Thursday, July 19, 2018

Western Slope Continued July 13 to 17, 2018

July 13 to 17, 2018

Richard Stevens:

July 13

Delta: temperature high of 98 degrees, winds were calm and hot

Birded around Delta in the morning before heading to Escalante Canyon (Delta).

Nothing uncommon found at Sweitzer Lake.  No Western Screech-Owls found at Confluence Park or G Road.  No Burrowing Owls either seen at their usual location along highway 50.

Six Chukars walked the field along Escalante Road just north of the Gunnison River.  One Black Phoebe hawked insects along Escalante Creek downstream of Pinnacle Rock.

On the drive to Utah, we eventually saw Juniper Titmouse, Ash-throated Flycatchers, Rock Wren, Virginia's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler, Western Wood-pewee, Gray Vireo, Plumbeous Vireo, Blue Grosbeak and Northern Mockingbird.

A Least Flycatcher was a nice find, as were two Lewis's Woodpeckers.

Owling after dark added three Northern Saw-whet Owls, two Northern Pygmy-Owls and a screeching Barn Owl.

July 14

Paonia: temperatures reached 97 degrees, again winds were calm and hot

Our target bird besides owls was a Yellow-billed Cuckoo in Delta County.  In that, we did not experience success.  We checked previous successful locations from Delta to Paonia.  A consolation was a Least Flycatcher.

Birding around Paonia added a Lewis's Woodpecker and Northern Pygmy-Owl to our day.  

Rufous Hummingbirds and a Calliope Hummingbird were found in Hotchkiss (no Yellow-billed Cuckoos).

Both McCluskey Wildlife Area and Crawford State Parks added Purple Martins to our day bird list.  Two Band-tailed Pigeons and two Olive-sided Flycatchers were encountered south of McCluskey.

On the way to the north rim of the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park area, two Gunnison Sage-Grouse crossed Black Canyon Road.

No owls were heard this night.

July 15

Hotchkiss: high temperature 90, winds calm

No additional Gunnison Sage-Grouse were encountered and we headed to Crawford Reservoir (Delta).  

We did not spend much time there; however did have a Purple Martin fly over, a singing Plumbeous Vireo and four Yellow-headed Blackbirds.

Our drive continued south only to Gould Reservoir.  Again not much was found.

We turned back north and drove into the West Elk Wildnerness area (toward Mt. Gunnison).  Few interesting birds were seen.  An American Three-toed Woodpecker was probably the best sighting.

Erickson Springs and Lost Lake Campgrounds added few birds to our trip list.

Owling after dark:
Flammulated Owls (2)
Northern Pygmy-Owl (1)
Northern Saw-whet Owl (0)

July 16

Carbondale: high of 69 degrees, winds 3-4 mph with gusts to 12 mph

Our first target this morning was a drive to Overland Reservoir to find the Common Loon reported by Dennis Garrison on 7/13.

A walk around McClure Pass found the bird of the day.  Besides MacGillivray's Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Wilson's Warblers, a male Chestnut-sided Warbler fluttered about below highway 133 (below guardrail below Pass summit).  In the past Purple Martins have nested in the area.  We found none today.

We hoped to find Purple Martins on the road to Marble.  Sixteen Band-tailed Pigeons were around the small community of Prospect Ranch (Gunnison County).  Both a Blue Grosbeak and a pair of Evening Grosbeaks were also there!

Birds around Marble included four Williamson's Sapsuckers, two male Pine Grosbeaks, Rufous Hummingbirds and a male Calliope Hummingbird.  Finally, two Purple Martins were seen behind the Marble cemetery.

On the drive back to Highway 133, our second highlight of the day was a single Black Swift flying over the waterfalls near Prospect Ranch.  The bird was recorded as over Kebler Pass above us.

A Dusky Grouse was observed walking along old Kebler Pass Road (Gunnison).

All four hummingbirds in Colorado (Broad-tailed, Black-chinned, Rufous and Calliope) were observed at Redstone (Pitkin).  For some reason, Blue Jays are listed as rare here.  We had no trouble finding a few.  A Lewis's Woodpecker was found at the Campgrounds.

Our owling tonight was along Avalanche Creek (Janeway & Avalanche Campgrounds) toward Maroon Bells & Snowmass Wilderness.

The night was rather quiet.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl responded briefly to our recordings with a contact call.  

NOTE: we set up our two "owl listening stations" every night, however had not time to listen to the recordings.  Additional owls may be added to the trip and daily lists later.

July 17

Collbran: temperatures back to a high of 96 degrees, winds 10-12 mph with gusts to 36 mph

We encountered a Dusky Grouse walking across Pitkin 310 road (Avalanche) on our way back to Hwy 133 just before sunrise.  Two Great Horned Owl young cried near hwy 133.

We were running out of days to bird, however had many roads yet to check.  Today we turned west to the Collbran area (Mesa) by way of New Castle.

We picked up a Dickcissel for Mesa County near the previous location of Me Road 3/4 and 57 Roads.  Unfortunately, no Bobolink appeared to remain in the area.

A Black Phoebe continued along PE road.  The Bobolinks reported here last month also appeared to have moved.

We relocated the two Purple Martins along Mesa Forest Road 272 (Brush Creek Road).  A splendid area is worth birding.

Vega State Park (Mesa) added a Chukar and yet another Purple Martin to our trip list.  Southern migrating shorebirds have not arrived yet.  A Juniper Titmouse, two Pinyon Jays, a Bullock's Oriole (rare here?) and Williamson's Sapsucker were also seen.  Best bird almost too well hidden was a Long-eared Owl!

We went owling in Grand Mesa National Forest tonight.

We called up three Northern Saw-whet Owls in the DeBeque area (Mesa)

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