Saturday, October 29, 2016

Return to Gilpin County and Aurora Reservoir

October 28, 2016

Richard Stevens:

After Terry Michaels and I went owling near Rollinsville (Gilpin), I headed to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  We found another two Northern Saw-whet Owls along Highway 119 (two were found at different locations on 10/27). 

I have not time to check the three "owl listening stations" we placed along Hwy 119.  Perhaps additional Northern Saw-whet Owls or a Northern Pygmy-Owl may be added to the list.

On the way home, I stopped at Barr Lake (Adams).  The Red-throated Loon was again off the boat ramp.

Several birders relocated the Common Loon at Aurora Reservoir Friday morning.  With no report of the scoters, I decided to see if they were still around.  Today, I hiked in from the most southeastern gate (the one by the Club House).

A White-winged Scoter and Surf Scoter were at the entrance to Senac Cove at Mile 2.0  Eventually, they swam to the southern end of the cove (near the old rookery, now just a roost).

Later I found a second White-winged Scoter at the mouth of the Lone Tree Cove at mile 3.0.  Photos of all are now on the Colorado Birding Society's Photo Library:

None of the scoters was visible from the swim beach parking area.  The hike was 0.5 miles to Senac Cove and another 1.0 miles to Lone Tree Cove.

On the way back, I walked along the cattail marshes on the east and west sides of Senac Cove.  A Swamp Sparrow responded to a recording.  The sparrow was about halfway between the south and north ends.

The Common Loon was swimming along the shore at mile 4.5.  Most of the gulls were in the center of the lake and too far away to ID.

In the afternoon, I wandered around Elbert County at two locations where Short-eared Owls have been found in the past.  None was seen today.

Gilpin Owling and Arapahoe County Reservoirs

October 27, 2016

Richard Stevens:

After some owling in Gilpin County, I passed by Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  The two Pacific Loons were in the southeast corner of the lake. 

NOTE:  Glenn Walbek and Mark Peterson reported two Red-throated Loons on 10/28.  The loons were quite far away and perhaps my ID is/was wrong.  I do have photos and will check them when time allows.  A Common Loon swam off the eastern side of the Lake Loop.

Nothing uncommon was at Quincy Reservoir (Arapahoe).  The majority grebe was Pied-billed Grebes.  Only a couple of Western Grebes swam among many American Coots.

My next stop was Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  The Common Loon was swimming off Lone Tree Cove.  The three scoters swam off Senac Cove, which was a little closer (still far away).

I watched the scoters long enough to see one was a White-winged Scoter, another Surf Scoter and the third left undecided.

Most gulls were quite far away.  A Thayer's Gull did fly by the swim beach parking area.  The majority grebe was hundreds of Western Grebes.  Dozens of Pied-billed Grebes and a few Horned and Eared were also present.

No Burrowing Owls or Short-eared Owls were found along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver) this evening.

We found two Northern Saw-whet Owls in Gilpin County early this morning.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Hike at Barr Lake State Park

October 26, 2016

Richard Stevens:
Email to cobirders listserve:

Terry Michaels and I spent several days on the Eastern Plains.  This week we visited 19 Walk-In-Areas (see Oct 17-20 where we hit 41 Walk-In-Areas). 

Home for a change of clothes and we are off again.  Additional reports will have to wait until this weekend.

I stopped by Barr Lake (Adams County) while waiting for Terry and spent the last two hours before sunset walking around the Visitor's Center side.

Two Black-capped Chickadees, a pair of Downy Woodpeckers and the Magnolia Warbler were in the cottonwood just north of the willows that hang over the main trail at mile 8.9.  It was my impression that the warbler was not banded.

Nothing uncommon was found at the banding station and I hiked to the shore.  A juvenile Sabine's Gulls was observed landing on the shore at mile 8.6.  I was sidetracked by a colorful male White-winged Junco; however did get on nice photos.

Then I walked over trying for a photo and of course, it flew off.  The consolation was the Red-throated Loon was swimming around the cove south of the boat ramp.  He would have been missed except for the unsuccessful Sabine's Gull photo.

