Friday, June 1, 2018

Mostly Eastern Adams County

June 1, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Before sunrise, I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver).  A Short-eared Owl was flying along Gun Club Road south of Third Creek.  It criss-crossed Gun Club Road several times before disappearing to the east.

Two Burrowing Owls continue at the northwest corner of Trussville Road and 114th avenue.  Then my birding day really started.

I enjoyed an eventfully day of birding.  I drove the eastern Adams County route.  Temperatures reached 91 degrees in Byers.  Winds were 10-11 mph with gusts to 21 mph.

I would stop, sit and scope any field along Hwy 79 (Kiowa-Bennett Road) to 160th Avenue to Bradbury-Krebs Road to Hwy 40.

Eventually I found five adult and one young Mountain Plovers.  In order of sightings:
adult:  southwest of Hwy 79 & East 88th Avenue
adult & young: 160th avenue at 1.7 miles east of Piggot Road
adult: 0.2 miles north of s.a.b.
adult: 0.2 miles west Bradbury-Krebs & 160th avenue
adult: 0.2 miles south Bradbury-Krebs Road & 104th avenue

The "easier" Mountain Plovers to relocate because of closeness to road:

adult and young (160th avenue)
adult south of Bradbury-Krebs & 160th (look for two lane track (ATV?) bird was 20 feed to right of track as the track went abruptly uphill

Other interesting birds included:
many Lark Buntings along Hwy 79 north to 160th avenue
Cassin's Sparrow (2) along 160th avenue within a mile of Hwy 79
three Burrowing Owls among prairie dog village along 160th avenue at 0.5 miles east of Yellow Jacket Road
Grasshopper Sparrow at 160th avenue & Mystic Road
many Vesper Sparrows
more Lark Buntings along Bradbury-Krebs Road

Next, I went to Richmil Ranch Open Space (Arapahoe County) I hiked the 1.7 mile loop, highlights:
+++Red-headed Woodpecker
+++Great Horned Owl stayed on ground for over 15 minutes, when I continued along the path, it flew up with a cat in its claws
+++I assume male Northern Mockingbird displaying for a female, at west side of agricultural field (east side of trail)
+++a Cassin's Kingbird along the western fence line back at parking area. It flew 100 yards north before my camera could focus on it.  However, later it returned closer and hawked bugs from the horse tie up posts
+++while trying to photograph the Cassin's Kingbird, another pair of Northern Mockingbirds landed on the eastern fence

Other birds included one Western Wood-pewee (did not call, possible Eastern Wood-Pewee, I will never know)

many Bullock's Orioles, Western Kingbirds, one Blue Jay, one Grasshopper Sparrow, many Lark Sparrows, and one pair of American Kestrels.

Next, I went east to 38th avenue and Woods where a Black-throated Blue Warbler was reported last week.  Nothing was around today.

I returned to Richmil at sunset to listen for Eastern Screech-Owls.  I photographed one earlier.  Shortly after dusk, a Common Poorwill called for about 15 minutes.  He may have continued; however, I assume he saw me walking along Hwy 40 and became quiet

Quite an enjoyable day of birding especially considering the hot temperatures and high winds.

Note on the Common Poorwill:  Richmil Ranch Open Space is approximately 20 miles from the location where the late Joe Tenbrink reported a possible Common Poorwill nesting.

It is also approximately 21 miles from the location where Bryan Ehlmann and I found two Common Poorwills on June 13, 2002 and a Common Poorwill and an egg on July 7, 2002.  On July 21, 2002, we returned to find no Common Poorwills, no eggs and no egg shells.

Could Common Poorwills still be nesting in Elbert or Arapahoe County?  Breeding was confirmed years ago in Elbert County.

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