Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Morning Drive to Pawnee National Grasslands

July 17, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I could not sleep and drove up to the Pawnee National Grasslands area (Weld) arriving an hour before sunrise.  Eventually the temperatures reached 97 degrees; fortunately, we had left before noon.

Our few highlights included:
Two Mountain Plover along CR 100 west of CR 390
One Chestnut-collared Longspur along CR 96, east of CR 69
One Cassin's Sparrow also along CR 96, east of CR 69
Several Burrowing Owls were along CR 100, west of CR 390

We also relocated Burrowing Owls at Beebe Draw Ponds.

Overall, it was an uneventful day; we did enjoy the drive in the cool morning.

Trip to First Creek and Rocky Mountain Arsenal

July 16, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I went for a drive to Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) in the afternoon.  On the way, we stopped at the First Creek Trail (Denver).  At least three Blue Grosbeaks were east of the Light Rail Overpass and Horse Corrals.

The Barn Owls have now left their nest.  More of the story in Augusts' "Colorado Field Notes"   At least three of the Barn Owls were still in the neighborhood.

At Rocky Mountain Arsenal as we drove the Wildlife Drive, a juvenile Red-headed Woodpecker flew from the entrance road to Lower Derby Lake to the cottonwoods on the south side of the road.

At least eight Bullock's Orioles were flying around the grove of dead trees east of Lower Derby Lake.  Dozens of Cliff Swallows flew into the underpass where Eastern Phoebes nested near Potomac and 2nd Creek.

Quite a few juvenile Eastern Kingbirds and Western Kingbirds were observed on the drive.  When we reached the only bridge inside the enclosed section of the Wildlife Drive, an Eastern Phoebe stood on the bridge.

We had not seen an Eastern Phoebe during our several dozen visits this year.  I do not remember any previous reports here and cannot determine if Eastern Phoebes nested at this location this summer.

When I stopped, we saw no other cars.  However, before I could get a photo a ranger popped up from somewhere and scolded me (us) for stopping on the bridge.

At least one Burrowing Owl was south of the road near mile 5.  Another was near mile 8.  Just before exiting the enclosed section, we saw a Cassin's Kingbird on the fence at the gate without a cattle guard.  The gate is several hundred yards into the closed section; unfortunately, it is a one way drive here (nine mile drive to get to this gate).

Two Swainson's Hawks perched in a dead cottonwood south of the Visitor's Center.

Burrowing Owls can still be seen along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver) at W. Cargo Road & Third Creek, Gun Club Road south of 112th avenue and Trussville Road and 114th avenue.

Friday, July 14, 2017

CoBus Western Slope Breeding Survey (cont)

Rest of July 12, 2017

Group B (dkin, bmar, rkos, sehl) searched for Yellow-billed Cuckoos along the Gunnison River.  They started in Paonia and worked their way back to Delta.  None was recorded today.  They ran into a Rufous Hummingbird in Paonia and a Calliope Hummingbird in Hotchkiss.

Group A thought they saw a Scott's Oriole on the west side of Hwy 65 at Orchard City.  Both Groups went back later and searched unsuccessfully for over an hour.

Late in the afternoon, they found a Chukar near Currant Creek and M 50 Drive, Delta County.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Western Slope Surveys Continue

July 10-12, 2017

The CoBus western slope breeding survey continues:

July 10

They split into two groups today.

Group A (rste, tmit, dkin, bmar) birded north of Grand Junction.  They missed their target bird, Scott's Oriole at several traditional locations.  No Chukar or Black Phoebes were found at Horsethief Canyon Wildlife Area.

Two Sagebrush Sparrows and a Long-eared Owl were relocated at Brewster's Ridge.  Late in the day, they found a Northern Saw-whet Owl and three Flammulated Owls at Douglas Pass.

Group B (rkos, sehl, jwas, rsim) went to the Colorado National Monument.  Black-throated Sparrows and two Gray Vireos were at the Devil's Kitchen area.  No Black-chinned Sparrows were reported this year.

