Sunday, May 21, 2017

A Day at Castlewood Canyon

May 15, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures reached the high 70s today.  By afternoon, winds were 16-17 mph with gusts to 23 mph.

I arrived at Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas County) around 5:00 am and left at 4:00 pm.  The day of hiking was quite enjoyable.

No Northern Saw-whet Owls were found today.  I eventually hiked the Homestead Trail and Creek Bottom Trail to the broken Dam.  From there I turned east and hiked the Inner Canyon Trail to the Canyon View Nature Trail to Hwy 83.

On the return trip, I walked to the northern end of the Rimrock Trail but had to return the same route.  There was no way down to Cherry Creek from the Rimrock Trail.  I had never been on this trail before.  It was interesting but not worth a birding hike.

I returned to Homestead site by way of Castlewood Canyon Road.  Mostly took this route to explore additional habitats.

Highlights were an Ovenbird and Least Flycatcher along the Creek Bottom Trail.

My bird list was 68 species (usually I do not count total species; perhaps I will do so in the future):

Canada Goose, Wood Duck - pair, Mallard - pair, Double-crested Cormorant - (flyover), Bald Eagle - (flyover), Sharp-shinned Hawk, Cooper's Hawk, Northern Goshawk, Red-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Ring-billed Gull , Rock Dove, Mourning Dove, Eurasian Collared-Dove , Common Nighthawk - 1, Black-chinned Hummingbird - (male), Broad-tailed Hummingbird - (male), Downy Woodpecker, Hairy Woodpecker, Northern Flicker, Least Flycatcher, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Loggerhead Shrike, Plumbeous Vireo, Western Scrub-Jay, Black-billed Magpie, American Crow, Chihuahuan Raven, Horned Lark, Tree Swallow, Cliff Swallow, Barn Swallow, Black-capped Chickadee, Mountain Chickadee, Red-breasted Nuthatch, White-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, Canyon Wren, House Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Mountain Bluebird, Hermit Thrush, American Robin, European Starling, Orange-crowned Warbler, Virginia's Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Ovenbird, Western Tanager, Spotted Towhee, Chipping Sparrow, Brewer's Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Lark Sparrow, Song Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, Dark-eyed Junco, Red-winged Blackbird, Western Meadowlark, Brewer's Blackbird, Common Grackle, Bullock's Oriole, Pine Grosbeak, House Finch, American Goldfinch, House Sparrow

Afterwards I drove down to the Winkler Ranch and found Mountain Bluebirds, Western Bluebirds, Wild Turkeys and two male Bobolink.  A Grasshopper Sparrow stopped on a fence post while I was trying to listen for Dickcissel.

Misses: any owls, uncommon warblers such as Prairie Warbler (summered in June 2008).

At 4:30, I parked at Hwy 86 and Castlewood Canyon Road and walked under the hwy 86 bridge.  I turned around at the large cottonwood grove about 1/2 miles north of the bridge.

Nothing uncommon was encountered.  The Great Horned Owl nest was empty.  Was she successful in raising a family or just abandoned the nest, do not know?

On the way back to my car, I observed an Eastern Phoebe in the dark barked cottonwood just south of the hwy 86 bridge.

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