Sunday, October 9, 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.

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