A Cassin's Kingbird was found in the Glade Area.  The Campgrounds area added Black-throated Gray Warblers, Juniper Titmice, White-throated Swifts, Pinyon Jays and a Gray Flycatcher.

July 11

Group A (rste, tmit, jwas, rsim, dkin, bmar) started at Coal Canyon, Mesa County.  They found five Chukar on the hill south of the pipe gate at the main parking lot.  At least six Black-throated Sparrows were around the parking lot.  Farther west, they saw two Sagebrush Sparrows. 

On the way to the Grand Mesa, they relocated the Least Flycatcher at Collbran. 

Group B (rkos, sehl)

The groups joined and search much of the night in search Owls.  They found an American Three-toed Woodpecker at Powderhorn Ski Area.  Owl count in Mesa County was two Northern Saw-whet Owls, two Northern Pygmy-Owls and seven Boreal Owls.

In Delta County, owl count was just four Boreal Owls.

July 12

Group A (rste, tmit, jwas, rsim) stayed on the Grand Mesa, Delta County section.

A Northern Goshawk flew up Y35 Drive (near Visitor's Center).  An American Three-toed Woodpecker was farther up the road.

Two Purple Martins were seen flying around Little Bear Campgrounds.

Along Highway 65, east of the Visitor's Center 0.7 miles they saw a pair of White-winged Crossbills.  Before dropping down off the Grand Mesa they counted three Dusky Grouse.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Trip to Mt. Evans

Hello cobirders,

Here's a current and close to Denver report..............

New Colorado birder Tom Jenkins has been birding many of the Denver and foothills loops recently.

Today he went up to Mt. Evans, Clear Creek County.

A Echo Lake they found one Barrow's Goldeneye and an American Three-toed Woodpecker along the telephone poles on the west side of the lake.

They found three Brown-capped Rosy Finches circling the northwest corner of Summit Lake.  A walk east of the Summit Lake parking lot eventually found two White-tailed Ptarmigan.  The birds were about 300 yards from the Mt. Evans Road.

Many American Pipits flew along the road to the top of Mt. Evans.

On the way down, they found another American Three-toed Woodpecker at the Campgrounds.  A pair of Pine Grosbeaks were near the research center.

Good Birding!

Amy Davenport

CoBus Western Slope Breeding Surveys continued

I have been very busy and slack on updating the CoBus Western Slope Breeding Survey.  Hope to catch up and stay current now.

July 1 to July 9, 2017

July 1
Group A (tmit, jwas, rsim, dkin, bmar) spent the night in Ouray.  Owling had been unsuccessful last night. 

In the morning a trip north to Billy Creek relocated the Black Phoebe at the bridge.  Heading south, they found four Black Swifts at the Box Canyon Falls. 

Several stops were made on the trip to Durango.  A pair of Purple Martins, American Three-toed Woodpecker, two Williamson's Sapsuckers, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Cassin's Finches and four Red Crossbills were found at Coal Bank Pass, San Juan County.

An Osprey was seen at Molas Lake, San Juan County.  They found a White-tailed Ptarmigan on the hike to Little Molas Lake.  A Bufflehead and Eared Grebe were on the lake.

Entering La Plata County, they found a Dusky Grouse at the Purgatory Ski Area. 

Forest Road 578 (Bolam Pass Road) goes to Sig Creek Campgrounds, which is actually back in San Juan County.  They found a Boreal Owl near the unnamed lake at the Pass summit.

Group B (rste, rkos, sehl) went to Forest Road 773 in Archuleta County.  It is the site of the 6/19/1999 Mexican Whip-Poor-will record.  Additional sightings were in 6/16/2007 & 7/5/2011 (behl, sehl). 

They wandered around until dusk heard no Poorwills.  No owls were found either.  Their best bird was a Grace's Warbler.  Red-naped Sapsuckers and a Virginia's Warbler were also in the area.

July 2

All the CoBus Groups went to Yellow Jacket Canyon (Montezuma) today.  Then they continued into Utah.