I hiked along the northern side of the main trail and relocated the Magnolia Warbler in the same tree as previously.  Watched for 10 seconds or so, then he disappeared high in the cottonwood.

Walking along the shore to the Niedrach Boardwalk trail, I notice a Sabine's Gull (no way to know if it was the same one as mile 7.9 bird as two have been reported).  This time I had better fortune and took many dozens of photos.  Several are posted on the Colorado Birding Society's Photo Library:

Shorebirds found included Baird's Sandpipers, Least Sandpipers, Greater Yellowlegs, Lesser Yellowlegs and many Killdeer.

When I looked over the feeders behind the Visitor's Center, many sparrows were observed flying down to the canal for a drink.  The Harris's Sparrow was one of them (photos on the photo library).

No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver).  No Burrowing Owls were found.  They may be gone for 2016.  I will try at least one additional time before giving up on them.

Walk-In-Areas in Morgan, Washington & Kiowa Counties

October 25-26, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I visited nineteen Walk-In-Areas Tuesday and Wednesday.  Birding was rather slow.  Although, we did find a couple of great birds.  Unfortunately no Sharp-tailed Sparrows or other "ammodramus" sparrows.

Weather was fantastic with temperatures in the 70s; winds 5+ mph.


Walk-In-Area Morgan CR 28/CR BB
Magnolia Warbler and Vesper Sparrow along Beaver Creek

Walk-In-Area Washington CR  29/CR H.25
Swamp Sparrow along Beaver Creek

Walk-In-Area Yuma CR 49/CR D
Sprague's Pipit near North Fork of Smoky Hill River

Cherry Creek State Park

October 24, 2016

Richard Stevens:

While out doing chores, I passed through Cherry Creek State Park (Arapahoe County).  The two Pacific Loons observed yesterday were below the dam today.   They were still too far away for a decent photo.

The Red-necked Grebe and Bonaparte's Gulls I found yesterday were not relocated.  Did run into Frank Farrell and enjoyed conversation and a colorful sunset!

Beautiful fall day and fantastic sunset, then I went back to chores.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Venturing Into Park County

October 22-23, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I enjoyed a tremendously successful trip into Park County.  Winds varied from mild 3 mph to quite gusty 20 mph.  Temperatures were in the low 60s with lows down to 30.

October 22

About an hour before sunrise, I walked around Reynolds Park (Jefferson County).  A Northern Pygmy-Owl briefly gave a contact call along the Songbird Trail though it was never observed.  I did not take the time to hike up the trails today.

I was excited to get to the Park County Reservoirs.  The front edge of migration was expected up there and proved to be true.  Although a brief stop at Kenosha Pass (Park), did find an American Three-toed Woodpecker at the northern end of the Campgrounds.

Eleven Mile Reservoir beat out Spinney Mountain Reservoir as the best location this trip.  A rare Red Phalarope was the highlight of many this trip.  Other interesting sightings included a Black Scoter, Common Loon and Bonaparte's Gull!

Nearby Spinney Mountain Reservoir was just as interesting.  It added two Surf Scoters, two Black Scoters, a Common Loon and four Brown-capped Rosy Finches to my trip list!  The Rosy Finches did not land; however, they circled overhead for over an hour.

Four previously "busy" owl locations were surveyed after sunset.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl was found along Michigan Creek Road (near the old/traditional) American Three-toed Woodpecker spot, which is where I spent the night.

October 23

I hiked around the Michigan Creek Three-toed Woodpecker spot and heard the distinctive drumming of a male.  With a little patience, I was able to obtain good looks at the bird.

The second day of my trip ended with a great stop at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  I scoped the lake from below the dam and then the Lake Loop.  Western Grebes were the majority birds east of the dam.

The eastern end of the lake (from Lake Loop) proved quite interesting.  Two Pacific Loons were actively diving off the northeastern boat ramp.  While trying to digiscope them a Red-necked Grebe came into the picture.

Two Surf Scoters swam around the southeastern corner.  A dozen Ruddy Ducks and dozens of American Coots made it difficult to keep track of them.

From the northwestern end of the Lake Loop, I was able to find a Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Bonaparte's Gulls among hundreds of Ring-billed and dozens of California Gulls.  At least one Herring Gull was also out there.

