Monday, July 31, 2017

Buffalo Pass Road

July 25-26

Richard Stevens:

I continued to stay up in the mountains and avoid the hot temperatures down on the Plains.  My trip today was up Buffalo Pass Road from the Steamboat Springs side (Routt) over the pass to Larimer County.

West of the Continental Divide and the Summit, the road can be a little rough.  A passenger car is not a good idea for this trip.  Once over the pass, east of the Divide the road is much better.  The views are fantastic! 

This trip is one of many of my favorite (dozens) in Colorado.  Birds, great views, few people, what is not to like?  Weather was good most of the time.  Several thunderstorms may have reduced my owl count.

Eventually I found twenty three American Three-toed Woodpeckers.  In Routt County, two were around the Granite Campgrounds at Fish Creek Reservoir and rest along CR 38 (Buffalo Pass Road).  The other four were along Jackson CR 24 (two around Little Grizzly Creek, two at Hidden Lake).

White-winged Crossbills surely nest in the area.  I confirmed two birds along CR 38 at 0.4 miles west of Buffalo Pass summit.  Another two may have flown over Summit Lake, which is in Jackson County.  They did not stay around long; identification was not conclusive.

Fourteen Red Crossbills for sure were at Summit Lake (Jackson).

One Flammulated Owl was found Forest Road 310, the road to Fish Creek Reservoir (Routt).  Another Flammulated Owl was heard along Forest Road 306.  A Boreal Owl called also!

Another Boreal Owl was heard along CR 45 on the way to Hidden Lake Campgrounds.  After sunrise, a Dusky Grouse was found near the Campgrounds.

Four Williamson's Sapsuckers, another flock of Red Crossbills, Clark's Nutcrackers, Pine Siskins,  both Pine & Evening Grosbeaks, Red-naped Sapsuckers and an American Three-toed Woodpecker were eventually found before reaching highway 14.

After sunset, I walked around Cameron Pass and again heard a Boreal Owl to the west of the summit.  Another was picked up my one of my "owl listening stations" set up at Ranger Lakes.

I could spend a good week exploring the many side trips over Buffalo Pass; there is never enough time.

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