Highlights at Yellow Jacket Canyon included two Lucy's Warblers, three Black-throated Sparrows, Gambel's Quail, Plumbeous Vireo and Gray Flycatcher.

No owls were found on their day today.

July 3

Group A (jwas, rsim, dkin, bmar)  visited Narraguinnep Reservoir, Montezuma County. Highlight was a Black Phoebe.  They found another Black Phoebe and a flyover Purple Martin at McPhee Reservoir.

A Lewis's Woodpecker was relocated in Dolores.  Owl count was zero.

Group B (rste, tmit, rkos, sehl) went up Hwy 145 and Taylor Creek, Montezuma.  They found Grace's Warblers, Virginia's Warblers, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Dusky Flycatcher and Common Poorwill.  Misses: Purple Martins and Black Swifts.  After dark they found a Northern Pygmy-Owl.

July 4

Group B (rste, tmit, rkos, sehl) stayed around Durango today.  They relocated Lewis's Woodpeckers at the Huck Finn Pond area and the Animas Riverwalk at 32nd Street.  They also relocated a Black Phoebe along the Animas Riverwalk, near the Santa Rita Park area.

Group A (jwas, rsim, dkin, bmar) drove south down Highway 550 to New Mexico.  Their search for Black-chinned Sparrows was not successful.  They did have the highlight of the trip.  A male Anna's Hummingbird was seen at Twin Crossing, La Plata. Van Remsen found the last reported anhu in La Plata County on 8/16/2014.

They did relocate two Acorn Woodpeckers and a Lewis's Woodpecker at Wildcat Canyon.

July 5

Group A (jwas, rsim, rkos, sehl) decided to visit Mesa Verde National Park, Montezuma County.  Best bird found was a Long-eared Owl.  Others reported Pinyon Jays, Black-throated Gray Warblers, Gray Vireos, Gray Flycatchers, and Cordilleran Flycatcher.  Misses: the Black Phoebe reported at Morefield Campgrounds on 6/16/2017.  Their only owl sighting was a Short-eared Owl as they were leaving.

They were reminded of the infamous Dan Bridge's arrest for staying overnight in 1991 and recording a Spotted Owl after the park closed.  They were not willing to repeat the incident.

Group B (rste, tmit, dkin, bmar) left before sunrise.  They found Northern Saw-whet Owl, Flammulated Owls, Townsend's Warbler, Virginia's Warbler, and Common Poorwills at Junction Creek Campgrounds, La Plata County.

Later they relocated a Lewis's Woodpecker at Vallecito Reservoir, La Plata. 

They searched unsuccessfully for Yellow-billed Cuckoos and Black Phoebes along the Mancos River trail.  A Lewis's Woodpecker and Calliope Hummingbird in Mancos and Grace's Warblers and an Ovenbird were seen at the State Park.

July 6

Group B (rste, tmit) went to Dove Creek early in the morning.  They found one Gunnison Sage-Grouse up Wilson Draw.

In Squaw Canyon, Dolores County they found Black-throated Sparrows, Gray Vireos, two Black-throated Gray Warblers, Juniper Titmouse and Sagebrush Sparrow.  Highlight was a male and female Scott's Oriole.

Cross Canyon added Sagebrush Sparrows, Pinyon Jays, Cassin's Kingbirds, Gray Flycatcher, Gray Vireo and Black-throated Gray Warbler.

Group A (dkin, bmar, rkos, sehl) west northeast.  They relocated a Black Phoebe, Cassin's Kingbird, and Gray Flycatcher at the Bradfield Bridge, Dolores County.

At Lone Dome Recreation Area, Dolores County their best bird was a Hooded Warbler.

At Glade Lake, they found two Grace's Warblers, two Lewis's Woodpeckers, Gray Vireo, Plumbeous Vireos and Gray Flycatcher.  Their only owl of the day, a Flammulated Owl responded to a recording at dusk.

Group C (jwas, rsim) went Lone Cone Wildlife Area and Groundhog Reservoir, Dolores County. 