It was not possible to count all the birds on the lake in the two hours of light allotted before the setting sun.

It was a fantastic couple of days!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Foothills to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area

October 21, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I started birding today about three hours before sunrise but setting up my three "owl listening stations" (see previous posts or "Colorado Field Notes").  Then I hiked several miles in White Ranch Open Space (Jefferson).

A Northern Pygmy-Owl called in respond to a recording.  Later, I lit the area around one of the "owl listening stations" and found a Northern Saw-whet Owl calmly perched in a nearby evergreen.

Shortly after sunset, I visited Mt Falcon Park (Jefferson).  No Northern Pygmy-Owls appeared.  A Dusky Grouse crossed the path to the overlook.

My next stop was Genesee Mountain Park (Jefferson) where a male Williamson's Sapsucker was found west of the flagpole snag at the top of the mountain.  A pair of Red Crossbills, three species of nuthatches and several Pine Siskins were also encountered.

In the afternoon, I walked around Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld).  The previous report of an Eastern Towhee could not be confirmed.  No Long-eared Owls or Barn Owls were found, however a Great Horned Owl called around Pond 11 at dusk.

My main target bird for the day was a Flammulated Owl.  None was found. It was another fantastic fall day.

Red-throated Loon at Barr Lake State Park

October 20, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Our early return to Denver (skipping Friday) turned out well!

In the afternoon, I rushed to Barr Lake (Adams) to see the Red-throated Loon, which had been reported for the past two days.

When I arrived, the Loon was 15 feet off the shore near the boat ramp (see photos on the Colorado Birding Society's photo library:

A Stilt Sandpiper was with half a dozen Killdeer were the only birds on the northern shore (northeastern end of the dam).

Then I returned to the south side and hiked the shore west of the banding station to the Visitor's Center hoping to see the previously reported possible Iceland Gull(s).

No Iceland Gulls, I did relocate one of the previously reported Sabine's Gulls among hundreds of Franklin's Gulls.  Hundreds of Western Grebes made up the majority bird on the lake.

On the way to the Visitor's Center, few passerines were found.  Only two warblers observed.  The first was a Black-and-white Warbler walking along the limbs of the willows that hang over the main trail at mile 8.9. 

An Orange-crowned Warbler was fluttering about high in a nearby willow.  A Hermit Thrush skulked below the same willow.

I was not able to find the previously reported Field Sparrow and Eastern Bluebirds reported yesterday along the Niedrach trail.

The only owl found along the DIA Owl Loop (after sunset) was a Great Horned Owl perched on the northern DIA fence.

Birding Colorado's Eastern Walk-In-Areas

October 17-20, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Over four days, Terry Michaels and I birded Colorado WALK-IN-AREAs on the eastern plains.  Birding was quite slow.  Winds of 12-18 mph, gusts to 31 mph most likely had much to do with our low counts.

Our choice of which of the many Walk-In-Areas to visit was based on cover (wheat, grass, corn, other food plot) and those with a creek running through them.

Access is limited but available for those who follow rules.  To see rules obtain Walk-In-Area Book at Sporting Goods Stores.  Walmart provides books at no charge.  Fee areas that require hunting license AND habitat stamp and small animal tags.

Walk-In-Areas visited:
Morgan County: 8
Logan: 23
Sedgwick: 10

Highlights were few.  A singing Eastern Meadowlark was found on Wednesday, October 19 at the Walk-In-Area (Phillips CR 3/CR 28)

The only Sprague's Pipit of the week was found at Walk-In-Area (Sedgwick CR 26, btw CR 49 & CR 53)

Tired of the wind, we gave up and returned to Denver in early afternoon on Thursday, October 20.

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Barr Lake, Star K Ranch and Coal Creek

October 16, 2016

Richard Stevens:

After finishing too many chores, I went over to Barr Lake (Adams County) to see if I could get a photo of the Black-bellied Plover found yesterday.  Winds today were 10 mph to 19 mph, gusts to 22 mph; temperature reached a nice 84 degrees.

The only shorebirds along the northern side of Barr Lake this afternoon were Killdeer.  Nothing else from the north end of the dam to around mile 5.0 except for Ring-billed Gulls and two California Gulls.

