stations" set up along Forest Road 728 and at the Teller City Campgrounds and Ghost Town.

One of the three stations picked up a Northern Pygmy Owl contact call along Forest Road 728.

September 22

After another late start (having stayed up most of last night), Terry and I headed toward Denver and home.  The skies last night were clear and calm.  An unbelievable number of stars and 3/4 moon lit up the sky.  Every couple of minutes a satellite or debris streaked across the sky!

The Zimmerman Lake Loop Trail (Larimer) is not too steep and we decided to give it a try (with my limited mobility and breathing).

We probably took twice as long as earlier hikes, but did make it to the lake.  Two American Three-toed Woodpeckers were encountered along the way.  One near the fork in the trail, the other within 100 yards of the Lake.

Misses: no Crossbills, Red or White-winged observed this trip.

We reached Stove Prairie Road near dusk and searched for Common Poorwills; without success.

Stops at five previously locations of Flammulated Owls found only one along Pennock Pass Road.

No owls were found at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area or the "castle" farther south down the road.

Jumbo Reservoir for Jaegers

September 18, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels, Rebecca Kosten, Sue Ehlmann and I drove up to Jumbo Reservoir to search for the three jaegers reported yesterday.  Again, winds were 12+ mph.

We eventually found two Parasitic Jaegers.  The third Jaeger, which had been also labeled a Parasitic Jaeger, appeared to us to be a possible Pomarine Jaeger.  Note: final decision was never reached on it (although two other birders later in the day called it a Pomarine Jaeger also).

We stopped at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) on our trip home.  We found two Northern Cardinals, five Red-bellied Woodpeckers and one of the resident Eastern Screech-Owls!

Cherry Creek Reservoir and Mt Falcon Park

September 17, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Clear Creek County
Terry Michaels led the CoBus trip to Mt Evans today: they found eight Barrow's Goldeneyes (Wann, 5/26) on Echo Lake, three Brown-capped Rosy Finches at the northwest corner of Summit Lake and a White-tailed Ptarmigan east of the Evans Byway road at the Summit Lake parking lot.

My email to cobirders listserve:

Hello cobirders;

I happened to pass by Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) on my way home and stopped to see if the Parasitic Jaeger would fly closer.  It did not but stayed in the middle of the lake.  Possible three Common Terns were still out there, just a little too far away to confirm ID 100 percent, but did not look like Forster's Terns.  I did not see the Red-necked Grebe, any Sabine's Gulls or Black Terns.

I checked the strip of cottonwoods along the Lake Loop and found two male Yellow Warblers, one male Wilson's Warbler, four Black-capped Chickadees, a Cassin's Vireo and Black-and-white Warbler.  These were along the northwest side of the Lake Loop.  Then multiple birds started to fly in from the northeast side.  Another 60+ Yellow-rumped Warblers, six additional Black-capped Chickadees, a young male Western Tanager, and a second or same Cassin's Vireo.

Relocated the Parasitic Jaeger twice more for birders who showed up and headed for home.

Cherry Creek Reservoir Again

September 16, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Arapahoe Cty
Terry Michaels found at Cherry Creek State Park: Parasitic Jaeger (Walbek, 9/15), Red-necked Phalaropes (Walbek, 9/15), Sabine's Gulls (Walbek, 9/15) and Common Tern (Kilpatrick, 9/6)

Return to Cherry Creek Reservoir

September 15, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels found a Greater Prairie-Chicken along Logan County Road 93, between CR 44 & CR 46 this morning.  Winds were again 15mph, gusts to 29 mph.

Few birds were moving around Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick).  High winds ended the trip early.

A quick stop at Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) relocated the Western Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull.  Few land birds were found among the swaying cottonwood trees.

My email to cobirders listserve:

Hello cobirders;

I made it over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) this afternoon and watched the Jaeger for about 2.5 hours.  Twice it came halfway between the Lake Loop and buoy #4.  It landed several times near buoy #4.  As I was about to take photos a sailboard w/"sailors" decided to use the buoy as a turn around point.  I think Dave King is correct and that it is a Parasitic Jaeger.

Other birds observed included four Sabine's Gulls, three Common Terns flew by, three Black Terns also, 2 dozen+ Barn Swallows, one Cliff Swallow and one Bank Swallow.  At the southeast corner of the Lake Loop I found a 1st year male Western Tanager, one Western Wood-pewee, two noisy House Wrens, a flock of 8+ Chipping Sparrows, two Song Sparrows.