They relocated a Lewis's Woodpecker, but the reported Yellow-billed Loon was long gone at Groundhog Reservoir.  Other birds recorded included two Purple Martins, a female Williamson's Sapsucker, a Northern Goshawk.

At Lone Cone Wildlife Area, they added a Black-throated Gray Warbler and Dusky Grouse.  Owling was good; they found a Northern Pygmy-Owl and two Flammulated Owls.

July 7

The CoBus Groups went into San Miguel County today.

At Slick Rock, they found a Black-throated Gray Warbler, Black-throated Sparrows and a Gray Vireo.  The post office has been gone for many years.  Slick Rock was once a great place to find uncommon hummingbirds.

Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons hiked several miles into Big Gypsum Canyon.  They found two male and a female Scott's Oriole, Cassin's Kingbirds, six Northern Mockingbirds and one Curve-billed Thrasher.   They looked closely at the thrasher as a Bendire's Thrasher was recorded here on 6/24/1999.

Their highlight was a Scissor-tailed Flycatcher. One was last reported here on 6/3/1994.  The area is seldom birded.  We wonder how many have visited the canyon in the recent past.

The rest of the group continued to Disappointment Valley.  Their target bird was a Bendire's Thrasher.  Bendire's Thrashers have been recorded and photographed in 6/21/1994 (ksch), 6/24/1999 (rste), 2007, 2008 & 2009 with no reports since.

Two Curve-billed Thrashers were the only thrashers found.  A possible nesting Long-eared Owl was a surprise.

They all camped in the Uncompahgre Plateau the next two nights.

July 8

CoBus Groups spread across the Montrose County section of the Uncompahgre Plateau today.

Highlights included:

Flammulated Owl (2) --Windy Point 
American Three-toed Woodpecker (2)
Purple Martin (2) --Columbine Pass
Dusky Grouse (3) --Columbine Pass
American Three-toed Woodpecker (1) --Columbine Pass
Black Swift --CR 90/east/Divide Rd
American Three-toed Woodpecker (2) --25 Mesa Road

Other birds included Common Poorwill, Williamson's Sapsuckers, Grace's Warblers, Olive-sided Flycatchers and Lewis's Woodpecker.

July 9

Today the CoBus Groups spread across the Mesa County sections of the Uncompahgre Plateau.

Highlights include:

Grace's Warbler
(1) --Jack's Canyon
(2) --Telephone Trail
(2) --Carson Hole

Lewis's Woodpecker
(2) --Divide Forks Campgrounds (CoBus Groups) first 7/9

Flammulated Owl
(2) --Telephone Trail (CoBus Groups) last 7/9
(2) --Jack's Canyon (CoBus Groups) last 7/9

Boreal Owl
(2) --undisclosed (CoBus Groups) first 7/9

Purple Martin
(3) --see website map

Other sightings included two Northern Goshawks, Red-naped Sapsuckers, Williamson's Sapsuckers, Common Poorwill (two locations), Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Pinyon Jays.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Email sent to "cobirders" listserve:

Amy Davenport: I put photos on the CoBus photo library:

Hello birders,

I flew into Denver to spend time with my kids over the holidays.  Drove over to Richard and Rebecca's to find everyone out of town.  I talked Amy into driving to Aurora Reservoir with me.  We found the 33 Marbled Godwits, eleven Willets and the three young Killdeer at the Scuba Beach.   A Cassin's Kingbird flew around the trees at the scuba beach and then to the northeast of the parking lot.  A Dickcissel called in the same area. Much going on at Aurora Reservoir this July 4th weekend watch out for traffic.

We decided to drive the eastern Arapahoe County loop.  At least one Dickcissel was still north of CR 129 and Orchard Road.  We thought two were singing.  Six Burrowing Owls were west of CR 129 at 0.7 miles south of Orchard.  At 0.1 miles east of CR 129 and CR 30 (Quincy Road) another Dickcissel was on the telephone wires.  Again we thought a second was singing.

