Sunday, May 21, 2017

Southeastern Trip for Migrants

May 16-17, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I headed southeast to explore Colorado's spring migration and do some owling.  A snowstorm hit Colorado in the middle of our trip, delaying our projected return.

May 16
Our trek started eastward along I70 and then turned south.  We again searched for the Lesser Nighthawk (possible first Kit Carson County record) at Flagler Reservoir; without success.  Far lesser consolation sightings included a Northern Waterthrush and Black-headed Grosbeak.  We missed the Eastern Towhee reported May 19, perhaps not yet around today.

We also missed the Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Painted Bunting reported a few days earlier at Kit Carson (Cheyenne).  Only a Black-and-white Warbler could be found by us (near school and site of Painted Bunting 5/12).

In the Arriba area (Lincoln), we relocated a Mountain Plover along County Road 3F, west of CR 43.

Our target bird for the day was the Black-throated Sparrow at Setchfield Wildlife Area (first Bent County record to be).

We spent the night camping at the Picture Canyon parking area (Baca)

May 17
A hike down Picture Canyon and North Canyon found the two Painted Buntings, an Eastern Phoebe, two Northern Mockingbirds and two Rufous-crowned Sparrows.  The Vermilion Flycatcher that was reported to us four days ago in North Canyon was not found.  Greater Roadrunners were seen at the entrance to Picture Canyon on our way out.

Nothing uncommon could be found at the Upland Bird Management Area (Baca).

Cassin's and Western Kingbirds have returned to Cottonwood Canyon and Furnish Canyon (Baca).  Inclement weather cut our birding short today.

May 18
We did manage to find the male Vermilion Flycatcher in Furnish Canyon (Baca) today.  Other sightings in Furnish Canyon included a Gray Flycatcher and more surprising a Great Crested Flycatcher.  Owling after dark included two Western Screech-Owls and two Northern Saw-whet Owls. 

May 19
We were up early and added two Northern Saw-whet Owls and three Western Screech-Owls (captured on our "owl listening stations") at a private ranch in Las Animas County.  Another pair of Eastern Phoebes and eight Cassin's Kingbirds were also around.  The highlight was definitely a male Hepatic Tanager inspecting a ponderosa pine tree.

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