The shorebirds were probably off the Niedrach boardwalk trail; however, I decided to skip the southern shore.

Instead, I drove to Star K Ranch (Adams).  A hike circling the nature area found exactly one Northern Flicker and nine European Starlings.

My next stop was Coal Canyon Regional Greenway (Arapahoe County).  My first year of birding (1972) I visited Coal Creek between Springhill and the Greenway twenty six times. 

It took many trips to realize that the only birds seen were Black-capped Chickadees, Yellow-rumped Warblers and an occasional White-breasted Nuthatch.  Then I quit going there.

Today it provided the highlight of the day and perhaps the fall.  I am not making the sighting public until the bird is gone.  CFO birders do not have a good history of treatment of the bird.  It needs to be left alone.

I did call friends Terry Michaels, Dave King, Jacob Washburn, Ray Simmons, Rebecca Kosten and Sue Ehlmann.  Terry, Rebecca and Sue were able to make it out and witness the bird.  Stay turned, I will talk about the bird in a few days.

Other birds found today included an Eastern Screech-Owl (which would have made a good highlight on its own).

Arapahoe to Adams County

October 15, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I finally made it to the Arapahoe Open Space.  Unfortunately, it took all summer to find someone to give us permission and access to this promising property.  Normally it is closed to the public.

The late season visit was not the best to get a feel for the Open Space.  The highlight was a Nashville Warbler however.  Other birds included a pair of Brown Thrashers (which probably do not spent the winter here), a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and a Golden-crowned Kinglet!

Later we stopped by Barr Lake (Adams) and scoped the lake from the boat ramp, Niedrach Boardwalk and northwest of the dam.  The previously reported Common Loon was not found.

Few uncommon birds were off the boat ramp.  From the Niedrach Trail, we found sixteen Long-billed Dowitchers, one Least Sandpiper, three Baird's Sandpipers and two American Avocets.

A walk northwestern of the dam was the most interesting of the stops.  We observed four Pectoral Sandpipers and a Black-bellied Plover among a couple of American Avocets, Baird's Sandpipers and another Least Sandpiper.

I put photos of several of the Pectoral Sandpipers and a Franklin's Gull on the Colorado Birding Society's photo library (link below).

One Burrowing Owl remains at West Cargo Road and Third Creek (formally the site 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th Avenue, Adams County).  Coming from the south, Tower Road is closed and requires a longer trip along the detour.

No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

Birding Around Denver

October 14, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I visited several locations around Denver today.  The light was strange with partly sunny skies.  Temperatures reached 82 degrees (in October).  Winds were 8 mph with gusts at times to 21 mph.

My first stop was Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas).  I scoped the lake from top of the dam and near the tower.

The adult Pomarine Jaeger stayed mostly in the middle of the lake and off the dam tower.  I did get to see it fly twice providing good views of the barrel chest and underwing pattern.  The Jaeger stayed mostly in Douglas County, however did venture briefly into Jefferson County!

A stop at the swim beach found a Sabine's Gull swimming not far offshore (photo in library).

My next stop was South Platte Park Reservoir (Jefferson/Arapahoe).  The female or juvenile Surf Scoter was right below the Jefferson side of the dam.  It eventually swam into Arapahoe County for both my county lists.  Photos on the Colorado Birding Society's photo library:

Two Common Loons swam near the center of Marston Reservoir (Denver).  A third loon was near the southeastern end.  It was diving during most of my visit.  Only occasionally did it come up for air, not allowing good looks for a proper identification.

One hundred thirteen Ruddy Ducks represented the majority duck on the lake.  A Pied-billed Grebe and a few Western Grebes were also there.

No uncommon ducks were on the Fort Logan National Cemetery ponds.  Only White-cheeked Geese and most of them were probably Canada Geese.

Hundreds of gulls stood on the southwest marina at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  One dark mantled Gull with light eyes appeared to be a Lesser Black-backed Gull.  It contrasted with the lighter mantled and dark eyed California Gulls, which surrounded it.  Photo on recent witness link on Colorado Birding Society's website.

