Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Seven Day Gallinaceous Bird Trip in Three Days

 March 12-14, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Three of us just completed my seven day grouse trip in three days.  Lots of driving (the first day 800+ miles).  We did not have much time for detours or passerine birds.

March 12

We sat at the Yuma County Road 45 lek at sunrise.  Three Greater Prairie-Chickens eventually visited the lek!  The previous hour was spent looking for Short-eared Owls and Northern Bobwhite along CR 45 & CR PP; without success.

A brief visit to Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area (Yuma) found an Eastern Screech-Owl, two Red-bellied Woodpeckers and eight Eastern Bluebirds at Hale Ponds and a Northern Cardinal at Wagon Wheel.

Two Lesser Prairie-Chickens were found on private land in Baca County.  Our birding day ended with two Western Screech-Owls calling at Cottonwood Canyon (Baca).

March 13

We started our birding day with a drive down Gunnison County Road 887.  Two Gunnison Sage-Grouse were spotted north of the old Waunita Hot Springs lek.

A male Dusky Grouse was found at the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park (Montrose).  He was between the south rim and campgrounds entrance road.

A detour to Fruitgrower's Reservoir (Delta) added a Lewis's Woodpecker to our trip list.  No Black Phoebes were found in Escalante Canyon. 

Gambel's Quail and Pinyon Jays were observed near the southern entrance to the Colorado National Monument.  We had to skip the search for Sagebrush Sparrows up Baxter Pass Road (Mesa) and continued to Coal Canyon (Mesa).

A calling Chukar was found up the hill southwest of the parking area at the second pipe gate in Coal Canyon.

We then headed up the Grand Mesa (Mesa).  Two Boreal Owls (one heard, one seen) were found at pullovers south of Spruce Grove Campgrounds.  On our return toward Craig, a Northern Pygmy-Owl was found at the Powderhorn Ski Area!  The weather cooperated too; snowstorms can crop up this time of year.

March 14

We started our birding day at the Twenty Road Leks south of Hayden (Routt).  Eventually five Sharp-tailed Grouse flew from the east and visited the leks on the west side of Twenty seven Road.

Our group detoured west at Craig and visited the Oxbow State Trust Lands.  Two Sagebrush Sparrows and two Sage Thrashers were observed from the parking area!

On the way to Jackson County, we stopped for a quick bite in Steamboat Springs.  No Bohemian Waxwings were found at last month's reported locations.

A stop at the maintenance road on Rabbit Ears Pass (Grand) found a female American Three-toed Woodpecker on one of the telephone poles.  The only crossbills encountered were Red Crossbills.

A dusk, we watched four Greater Sage-Grouse visit the Jackson County Road 26b lek.

On the return to Denver, we stopped at three spots near Cameron Pass.  Two Boreal Owls were found just west of the summit.

We were quite fortunate to enjoy our success with only a three day trip.  It required finding Dusky Grouse during the day (traditionally we have to wait until sunset).  Having an Eastern Screech-Owl exit its tree during the day was nice also.

1 comment:

Jared Kidder said...

Wow! What an exciting and productive trip.