Sunday, February 12, 2017

Back in the Jackson County Mountains

February 8-10, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca & I headed back into the Jackson County mountains for a few days.  It snowed mostly at night; there was little accumulation on the "warm" roads.

February 8

Shortly before midnight (2/7) we heard a Boreal Owl at the western end of the upper parking area for Joe Wright Reservoir.  Winds were surprisingly calm (less than 4 mph).

Two additional Boreal Owls were heard just west of the Cameron Pass Summit (now after Midnight).

We slept late into the morning missing any chance at finding Greater Sage-Grouse walking to their leks.

The resident American Three-toed Woodpecker north of the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center was not found this morning.  No Rosy Finches were seen at the feeders (we stopped three times during the day).

We enjoyed a slow snow shoeing trip in the Colorado State Forest.  Traveled to a friend's ranch in the afternoon where 200 Rosy Finches (3 species) also visited.

No Boreal Owls called around the Ranger Lakes area this night.

February 9

A Boreal Owl was heard calling about an hour before sunrise at the Crags Campgrounds (and no, we do not camp there, preferring a warm cabin instead).

Our early rising allowed us to drive Jackson County Roads 26+.  Unfortunately, no Greater Sage-Grouse could be found.  We did not confirm any lek visits yet this year.

The resident male American Three-toed Woodpecker was heard drumming north of the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center (north of hwy 14).

Today we cross-country skied in the Colorado State Forest.  More territory can be covered than when we are on snowshoes.

It was a beautiful day to be in the mountains.  Partly cloudy skies, temperatures cool enough to allow getting hot and sweaty.

We traveled up Gould road, found no Rosy Finches or Boreal Owl (after dark), returned early in the evening for us to a warm cabin.

February 10, 2017

Rose early and continued our drive around Jackson County Roads west of Coalmont in search of Greater Sage-Grouse.  This morning we found four Greater Sage-Grouse walking to the same area.  Perhaps we discovered a "new lek".  Future trips may uncover the mystery.  The birds were not displaying however.

We returned to Denver by way of Pawnee National Grasslands (Weld) and Crow Valley Campgrounds.  Nothing uncommon was added to our trip list.

Later I walked to the western side of the dam from the parking area north of the boat storage areas.  The White-winged Scoter was below the northern side of the dam today!

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