Short Trip to Northeastern Colorado

October 12-13, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I made a short trip to northeastern Colorado in search of Sprague's Pipits, Eastern Meadowlarks and other uncommon birds.

October 12

On the trip northeast, we stopped at Jackson Reservoir (Morgan County).  Two Sabine's Gulls flew along the dam.  A Long-eared Owl was in the western Campgrounds.

A quick stop at Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington) found two White-throated Sparrows among a dozen or so White-crowned Sparrows flying about the entrance road.  Nothing uncommon was around the lake itself.

It was a cold day around Julesburg.  High temperature was 52 degrees; winds were 14 mph, with gusts to 21 mph.  It was not ideal for finding any birds.

A search of historical Sprague's Pipit locations found one along Sedgwick County Road 59 between CR 30 & what would be CR 28.

Historical locations for Eastern Meadowlarks and uncommon sparrows (Baird's, Le Conte's and Sharp tailed) did not turn up any.

A Field Sparrow and Eastern Screech-Owl were found on Roger Danka's property.

October 13

It was warmer today with a high around 71 degrees; anemometer readings were 16 mph with gusts to 22 mph.

Terry and I continued our search for uncommon birds.  None was found today.  Yesterday's Sprague's Pipit could not be relocated.

We spent most of the afternoon at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan).  The highlight was a Blue-headed Vireo near 7 East section.  Other birds encountered included two Northern Cardinals, two Eastern Screech-Owls, three Red-bellied Woodpeckers, one House Wren, and one Western Wood-pewee.

At nearby Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) a Bonaparte's Gull flew into both counties.  Another Red-bellied Woodpecker was in the eastern Campgrounds.

On the way back to Denver, we stopped at Last Chance Rest Stop (Washington).  Nothing uncommon was there today.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Banner Lakes Wildlife Area & Cherry Creek Reservoir

October 11, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I drove out to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld County) this morning.  Eventually we hiked the southern ponds 1-4 and the northern ponds 5=8.

Highlights included a Townsend's Warbler loosely associated with a flock of 8-10 Yellow-rumped Warblers in the western windbreak (west of ponds 4-3).  A Barn Owl was in the same area.

A Spotted Towhee was east of pond 2.  A Gray Catbird between 2 & 1.

No Long-eared Owls were found in the windbreak along Ponds 5 through 8 today.  A Great Horned Owl called from south of pond 11.

Later we met Jerry Petrosky and Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  We scoped the lake for an hour or so.  Nothing uncommon was found.

A Little Owling

October 10, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Too many chores today, birding was quite limited.  Rebecca Kosten and I did stop near Murphy's Creek subdivision (Powhaton Road and Jewell Road) at sunset.

We have seen Barn Owls circle the streetlights at the ranch south of the intersection.  None showed up tonight.

An Eastern Screech-Owl was heard along Coal Creek as we hiked within a half mile of the intersection.

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Chatfield Reservoir to Barr Lake

October 9, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I celebrated the fantastic fall day filled with birding.  Temperatures reached the middle 70s; winds were calm in the afternoon.

Our first stop was South Platte Park Reservoir (Jefferson/Arapahoe Counties) where the Surf Scoter was quickly found swimming off the south side.

We went over to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) to look for shorebirds.  No uncommon shorebirds were found off the southeast marina sand spit or the Platte River delta.  One Sabine's Gull was observed flying north of the heron rookery.

On the drive home, we stopped at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  Nothing uncommon was found.  The previously reported Common Loon was not seen.  The American White Pelican count has risen to 96 birds on Lake Ladora.  Few passerines flew around the Bison enclosure.

To be different at Barr Lake (from our trips to the Visitor's Center side) we walked to the western end off Buckley Road.  Water levels were low, no shore or shorebirds.

Great-tailed Grackles and one Yellow-headed Blackbird were in the cattail marsh off 144th avenue (north side of the town of Barr).

We hiked several hundred yards west of the northern end of the dam.  One Pectoral Sandpiper was among 62 Killdeer.  Four Baird's Sandpipers, a dozen Franklin's Gulls and many Ring-billed Gulls were also counted there.

