Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Loveland Pass, Summit County, Barr Lake & DIA Owl Loop

February 13, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Florida birders, Nora & Greg Woodford and I scoped the mountains at Loveland Pass (Clear Creek) early this morning.  Eventually two White-tailed Ptarmigan were found below the western side of the Summit.

NOTE: These birds could not be seen from the trail above.  We had to walk the western side, pass the wooden fence and continue to where the trail bends to the west (after going south).  We looked back below the wooden fence and found two birds!

Later we visited a friend's home in Summit County.  Three species of Rosy Finches, Mountain Chickadees, Pygmy & White-breasted Nuthatches, Pine Siskins, Downy & Hairy Woodpeckers, Clark's Nutcrackers and Evening Grosbeaks were added to our trip list!

Later we detoured over to the Blue River Water Treatment Plant (Summit) and found only two Barrow's Goldeneyes swimming around the small pond that never freezes.

After dropping my friends off at their hotel, I needed to stretch my legs.  I walked from mile 1.0 to 0.0/9.0 to 7.5 at Barr Lake (Adams) searching for the Rusty Blackbirds that have been reported several times.  Then I walked below the dam from mile 6 to 7.  I did not find the Rusty Blackbirds.

The temperature was 46 degrees; however, winds were calm to 2 mph!  I did relocate one of the Barn Owls and two Long-eared Owls!

After driving the DIA Owl Loop just before sunset, I parked along the shoulder of 88th avenue, just west of the For Sale Sign, east of the Landfill & 470 Toll Road.

 A Short-eared Owl flew for about 10 minutes over the field below the road to the south and just north of Pena Blvd.  Later it was pointed out that Holden Maxfield had reported a Short-eared Owl yesterday, perhaps in the same area.

The field had some nice habitat for Short-eared Owl roosting and nesting.  Several culverts, a small grove of trees and several dirt mounds appear to be a good place for Short-eared Owls to live and hunt.

Before the 90s, this area was one of the better locations to find Short-eared Owls in the metro area.  The landscape has changed much since then; still we have found nesting Short-eared Owls in two of the past six years in the area.

Now no longer acceptable habitat, Upland Sandpipers in season were also common in this area.

No comments: