Thursday, June 29, 2017

CoBus Western Slope Bird Breeding Surveys

June 21 to 27, 2017

Amy Davenport:

June 21

The CoBus group started on its month long bird breeding surveys on the western slope.  Birder numbers are down this year to six in two vehicles. 

I do not have statistics on temperatures and wind speeds.  They will have to add them later.  I will summarize the trips from phone calls and text messages as they are going. Participants may vary as the trek goes on; the list includes Richard Stevens, Terry Michaels, Jacob Washburn, Ray Simmons, Dave King and Bill Marks. 

They are recording many "common species" along the trip.  I will not list all of them now, only what we consider uncommon birds.

They departed Denver in the afternoon and went owling in Teller County.  Only one Northern Pygmy-Owl and one Boreal Owl were encountered this night.

June 22

Early in the morning, Richard Stevens and Terry Michaels drove up to the Manitou Experimental Forest.  Highlights included two Flammulated Owls and one Northern Pygmy-Owl.

After the rest of the group woke, they stopped at Mueller State Park, Teller County.  A pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers and an American Three-toed Woodpecker was relocated.

They found an additional Williamson's Sapsucker at the Florissant Fossil Beds.  Spinney Mountain Reservoir and Eleven Mile Reservoir did not add rare birds to their trip. 

They spent several hours driving the roads north of Spinney Mountain Reservoir and Hwy 24.  Only one Mountain Plover was found.  It was north of hwy 24.  The San Juan Street bird was not relocated.

Four Pinyon Jays flew around Trout Creek Pass, Teller County.

Juniper Titmice and Bushtits flew around the Buena Vista Overlook.  After dark, they found two Northern Saw-whet Owls on the BLM Land north of the overlook.  They had split up, the southern group struck out south of hwy 24.
June 23, 2017

Owling up Cottonwood Pass was not successful.  Group A (rste, tmit) run into a White-tailed Ptarmigan and two Brown-capped Rosy Finches at the top of the Pass. 

Farther down they also encountered two American Three-toed Woodpeckers, four Pine Grosbeaks, Cassin's Finches, eleven Evening Grosbeaks and four Red Crossbills, Chaffee County.

Group B (jwas, rsim, dkin, bmar) found a pair of Purple Martins, an American Three-toed Woodpecker, Pine Grosbeaks and Cassin's Finches on the road to Alpine, Chaffee County.  Four Pinyon Jays flew around Alpine, Chaffee County.

Owling after dark: none; high winds that night

June 24

Group B (jwas, rsim) took hwy 50 west.  They found five American Three-toed Woodpeckers at the Monarch Pass pullover area, Chaffee County.  Two additional American Three-toed Woodpeckers were farther west, Gunnison County.  Two Brown-capped Rosy Finches flew around the Ski Area, Chaffee County.

Group A (rste, tmit, dkin, bmar) drove over Marshall Pass.  Recommend a 4-wheel drive for this trip.  They encountered in Chaffee County four American Three-toed Woodpeckers, two pairs of Williamson's Sapsuckers, Olive-sided Flycatchers, Plumbeous Vireos, two Purple Martins and ten Red Crossbills.

A Northern Saw-whet Owl was relocated at O'Haver Lake, Chaffee County.  Owling stops were done by previous year's gps waypoints.  They found Flammulated Owls (5) over two locations.

Where the road drops into Saguache County they found two American Three-toed Woodpeckers another Purple Martin and several Williamson's Sapsuckers.

Two Flammulated Owls were found before Marshall Pass enters Gunnison County.

Group B did not have the same luck; they found no owls while stopping many times along hwy 50 in Gunnison County.

June 25

Before sunset, Group A (rste, tmit, dkin, bmar) drove down Gunnison 38 Road.  They found five Gunnison Sage-Grouse north of CR 38A.  They ran across another Gunnison Sage-Grouse in Saguache County.

Group B (jwas, rsim) found one Gunnison Sage-Grouse crossing 887 Road.  Later they hiked the Neversink Trail.  One Least Flycatcher and two Veery were found. 

They headed to the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park (Montrose).  Four Dusky Grouse were found.  Other birds seen two Fox Sparrows, Evening Grosbeaks, White-throated Swifts, two Pinyon Jays (East Portal Campgrounds), Spotted Towhees, Green-tailed Towhee, Virginia's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, and Prairie Falcon.

Group A went up Quartz Creek roads, Gunnison County.  Dave King and Bill Marks found a White-tailed Ptarmigan and four Pinyon Jays on Cumberland Pass.

While Stevens & Michaels saw several Rufous Hummingbirds at TinCup.  A family of two adult and two young American Three-toed Woodpeckers were found on the road to Mirror Lake.

After sunset, the group was back together and found a Northern Pygmy-Owl near Cumberland Pass.  It was another windy night, which did not help owling attempts.

 June 26

Richard's broken toe prevented long hikes.  Terry and he chose Cimarron Pass Road, Gunnison County. 

On the trip down, they stopped at three ranches where Yellow-billed Cuckoos have been recorded in past years.  They found one at private ranch #1 and heard that one or two were heard at private ranch #3, which they could not find.

At Cimarron Campgrounds they found one Dusky Grouse, briefly heard a Northern Saw-whet Owl.

Six American Three-toed Woodpeckers were eventually found.  Two more were seen at Fish Creek Reservoir.

Highlight at Silver Jack Campgrounds was a Hooded Warbler (four of the last five years now).  Dusky Grouse, American Three-toed Woodpecker, and a pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers added seen here.

Highlights of the day were a White-winged Crossbill at Owl Creek Pass and a Boreal Owl responded to recordings.

Group B (jwas, rsim, dkin, bmar) drove to Schofield Pass.  After several hours, they found a pair of White-tailed Ptarmigan.  Other birds included Pine Grosbeaks, a Williamson's Sapsucker, Fox Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, and a flyby Rufous Hummingbird.

A drive up Kebler Pass added four Purple Martins (two sites), another American Three-toed Woodpecker, a Dusky Grouse and a pair of Williamson's Sapsuckers.  After dark, a Flammulated Owl answered their recordings.

June 27

Group B (jwas, rsim, bmar) drove to Taylor Park Reservoir.  A detour to Roaring Judy Fishing Unit found a Hooded Warbler.  That is uncommon for the area.

Few birds were on Taylor Reservoir.  An American Three-toed Woodpecker and six Band-tailed Pigeons were found at the Lake View Campgrounds across CR 742.

Owling was successful.  Northern Pygmy-Owls (two, 2 Locations), Northern Saw-whet Owl (1 at last year's Location) and Flammulated Owls (2, at different locations).

Group A (tmit, dkin) first drove with Stevens down Gunnison CR 32 and then CR 38.  Three Gunnison Sage-Grouse were again along CR 38 north of 38A

Stevens left the group, which then drove down Hwy 149 with detour on Sapinero Mesa (Gunnison CR 26).

Highlights included a Williamson's Sapsucker and American Three-toed Woodpecker along Sapinero Mesa Road.  A Grace's Warbler along the Cutoff.  Super highlight: a Gunnison Sage-Grouse emerged from ponderosa pines at intersection above.

A Black-throated Gray Warbler was found along the Gateview Plateau.  Six Pinyon Jays were seen at Alpine.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl responded to a recording at Alpine Tunnel trail.   

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