From the Visitor's Center side of Barr Lake we hiked several hundred yards south of the Niedrach trail.  Another four Pectoral Sandpipers were scattered among 51 Killdeer.

A walk to the banding station found few passerines.  One Barn Owl was north of the banding station.

We drove the DIA Owl Loop about an hour before sunset.  No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.  One Burrowing Owl continues at Third Creek and West Cargo Road (the old prairie dog town 3.4 miles east of 96th avenue and Tower Road).

I had just washed the car, so we did not drive down the gravel Gun Club Road to check on the Burrowing Owls down there.  Yesterday, two Burrowing Owls were still there.

Birding Around Arapahoe County Reservoirs

October 8, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I scoped some Arapahoe County Reservoirs on this superb Colorado fall day.  Winds were 6 mph, gusts to 12 mph; temperatures were in the middle 70s.

We spent two hours at Aurora Reservoir.  The majority of birds were Ring-billed Gulls and American Coots.  A few Western Grebes were mixed in.  Two Sandhill Cranes flew overhead heading south, never stopped.

An hour at Quincy Reservoir found again the majority of birds Ring-billed Gulls and American Coots.  Half a dozen Western Grebes were also seen.

Another two hours at Cherry Creek Reservoir found no uncommon birds.  Ring-billed Gulls, American Coots and American White Pelican were just about it.  One Clark's Grebe was among dozens of Western Grebes.

Two Burrowing Owls continue along Gun Club Road south of 112th avenue.  We are monitoring a "last date" for them in 2016.

Chasing Rare Birds From Larimer to Bent Counties

October 4-7, 2016

Richard Stevens:

October 4

Terry Michaels and I drove up north of Fort Collins (Larimer) to look for the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.  It was in the same location as reported yesterday.  Our plans to drive Pawnee National Grasslands were changed when a text message about a Little Gull at Blue Lake (Bent/Kiowa) was received.

Calculating the remaining hours of daylight, we turned south.  We stopped at Flagler Park (Kit Carson) when we passed through town.  One of the seven recently reported Broad-winged Hawks was still there.

We missed finding the Little Gull at Blue Lake (during the last two hours of daylight).

October 5

We camped at Fort Lyons Wildlife Easement and searched for Swamp Sparrows at sunrise; without success.

A great consolation prize was the Black-throated Green Warbler we found along Bent County Road HH, east of CR 16.

Continuing east, we detoured to Tempel Grove (Bent).  Few passerines were flying around.  One Barn Owl flew out of his cover along the canal (or we would have missed him).

A detour to Two Buttes Reservoir (Baca) was rather interesting.  A Black-throated Gray Warbler, Brown Thrasher, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and another Barn Owl were below the dam.

We arrived at Cottonwood Canyon (Baca) after sunset.  One of the resident Western Screech-Owls called near the camping site at CR 7 & Carrizo Creek.

October 6

Terry and I walked my "usual" route around Cottonwood Canyon (Baca) today.  It is 1.4 miles to the east then back to the camping area, 0.3 mile of the south draw, then 1.0 miles to the west.

Our bird count included a Northern Cardinal up the draw behind the stone house.  A Long-eared Owl and Ladder-backed Woodpecker were up the draw southwest of the stone house.

Two Rufous-crowned Sparrows were on the rocky hill 1.4 miles east of the Campgrounds.

A Ladder-backed Woodpecker was up the draw south of the Campgrounds.  A Bewick's Wren fluttered around the camping area.

The summer resident Eastern Phoebes and Yellow-billed Cuckoos appeared to have left the canyon for 2016.

In the afternoon, we drove to Furnish Canyon to visit a friend.  Nothing uncommon was around his ranch house.  After dark, we attracted a Northern Saw-whet Owl to the "owl listening stations" we sat at.  A Western Screech-Owl was picked up on one of our two unattended stations.

October 7

Terry and I saw a Short-eared Owl hovering over the Upland Bird Management Area (Baca CR D & CR 24) about an hour before sunrise.  A walk through the area did not find any Prairie Chickens or Sharp-tailed Grouse.  We did find a Cassin's Sparrow that seems to be late migrating.

