Thursday, April 13, 2017

Trip to Weld County

April 12, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I enjoyed the beautiful spring day with a drive around Pawnee National Grasslands and area (Weld County).  Temperatures reached 80 degrees today.  Winds were 7-8 mph with gusts to 26 mph.

A couple of Mountain Bluebirds were around the Washington Work Center north of Crow Valley Campgrounds.  Two Chipping Sparrows fluttered about also.

A Chestnut-collared Longspur was relocated at Murphy's Pasture, not much else was there.  Another Chestnut-collared Longspur was seen along CR 96 near the gate just west of the gravel road heading to Murphy's Pasture.

We drove up the gravel road from the gate and walked around for an hour.  One Mountain Plover was eventually found quite a ways south of CR 96.

Another Mountain Plover was found in a traditional nesting site.  The location will remain unnamed because of nesting behavior.

As we drove north, we passed Norma's Grove (CR 100 east of CR 57).  As expected, nothing uncommon has arrived yet.  If in the area, it is a good spot to find spring migrants.

A Loggerhead Shrike was along CR 108, west of CR 51.  We walked in the field southeast of Highway 85 and CR 114.  A permit maybe required to enter this field (we do have such permit).  Traditionally, Chestnut-collared Longspurs nest here.  Eventually one male Chestnut-collared Longspur was found.

My technique is to walk toward the windmill to the southeast, then return directly north back to CR 114.  Today the Chestnut-collared Longspur was 2/3 the way to the windmill.

We hiked west on the gravel road about a mile north of the USDA Central Plains Experimental Range Office along CR 37.  The trail heads to Owl Creek.  In the past Short-eared Owls have been observed along the Creek.  Today we only found a pair of Great Horned Owls (north of where the trail intersects with the Creek).

Afterwards we continued back to Wellington Wildlife Area.  After obtaining permission (access rules confusing), we walked along the windbreak.  One Long-eared Owl was found.

We waited/stayed until dusk.  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening. 

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