The Burrowing Owl was along CR 30 at 0.5 miles east of CR 149.  We saw several more Cassin's Kingbirds and a few Western Kingbirds down CR 169 and east on CR 42.  The Northern Mockingbird and another Cassin's Kingbird were singing at the previously described hill cut one mile east of 169 & 42.

We did not find the Cassin's Sparrow at Bradbury and CR 30.  To this point we had seven Cassin's Kingbirds, four Loggerhead Shrikes, two Grasshopper Sparrows and many Lark Buntings.

At CR 30 and Smith Road we could see two Eastern Kingbirds, two Western Kingbirds and a Cassin's Kingbird.

Good birding, glad to be back temporarily in Colorado!

Jerry Petrosky

CoBus Western Slope Bird Breeding Surveys (cont)

June 28 to June 30, 2017

See previous reports for beginning trip.

June 28

Group B (jwas, rsim, bmar) went to Lake City by way of Highway 149, then drove west on Cinnamon Pass Road, Hinsdale County.

Grace's Warblers and a Rufous Hummingbird were found at Mill Creek Campgrounds.  At Burrows Park Town Site they found an American Three-toed Woodpecker.  American Basin added a flyby Prairie Falcon.  Is this out of place?  Two Brown-capped Rosy Finches flew around Cinnamon Pass.  They spent the night around Animas Forks Ghost Town.  No owls were recorded today.

Group A (tmit, dkin) entered Hinsdale by way of Gunnison CR 27.  They did not find the reported Acorn Woodpecker.  Then they drove Engineer Pass, Hinsdale.  They counted American Three-toed Woodpeckers, two each at two locations.  At North Fork Cutoff they reported American Three-toed Woodpecker (Burrows Creek Road), Brown-capped Rosy Finches and a Northern Pygmy-Owl in San Juan County.  In Hinsdale County they reported an American Three-toed Woodpecker and a Boreal Owl (both groups). A 4-wheel drive vehicle is a must for this trip.

Group C (rste, rkos, sehl) went down I25 to Hwy 160, then west.  One Black Swift was a flyover at Zapata Falls, Saguache.  Found eight Pinyon Jays and Hepatic Tanager at Great Sand Dunes National Monument, Saguache County.  Western Screech-Owls called after sunset.

June 29
Group B found an American Three-toed Woodpecker, Pine Grosbeaks, Evening Grosbeaks and a Rufous Hummingbird at Animas Forks Ghost Town.  They took the southern route to Silverton.  Forest Road 586 in Hinsdale, Forest Road 210 in Ouray County.

Highlight of the day was a White-tailed Ptarmigan up Minnie Gulch Road (long hike).

Group A took the northern route over California Pass.  They relocated a Northern Saw-whet Owl (last year's gps waypoint at Poughkeepsie Gulch, San Juan County).  The day was windy and cold.  No owls reported.

Group C relocated two Dickcissels previously reported at Alamosa/Conejos Counties; CC Road; east of 109 S, Rawinksi.  A Sagebrush Sparrow was relocated at John James Canyon, Conejos County.  A Black Swift was seen flying around Treasure Falls, Mineral County.  After dark a Boreal Owl was found at Wolf Creek Pass, Mineral County.

June 30

Group C found a Black Phoebe and Cassin's Sparrow at the Navajo Watchable Wildlife Area.  Four Pinyon Jays, Lewis's Woodpeckers and Cassin's Kingbirds seen at Navajo reservoir.

Group A (tmit, dkin): A drive toward Sneffels found two American Three-toed Woodpeckers, two Black Swift and two Brown-capped Rosy Finches.  They found four Black Swifts up Black Bear Pass at Bridal Veil Falls, San Miguel County.

Group B (jwas, rsim, bmar): Along Ophir Pass Road toward hwy 149, they counted Black Swifts (3, over 2 locations), a Dusky Grouse and MacGillivray's Warbler.  Highlight was a Calliope Hummingbird at Ophir.  This is early for this hummingbird in Colorado (photographed). Early Ouray/San Miguel records: 6/13-6/23/2008 in Silverton; 6/30/2012 at Lake Lenore, Ouray.