Another Northeastern Plains Trip

September 14, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels took over my trip to northeastern Colorado today.  Winds 12+ mph, gusts to 19 mph.

Few birds were found at Sterling Reservoir (Logan) and they continued to Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area.

They found the following at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area: Nashville Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, two Field Sparrows, a Baltimore Oriole and Eastern Screech-Owl.

Wray Fall Count, Eastern Trip Continued

September 11-12, 2016

Richard Stevens

September 11

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels, Sue Ehlmann, Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons conducted the Wray fall Count, results to be published in "Colorado Field Notes".

Highlights included:

Wray Fishing Unit (Red-eyed Vireo, Baltimore Oriole, two Eastern Bluebirds, two White-throated Sparrows)

Stalker Pond (Bell's Vireo and three Northern Cardinals)

Wray (private yards and ranches): five Northern Cardinals, one Rose-breasted Grosbeak, one Fox Sparrow (red form), Blue-headed Vireo, Tennessee Warbler, Eastern Screech-Owl, four Chimney Swifts, Northern Bobwhite, one Greater Prairie-Chicken)

 September 12

Yuma Cty
Terry Michaels and all saw a Greater Prairie-Chicken cross CR 45 between Hwy 385 and the CR 45 lek (1.7 miles to east).

Winds were 19 mph, gusts to 31 mph.  They decided to return to Denver.

Break In Birding

September 11-15, 2016

I was not feeling well and Rebecca and I returned to Denver.  I would spent the next five days in the hospital.

Bonny Reservoir/Hale Fall Count

September 10, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Six of us conducted the Bonny Reservoir/Hale Ponds fall Count today.  Joining Terry Michaels and I were Sue Ehlmann, Rebecca Kosten, Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons.

The fall count will be published in "Colorado Field Notes".

We enjoyed a few highlights which included a Mourning Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Eastern Screech-Owls (at Bonny Reservoir & Hale Ponds), Northern Waterthrush, Harris's Sparrow, Red-bellied Woodpeckers (Bonny Reservoir & Hale Ponds), seven Eastern Bluebirds (Hale), Bell's Vireo (along Yuma CR 2), two Long-eared Owls (Bonny Reservoir).

Wray to Holyoke

September 9,  2016

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I returned to the Wray Fishing Unit (Yuma) shortly after sunrise this morning.  The best bird was a Pine Warbler in the evergreens along the entrance road.

A Red-eyed Vireo, Eastern Bluebird and Northern Mockingbird were in the same windbreak.

Then we continued North to Holyoke.  Anemometer readings were 23 mph with gusts to 41 mph.  It was fortunate that any birds were discovered.

Eventually we found a Pine Warbler and Tennessee Warbler at the Holyoke Cemetery.  A Philadelphia Vireo was found in town at the east end of Akron Street.

We drove over to Frenchman Creek Wildlife Area; however, few birds were moving around in the high winds.

Hale Ponds to Wray

September 8, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I continued our scouting for this weekends fall counts on the eastern plains.

An Eastern Screech-Owl called near our campsite at Hale Ponds

Today at Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area, we relocated a Yellow-billed Cuckoo and then headed north toward Wray.

A stop at Beecher Island found a Blue-headed Vireo and a late migrating Baltimore Oriole in the cottonwoods near the parking area.

Wray Fishing Unit was closed by the time we arrived in Wray.  Nearby Stalker Pond added a Least Flycatcher, two Northern Cardinals, and another Baltimore Oriole to our day list.

 No Greater Prairie-Chickens could be found along the road to the Kitzmiller Ranch.

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Birding Along the Kansas Border

September 7, 2016

Rebecca Kosten: transcript of telephone call:

After missing yesterday's interesting birds at Bethune and Kit Carson County N, Terry and I headed to Bonny Reservoir.  No uncommon birds were found a Palmer Park in Burlington or Fairview Cemetery north of town.

We enjoyed better birding at Bonny Reservoir adding a Great Crested Flycatcher and Red-bellied Woodpecker along CR 3. 

A walk along the Republican River at Hale Ponds found a Magnolia Warbler, about 0.2 miles west of Kansas; Northern Waterthrush another 0.1 miles west; and a Harris's Sparrow at the north end of the eastern pond.