At Picture Canyon, we found a Rufous-crowned Sparrow about 40 yards south of the parking area.  A Curve-billed Thrasher was along the short "cliff" near the old mine.  No other uncommon birds were encountered.

On the trip back to Denver, we scoped both John Martin Reservoir (Bent) and Blue Lake (Bent/Kiowa) for the Little Gull; without success.

Three Hour Walk Around Barr Lake

October 3, 2016

Richard Stevens:

In the afternoon, I chose Barr Lake for a hike to enjoy this beautiful fall day.

Two Townsend's Warblers were along the peninsula north of the banding station. Nothing else uncommon was found.  I again missed the Pectoral Sandpipers that have been reported for days.

Last Trip to Mt Evans 2016

October 2, 2011

Today Terry Michaels and I led eight additional birders (two cars) for our last trip to Mt Evans Byway.  Mt Evans Road has been closed at Summit Lake for a month now.  After today, the road closes at Echo Lake.  It is about a 7 mile hike to Summit Lake from the closure gate.

A walk to the northwest corner of Summit Lake found three Brown-capped Rosy Finches flying overhead.  Several times, they landed on the rocky/grassy hill above us.

Then we split into two groups.  My group found two White-tailed Ptarmigan on the east side of Mt Evans Road at 600 yards from the Summit Lake Parking Area.

As I was calling Terry's group on our radios, Terry called that they had found two Ptarmigan along the east side of Summit Lake.

A walk down the Captain Trail at the Echo Lake Campgrounds added a male American Three-toed Woodpecker to our trip list.

We searched for Pine Grosbeaks around the western and southern sides of Echo Lake.  No Pine Grosbeaks were found; however, a female American Three-toed Woodpecker was along the line of telephone poles 50 yards southwest of Echo Lake.

At least three Barrow's Goldeneyes remained of the eleven that summered on Echo Lake!

After returning to Denver, Terry and I detoured to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  We did not find the Common Loon reported earlier in the day.  An Osprey flew over Lake Ladora.  It dove and was successful in catching a fish for dinner.

Barr Lake and Surrounding Area

October 1, 2016

Rebecca Kosten and I took about three hours to walk from the Barr Lake Visitor's Center to the boat ramp and back (Adams County).

Few birds were observed moving around as we walked along the main road to the boat ramp.  The return trip was more interesting.  Four flocks of more than two Black-capped Chickadees each alerted us to some interesting birds.

The first flock of eight Black-capped Chickadees was accompanied by two Townsend's Warblers, the Philadelphia Vireo, two Yellow-rumped Warblers and three Downy Woodpeckers.  They flew around the tall cottonwood with the short thick willow tree underneath it.  We were on the lakeside of the riparian area where our backs were to the unoccupied Osprey nest platform (about mile 8.2).

We continued toward the Visitor's Center and found another flock of four Black-capped Chickadees, which were accompanied by six Yellow-rumped Warblers.  The surprise was the Magnolia Warbler reported yesterday.  This flock was at the northwest corner of the banding station peninsula.

The third flock of four Black-capped Chickadees and eleven Yellow-rumped Warblers were at the west end of the banding station.

The final flock of six Black-capped Chickadees, nine Yellow-rumped Warblers, one House Wren and one Hermit Thrush were at mile 8.8.  Again, we observed them from the lakeside of the riparian area.

We felt that none of the flocks was observable from the main road/trail.  Many Killdeer were along the water line; we again missed the Pectoral Sandpipers.

We needed to replenish supplies at Walmart (I70 and Tower Road).  A detour was needed because Tower Road is closed between 96 avenue and 88th avenue. 

Our chosen detour was 120th avenue to Imboden Road, south to I70.  We took a detour at 104th avenue, west to Umpire Road, south to 96th avenue, east back to Imboden Road with two stops along Box Elder Creek to enjoy my favorite time of the day (the last two hours of daylight).

We spent about thirty minutes at both stops.  A Red-headed Woodpecker drummed away along Box Elder Creek south of 104th avenue.  Not much else was around, just a couple of White-crowned Sparrows and a Great Horned Owl.

Box Elder Creek at 96th avenue was more interesting.  We hoped to find a second Red-headed Woodpecker, however did not.  Although we thought a Red-headed Woodpecker was heard, never seen.

