Saturday, August 26, 2017

A Great Birding Week In Colorado

August 21-24, 2017

Richard Stevens:

August 21

At first light, Rebecca and I drove around Lamar (Prowers County) searching for the previously reported Swallow-tailed Kite.  Success, it was perched in a cottonwood tree near the church north of Willow Creek Park (sorry I cannot remember the name of the church).

Before we exited our car, it took off.  I was able to capture three shots of the bird.  It should be the cover of September's "Colorado Field Notes" unless someone gets a good photo of the Crested Caracara floating around Denver.

At Willow Park, we found two Red-headed Woodpeckers and one Red-bellied Woodpecker (the bird was actually east of Willow Valley Road).

A couple of Pine Siskins (unusual) were later found at nearby Fairmount Cemetery.

Two Buttes Reservoir (Baca) added a Barn Owl, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, four Wild Turkeys, Greater Roadrunner (west of dam), Western Wood-pewee and Brown Thrasher.

We turned north and search the various reservoirs north of Lamar for shorebirds.  Regrettably, none of the unusual shorebirds recently reported were encountered. 

A Long-billed Curlew was our only uncommon one at Neenoshe Reservoir (Kiowa).  Our results were similar at Upper Queens Reservoir & Lower Queens Reservoir.

Our next stop was Blue Lake (Bent/Kiowa).  Here we count another Long-billed Curlew and five Snowy Plovers.  Long-billed Dowitchers were the only Dowitchers found.  A Short-billed Dowitcher had been reported yesterday.

We continued north to Burlington (Kit Carson) after sunset.

August 22

Just before sunrise, we searched the Hale Ponds area (Yuma).  An Eastern Screech-Owl called without any encouragement.  Two Red-bellied Woodpeckers, House Wrens, and five Eastern Bluebirds were also in the area.

Misses: Cuckoos and Poorwills (neither responded to a tape.

Another Red-bellied Woodpecker was along the gated road south side of Bonny Reservoir (now almost dry).  A Lewis's Woodpecker surprised us at Wagon Wheel Campgrounds (now defunct).  A Lewis's Woodpecker was west of Wagon Wheel.  A Northern Cardinal and eight Wild Turkeys were near Foster's Grove.  While a Great Crested Flycatcher called between there and Hwy 385.

A detour to Beecher Island (Yuma) added an Eastern Phoebe to our trip list.  The historically battlefield is one of my favorite in Colorado.

We missed Eastern Phoebes at Wray Fishing Unit near Wray.  A male Northern Cardinal flew around the northern windbreak.  Nothing uncommon was at Stalker Pond.

After sunset, we heard two Eastern Screech-Owls at Roger Danka's in Sedgwick County.

August 23

Early in the morning, Roger Danka and I drove around Sedgwick County.  Our target birds were uncommon sparrows, Eastern Meadowlarks and Chicken-like Birds.

The highlights were an Upland Sandpiper and Red-bellied Woodpecker at Sedgwick Bar Wildlife Area.

Misses: Eastern Meadowlarks, uncommon sparrows, Sprague's Pipit (not yet around?).

In the afternoon we drove to Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick).  We missed he Ruddy Turnstone reported yesterday, consolation: Short-eared Owl at sunset.

Earlier we had an Eastern Phoebe at Duck Creek Wildlife Area (Logan).

August 24

Rebecca and I birded Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) today.  Two Eastern Screech-Owls were heard calling just before sunrise.

The highlight of the day was a beautiful Blue-headed Vireo.  We also saw three Red-bellied Woodpeckers, two Northern Cardinals and a female type Baltimore Oriole.

Misses: no Bell's Vireos, cuckoos and Eastern Wood-Pewees were encountered.

Other search at Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) did not find the Ruddy Turnstone (Steve Larson, 8/22) or Semipalmated Plover (Brian Johnson, 8/23).

A couple of Common Nighthawks and an Eastern Screech-Owl were observed just before sunset at Roger's ranch.

August 25

Rebecca and I cut our plains birding short when we received a text message about the Crested Caracara having moved to the First Creek Trail (Denver County).

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