Thirty minutes before sunset, we drove along the Kansas border searching for a Whip-poor-will.  None was found; surely a few make it this far west?

(Note: the last Eastern Whip-Poor-wills recorded in Colorado were:
Along Lodgepole Creek in Ovid, Sedgwick County on 9/16/2013 (Stevens & five Ovid residents) and
Along Logan County Road 4 at CR 77 9/20/2013 (Stevens & Ehlmann)

After sunset, we walked along Yuma County Road 3 and located two Eastern Screech-Owls.  Another Eastern Screech-Owl called north of Hale Ponds.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Trip to Bethune and area, Kit Carson County

September 7, 2016

Rebecca Kosten (transcript of phone call):

Terry Michaels and Richard Stevens passed Last Chance Rest Stop (Washington County) at first light.  They found a Cassin's Vireo and yesterday's Northern Waterthrush.  Misses: the Bell's Vireo, Townsend's Warbler & Indigo Bunting found yesterday by Loch Kilpatrick.

They had no luck in finding the Blue-headed Vireo and Cassin's Vireo reported yesterday by Glenn Walbek near Bethune (Kit Carson).  Nor could they find the Buff-breasted Sandpipers along Kit Carson CR N, east of CR 56.

Arapahoe County Road 185 Playa

September 6, 2016

Rebecca Kosten (copy of email sent to cobirders listserve):

In a roundabout way, I (Richard Stevens) savored another superb birding day.  Can a day birding ever be bad.  Started the day out doing chores, when nearby Cherry Creek Reservoir, I drove through looking for the Common Tern that Loch Kilpatrick found early. 

Half a dozen Black Terns flew around the middle of the lake.  A white Tern was also out there, too far away to identify.

Already side tracked I decided to inspect the Eastern Arapahoe County playas.  The result was enjoying the two best reasons I became a birder.

Finding a needle in a haystack or better yet a surprise bird in the haystack is always delightful.  Making new friends is just as important and satisfying.

I stopped by the Arapahoe CR 30 playa (3:00 pm) to find it dried up and void of birds.  The CR 34 playa was never found; I headed to the CR 185 playa (4:00 pm).

No shorebirds were on the playa almost dried up now; I set up my scope to inspect it anyway.  The pond to the west across from CR 185 had not shore and many ducks.

As I sat there inspecting the playa to the east, shorebirds started to arrive overhead from the west.  The source could not be determined (I did look along CR 181).  By the time I left, the count was over 200 birds.

In the mix were 180+ Baird's Sandpipers, 12 Lesser Yellowlegs, 8 Greater Yellowlegs, 1 Stilt Sandpiper, 1 Solitary Sandpiper, at least 2 Least Sandpipers, at least 2 Western Sandpipers and 2 Semipalmated Sandpipers.  Many peeps were left unidentified.  Killdeer made up the rest except for the surprises. No smaller plovers were seen.

The highlights included 12 Pectoral Sandpipers, 2 Short-billed Dowitchers and could it be, the missing Buff-breasted Sandpiper.  No way to know if it was the CR 30 bird.  At least one Chestnut-collared Longspur remained from Saturday's group.

As I sat there, a rancher stopped and warned me about the nasty thunderstorm coming in from the southwest.  Warning given, he continued home.   The lightning was get worse.

Twenty minutes later, another truck came by; it was the rancher's wife.  She said her husband was on the internet and lightning strikes were quite numerous about 1/4 mile southwest of the playa.

Unfortunately, it was time to leave.  I followed her toward her ranch where I was treated to the location of nearby playas and the history of the area.  Quite interesting, if accurate to hear about how Deer Trail (a major cattle drive destination), Byers and Strasburg (majoy railroad town) were much bigger before a 1965 flood.  It is always intriguing to learn local history from the descendants of those that lived it!

Two Day Northeastern Colorado Trips

September 4-5, 2016

Rebecca Kosten (transcript of email notes):

September 4

Marion Warren, Betty Orr, Jack Lewis and I set out to search for a few of their target birds on the eastern plains.  Temperatures were in the middle 70s; winds were 9 mph, gusts to 11 mph. 

A brief stop at Jackson Reservoir (Morgan County) found a Long-eared Owl in less than 10 minutes at the western Campgrounds.

The most of rest of the day was spent at Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington Counties).  Eventually we found the 2nd year Western Gull, one Lesser Black-backed Gull, several Semipalmated Plovers and six Pectoral Sandpipers.