Instead, a large loose flock of birds around a woodpile not far south of 96th avenue included ten Swainson's Thrushes, two Rock Wrens, six Yellow-rumped Warblers, one Cassin's Vireo, and a Green-tailed Towhee.

One other thrush was quite interesting.  I will post a photo of the bird on the "recent witness photos" link before retiring tonight.  Comments welcomed.

Owling Trip Into the Foothills

September 27-30, 2016

Richard Stevens

September 27

Terry Michaels and I started a couple of days owling trip in the foothills.

On the way we stopped at Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas County) to search for Ovenbirds.  While no Ovenbirds were found, a Cassin's Vireo and Least Flycatcher we discovered during a hike along the Creekside trail.

Our next stop was Rampart Range Road and Highway 67.  A male American Three-toed Woodpecker was along Hwy 67 at 50 yards east of Rampart Range Road.  A male Williamson's Sapsucker was another 60 yards east.

Terry and I met Dave King and Doug Marks and walked both Hwy 67 and Rampart Range road for a mile or so.  Eventually we found two Northern Pygmy-Owls.  We set up our "owl listening stations" and attracted two Northern Saw-whet Owls to them!

Shortly after 2:00 am, we attracted a third Northern Saw-whet Owl while setting up our campsite along Rampart Range Road (Douglas).  Dave and Doug had continued to Michigan Creek Road in Park County.

September 28, 2016

Terry and I hiked several hours in the Manitou Experimental Forest (Teller).  We found three American Three-toed Woodpeckers, two Williamson's Sapsuckers and a flock of 4-5 Band-tailed Pigeons.

At Manitou lake Campgrounds (Teller), we encountered another American Three-toed Woodpecker and a pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers. 

Another American Three-toed Woodpecker was found along Forest Road 782.  Nothing uncommon was found at Manitou Lake itself.

After dark, we set up out "owl listening stations" at the Campgrounds and returned to the Experimental Forest.  Before the night was over, we saw (1) heard another Flammulated Owl and picked up another Northern Saw-whet Owl.

No owls were found along Forest Road 782 (a traditional Flammulated Owl haunt).  A Northern Pygmy-Owl briefly called at the Campgrounds.

September 29, 2016

Terry and I found few birds and nothing uncommon at the three major Park County Reservoirs (Antero, Eleven Mile & Spinney Mountain). 

A walk around Trout Creek Pass (Park) found yet another American Three-toed Woodpecker for our trip list.

Dave King and Doug Marks rejoined us in Buena Vista.  They had a good stay last night at Michigan Creek Road with an American Three-toed Woodpecker sighting, a Dusky Grouse and two Northern Pygmy-Owls (within a mile of the traditional Three-toed Woodpecker camping site).

We found two Lewis's Woodpeckers in Buena Vista, ten Pinyon Jays at Ice Lake and a Long-eared Owl at a Buena Vista private yard.

After dark we set up our "owl listening stations", (see "Colorado Field Notes" for construction details).  Two Northern Saw-whet Owls were attracted to our sit in BLM Land north of the Buena Vista Overlook.

Another Northern Saw-whet Owl came to the "owl listening stations" along Chaffee County Road 315.  Yet another was seen at Chaffee CR 301.

September 30, 2016

After a late start, the four of us searched Chaffee County Road 250 for Grace's Warblers; without success.  We did run into a Black-throated Gray Warbler which probably also nested in the area.

After sunset, we set up our three "owl listening stations".  One Northern Saw-whet Owl came to the station that we attended.  Both of the other two unattended stations each picked up a Northern Pygmy-Owl.

We headed back to Denver to avoid the weekend traffic.

NOTE:  In regard to the attended and unattended "owl listening stations", in our experience migrating Northern Saw-whet Owls will be attracted to the recordings.  However, they almost never make a sound (or at least we have not heard them).

On the other hand, in fall/winter Northern Pygmy-Owls are not continuously vocal, they will however make short contact calls.  These can be picked up by the "owl listening stations".

No telling how many if any Northern Saw-whet Owls are around the unattended "owl listening stations".