Saturday, January 7, 2017

Trip Into the Colorado Mountains (adding to our 2017 Bird Lists)

January 6, 2017

Richard Stevens:

After staying home during yesterday's snowstorm, I had to get out of the house.  I met Terry Michaels on the west side of Denver and headed into the mountains.

Along the way, I stopped at Box Elder Creek where it crosses Weld County Road 4.  No Rusty Blackbirds were just north of CR 4 where they were on 1/4.  Noticing a bird quite a ways up the creek, I got out my scope.  It was a male Rusty Blackbird.  No additional birds flew up from the creek during my stay.

Terry & I drove up to Loveland Pass.  It was a sunny day with little wind (unusual for the Pass).  Unfortunately, we could not find any White-tailed Ptarmigan.

Then, we drove into Silverthorne.  A quick detour to the southwestern Lake Dillon inlet found no Purple Sandpiper (had not been reported since 12/31).

A visit to a friend's home added some nice mountain species to our 2017 bird checklists.  We observed three species of Rosy Finches, Mountain & Black-capped Chickadees, Pine Siskins, Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers, three species of Nuthatches, Evening and Pine Grosbeaks!

The highlight was an American Three-toed Woodpecker drumming a few houses away!  Although, seeing three species of Rosy Finches is always a highlight!

We returned to Loveland Pass in the afternoon, again missing Ptarmigan at the usual locations.  Then just as the sun disappeared behind the mountains, two White-tailed Ptarmigan flew down from the high western trail and landed fifteen feet from the wooden fence west of Highway 6!

It was a great ending to a superb birding day!

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