At the inlet canal area, we picked up a Yellow-billed Cuckoo (they are used to seeing Black-billed Cuckoos in Missouri).  A Great Crested Flycatcher and Eastern Screech-Owl (usual location) were also in the same area.

Another Great Crested Flycatcher and a Red-headed Woodpecker were below the dam.

We rushed to Yuma County Road 45 and searched for Greater Prairie-Chickens at sunset.  One Greater Prairie-Chicken was south of CR 45, between the CR 45 lek and Highway 385.

Sterling was the biggest town to spend the night to try for additional target birds in the morning.

September 5

Today winds were calm; temperatures reached the middle 60s.  It was much nicer than yesterday.

We drove up and down Highway 138 east of Sterling before sunrise in search of Upland Sandpipers; without success.

Thinking an Upland Sandpiper sighting was a bust, we drove west to Sterling Reservoir (Logan).  Fortune was kind, an Upland Sandpiper stood on a fence post outside the entrance to the State Park.

We continued to the picnic area for brunch.  The area was quite birdy and we found a Black-throated Green Warbler, Townsend's Warbler, Blue-headed Vireo & Red-eyed Vireo!  A Barn Owl was at the camping area.

One additional target bird was on our list.  We headed to Pawnee National Grasslands to search for a Mountain Plover.  None was at their summering location along CR 100 (11.5 miles east of CR 77).

Next, we walked the dirt road, which is an extension of CR 63, north of CR 94.  Eventually one was found about 0.5 miles north of Weld County Road 94 and 0.4 miles west of CR 63!

A few McCown's Longspurs and a flock of 10+ Lark Buntings were observed during our hike.  No adult male Lark Buntings were in the flock.

All considered the two day trip a success!

Saturday, September 3, 2016

DIA Owl Loop to Chatfield Reservoir to Arapahoe County Playas

September 3, 2016

Richard Stevens:

At first light Rebecca Kosten and I drove the DIA Owl Loop in search of Short-eared or Barn Owls; neither was found.

We stopped at Box Elder Creek and found Red-headed Woodpeckers at 96th Avenue and 104th Avenue.  A couple of Western Wood-pewees were also seen; no Cassin's Sparrow were around today.

I dropped Rebecca off and continued to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) to look for the Little Gull reported by Joey Kellner this morning.  The Little Gull was below the dam at the northeast corner.

Several times the Little Gull flew up circled and landed in the same area.  Nice views of its wings were digiscoped.

Many boats were on Chatfield Reservoir today because of the holidays.  Eventually the Little Gull was forced up and it flew toward the dam tower.  When it reached slightly west of the tower, it was in Jefferson County!

Finally, below I left, it returned to the northeast corner in Douglas County.

Next I drove to the Arapahoe County Road 30 playa (0.5 miles east of Arapahoe CR 181).  The Buff-breasted Sandpiper was not far off the road when I arrived at 4:30 pm (got some nice photos!).

A thunderstorm rolled in about 4:45 pm.  About half of the 110+ Killdeer and the Buff-breasted Sandpiper walked to under the two trees at the southeast corner of the playa.

Other birds included at least 24 Baird's Sandpipers, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 1 Stilt Sandpiper, 1 Solitary Sandpiper, 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, and 1 Western Sandpiper.

At our meeting tonight, we decided to keep the name of this playa as the CR 30 playa.  Gene Rutherford first "discovered" the playa and called it the Power Lines playa.  Our name helps to locate it.  There are two additional playas closer to Byers. 

The Byers County Store playa (behind the store) had about 22 shorebirds this afternoon.  These included one Pectoral Sandpiper, six Baird's Sandpipers and fifteen Killdeer.

The CR 185 playa (0.7 miles south of Hwy 36) was a gold mine of shorebirds.  List below is minimum number of the hundreds of shorebirds present.  The thunderstorm reached here before I could look at every bird:

Killdeer - 140
Greater Yellowlegs - 8
Lesser Yellowlegs - 10
Sanderling - 1
Semipalmated Sandpiper - 11
Western Sandpiper - 20
Least Sandpiper - 6
Baird's Sandpiper - 160
Pectoral Sandpiper - 8
Stilt Sandpiper - 8
Dowitcher sp. 2

Lightning and high winds ended my superb birding day.

