Friday, December 16, 2016

Search of Spotted Owls In Fremont County

December 12-14, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I headed south for another Spotted Owl search.  Weather was fair most of the time.  We did see snowy flurries one night.

December 12

At first light, we scoped Pueblo Reservoir (Pueblo).  The Great Black-backed Gull and two Lesser Black-backed Gulls were at the south marina.  A Curve-billed Thrasher was running around the marina's southern parking area.

A Red-throated Loon was west of the sailboard launch area.  We saw one Common Loon farther west.

The Red-necked Grebe was off the Fishing Road point when we scoped from there.  No Bonaparte's Gulls or the Pacific Loon could be found.

Great fortune was found at Canon City (Fremont).  It took about thirty minutes to find the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker at the Holy Cross Abbey.

Then we turned south and scoped Valco Ponds from MacKenzie Road.  The male Eurasian Wigeon and 24+ Greater White-fronted Geese were observed here!

Our next stop was Centennial Park.  The Williamson's Sapsucker was found in less then ten minutes.  Rouse Park and Sells Pond area of the Arkansas Riverwalk added no uncommon birds to our trip list.

Two Rufous-crowned Sparrows cooperated and made themselves known along the hillside above the Tunnel Road trailhead!

After dark we drove up Phantom Canyon (Fremont) in search of our target bird, Spotted Owls; none was found tonight. 

A Northern Saw-whet Owl was found at Oro Juno.  Technique: we sat and played a recording off and on for 45 minutes.  Every 15 minutes we would hit the area with a spotlight.  The third time was successful.  Northern Saw-whet Owls do winter in various locations in Colorado!

December 13

After spending a short night in Buena Vista (Chaffee), we birded around town.  Two Lewis's Woodpeckers were relocated along North Pleasant Avenue, north of Brookdale.

Misses: the resident Western Screech-Owl was not relocated and no Pinyon Jays were around Ice Lake or the Buena Vista Overlook.

Six Barrow's Goldeneyes were on Sands Lake Wildlife Area; however, the Long-tailed Duck was unfortunately not found by us.

After dark, we set up our chairs in the BLM Land north of the Overlook.  Two Northern Saw-whet Owls came by this night.

December 14

We spent the night in Salida (Chaffee) and checked several birding spots after a late morning.  Nothing uncommon was found.

A detour up to the Monarch rest area (Chaffee) along Hwy 50, found two American Three-toed Woodpeckers and a flock of eight Gray-crowned Rosy Finches!

We returned to Phantom Canyon (Fremont) at dusk.  Again, no Spotted Owls were found.

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