Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Eastern Colorado & Christmas Counts

December 28, 2016 to January 1, 2017

Terry Michaels.................

Richard Stevens has been waiting for me to compile our recent Christmas Counts and trips.  Full lists in January 2017 "Colorado Field Notes"

December 28

Five of us headed to Cottonwood Canyon in Baca County for tomorrow's Christmas Count.  Our route was I70 to Hwy 71 south to Hwy 50 to Lamar, then south to Springfield.

Stops: Lamar Community College in Prowers County
We found a pair of Northern Cardinals at the southern end of the college woods.  A male Red-bellied Woodpecker was at the northern end.

Two Buttes Reservoir in Baca County
We wondered if the report of ten Winter Wrens was a topo.  We did find one Winter Wren below the dam.  A Barn Owl was well hidden in the red rocky cliffs.

December 29

The five of six feeder watchers and us conducted the thirteenth Cottonwood Canyon Christmas Count.

We ended up with 61 species: highlights
Greater Roadrunner (6)
Western Screech-Owl (6)
Long-eared Owl (1)
Short-eared Owl (1)
Northern Saw-whet Owl (2, separate locations)
Lewis's Woodpecker (2, private land)
Steller's Jay (1, unusual location)
Juniper Titmouse (2)
Rock Wren (1, late in year)
Rufous-crowned Sparrow (8, always nice to find here)

December 30

We left Cottonwood Canyon area early and stopped at the Upland Bird Management Area.  A Short-eared Owl flew around east of the parking lot 30 minutes before sunrise.

At Picture Canyon, we walked south to Oklahoma.  Highlights
Northern Mockingbird (40 yards north of Oklahoma)
Rufous-crowned Sparrow (2, just south of parking lot)
Curve-billed Thrasher (1, hillside near gated cave)

We drove the gravel and dirt track just east of the entrance to the old Campo Prairie Chicken lek.  Scoping the hills at 0.3 miles south of Baca county road G, one Lesser Prairie-Chicken was seen walking around!

A stop at Two Buttes Reservoir did not find any Winter Wrens today.  The Barn Owl was still in his cubby hole.  A Greater Roadrunner was above the dam.  We looked in the evergreens for owls.  None were found but a Pine Warbler was a great consolation!

Then the long drive to Burlington, nothing at Lake Sheridan

December 31

We relocated the Greater Prairie-Chickens reported yesterday by Rebecca Laroche south of Yuma County Roads 59 & PP.5!

Five of four feeder watchers and us conducted the CoBus thirteenth Christmas Count.  We ended with 81 species.  Highlights

Greater Prairie-Chicken
Varied Thrush
Northern Cardinal
Eastern Screech-Owl (5)
Northern Saw-whet Owl (private land)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (4, Bonny/Hale, 1 CR 2)
Winter Wren (1, Hale ponds)
Eastern Bluebird (2)
Fox Sparrow (red form, private land)
Harris's Sparrow (2, Hale ponds & CR 2)
Rusty Blackbird (1, private land)
Red Crossbill (2, private land)

On the trip to Wray we stopped at Beecher Island; one White-throated Sparrow

January 1

We drove Yuma county Road 45 an hour before sunrise.  A Short-eared Owl was near CR PP.  A Greater Prairie-Chicken was seen near the CR 45 lek.

Wray Fishing Unit in Yuma County
Northern Cardinal
Barn Owl
Eastern Bluebird
White-throated Sparrow

Thinking about our 2017 list we went back to Bonny Reservoir/Hale; highlights
Varied Thrush (south side of Bonny Reservoir)
Northern Cardinal (wagon wheel)
Eastern Screech-Owl (hale ponds)
Eastern Bluebird (hale)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (2, hale ponds)

Missed Yellow-bellied Sapsucker again that was reported by Loch Kilpatrick below the Bonny Reservoir dam on 12/30.

Nothing rare at Flagler Reservoir in Kit Carson County

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