Too Much Wind

September 2, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Winds were horrific this morning in Holyoke (Phillips County).  Anemometer readings were 19-23 mph with gusts to 33 mph.  I was fortunate to find any birds.  It was quite difficult to hold my binoculars steady.

The Black-throated Green Warbler was clinging to a branch at the southeast corner of Holyoke Cemetery.  Two Baltimore Orioles were blown toward the north end of the Cemetery.

I gave up plans to return to Frenchman Creek Wildlife Area.  Any sparrows had to be hunkered down in the grasses or blown north to Sedgwick County.

Conditions at Washington County Golf Course and Park were a little better.  Anemometer readings were "only" 10 mph out of the south with gusts to 18 mph.

I was able to find a Cassin's Vireo below the eastern dam.  A Least Flycatcher, also below the dam, attempted to fly up and catch some bugs.  Whether he was successful could not be determined.  A couple of Barn Swallows zipped over the pond.

Again, winds made the decision to head back to Denver.  My final stop of the day was Last Chance Rest Stop (Washington).  Thunderstorms threaten the area.  Winds again were outrageous.  Anemometer readings were 24 mph with gusts to 39 mph, ouch!

The few birds found buried in the bushes included a Bell's Vireo, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Least Flycatcher and Brown Thrasher.

I gave up and drove home.

Birding Around Holyoke, Colorado

September 1, 2016

Richard Stevens:

My birding day centered on Holyoke, Colorado.  An uncommon sparrow or Eastern Meadowlark was target birds; neither was found.

Winds were 11 mph with gusts to 24 mph.  That was not a good sign for birding.  Temperatures reached the high 70s.

I stopped at Haxtun Sewage Ponds on the drive to Holyoke.  Two Pectoral Sandpipers walked around.  Yesterday's reported two Short-billed Dowitchers were not found.  Considering the high winds, they probably somewhere up in Sedgwick County by now.

Holyoke Cemetery was the best spot today.  In spite of the winds, I found a Black-throated Green Warbler, four Baltimore Orioles and previously reported Philadelphia Vireo.  Although, the Philadelphia Vireo took awhile to id.

Nearby Holyoke Fishing Pond added another Baltimore Oriole to my day list.  Not much else other than an Eastern Kingbird was around.

The majority of my day was spent searching for sparrows at Frenchman Creek Wildlife Area.  Unfortunately, the area is quite dry again this year.  In raining years, the pond with attract shorebirds and perhaps entices uncommon sparrows to stop by during their southern migration.

In three-four hours, I found only one Field Sparrow.  The highlight however was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo hidden in one of the taller cottonwoods at the southwestern edge of the property.

The highlight of my day however was a visit to a friend's home.  She had a Ruby-throated Hummingbird visiting her yard for the past four days.  We only sat in her kitchen for about 15 minutes before the young male came to her feeders.  A beautiful subadult male.

Back on 8/14, another friend showed Terry Michaels and me a Ruby-throated Hummingbird at her feeders.  I could not decide if it was the same bird.  The two yards are only half a mile apart as the crow or hummingbird flies.

If they were the same hummingbird, today's bird had gained reddish spots on its throat since 8/14?  Perhaps the August Ruby-throated Hummingbird was a female.  Terry and I thought so, but were not positive.

With the high winds (14mph, gusts to 28 mph) picking up after sunset, I gave up on any owling.

Jackson Reservoir & Prewitt Reservoir

August 31, 2016  (part 2)

Richard Stevens:

A brief stop at the Jackson Reservoir Campgrounds found a Cassin's Vireo (Pelican Campsites) and a Long-eared Owl.  Birding was slow and I continued northeast up I76.

I enjoyed the afternoon and evening walking around Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick Counties).

Eventually I found the Western Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull off the Campgrounds.

Other birds relocated included 12 Semipalmated Plovers, 2 Pectoral Sandpipers, 2 Yellow-billed Cuckoos, an Eastern Phoebe, Great Crested Flycatcher, Olive-sided Flycatcher, American Redstart, Dickcissel (along entrance road), and Brown Thrasher.

Highlight was a beautiful male Blackburnian Warbler below the dam.

After dark, I continued my walk and relocated Eastern Screech-Owls below the dam and at the inlet area.

Dove hunting season starts tomorrow.  Many hunters will be around with shotguns.  Beware!