Monday, September 24, 2018

Colorado Northeastern Plains

September 19 to 23, 2018

I was joined by Terry Michaels.  Our target birds included Sprague's Pipits, Smith's Longspurs, Eastern Meadowlarks and uncommon sparrows.  Can not call the uncommon sparrows "ammodramus sparrows" as they are now "centronyx and ammospiza sparrows" now.  A Baird's Sparrow, Henslow's Sparrow, Le Conte's Sparrow or Nelson's Sparrow would be a great find.

September 19

It was a beautiful day to be in Colorado.  Temperatures only reached 77 degrees.  Winds were only 5-6 mph.

First, we drove to the southern sections of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) and searched unsuccessfully for Greater Prairie-Chickens (and to a lesser extent for Sharp-tailed Grouse).

My last sighting of a Sharp-tailed Grouse at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area was 5/16/2006.  The last report I have for Logan County is 11/17/2017.

Terry Michaels and I did the old hopscotch routine.  I dropped him off at the west end of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area.  I then left the car a little bit east of hwy 55 and walked to the eastern end of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area.

Terry found a Yellow-billed Cuckoo, two Red-headed Woodpeckers, two Red-bellied Woodpeckers, and a Nashville Warbler in the western sections.  He also found a Blue-headed Vireo at 1 east.

I encountered an Eastern Screech-Owl, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, two Red-headed Woodpeckers, three Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a Cassin's Vireo, Magnolia Warbler, Blackburnian Warbler, and Field Sparrows in the eastern sections.

We returned later and picked up the Blue-headed Vireo, Magnolia Warbler and Blackburnian Warbler for both our lists.

Misses: no Long-eared Owls, Northern Cardinals, or Baltimore Orioles this trip.  Least Bitterns have been found in past Falls; none seen today.  Bell's Vireos have appeared to move on south?

A walk at Little Jumbo Reservoir found a Cassin's Kingbird near the parking area.  A Nashville Warbler was under the cottonwoods at southeast corner.

Later we circled Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick), relocated two Pectoral Sandpipers, and found a Common Tern at the southeast corner.

Additional shorebirds included Semipalmated Sandpipers, Solitary Sandpipers and one Least Sandpiper.  A male Orchard Oriole perched on the southern fence line at the Campgrounds.

No Short-eared Owls appeared at sunset.

September 20

High temperatures stayed close to 80 degrees.  Winds were 9-10 mph with afternoon gusts to 23 mph.

We detoured to Ovid and found a male Red-bellied Woodpecker drumming behind the high school.  A White-throated Sparrow was the only uncommon sparrow fluttering about the willows along the Platte River near the Ovid Sewage Ponds.

Later we spent the rest of the day searching locations where Sprague's Pipits, Nelson's Sparrows, Smith's Longspurs and Eastern Meadowlarks have been found in past years.  None was found today (Sedgwick County).

We enjoyed a terrific barbecue at a friend's ranch and listened to Great Horned Owls and an Eastern Screech-Owl call at dusk.

September 21

High was a cool 78 degrees in Holyoke.  Winds were 8-9 mph with gusts in the afternoon at 14 mph.

We again search locations (Sedgwick County) of target bird sightings from past years (see yesterday's post).  None was again found.

Best bird of the day was an Alder Flycatcher hawking bugs in the cottonwoods along the northeast side of Holyoke Fishing Pond.

Holyoke Cemetery, City Park and the "hotspot" at the east end of Akron did not add any uncommon birds to our trip list.

We skipped the "hotspots" at Wray and continued to Bonny Reservoir (Yuma).

September 22

High temperature was 85 degrees today in Burlington.  Winds were a strong 14-15 mph all day with gusts measured at 24 mph.

After waking up to a calling Eastern Screech-Owl, we walked my favorite 2 mile loop at Hale Ponds.  The highlight birds were a Gray-cheeked Thrush, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Magnolia Warbler and Eastern Screech-Owl.

A stop at Hale added a Blue-headed Vireo, Mourning Warbler and four Eastern Bluebirds.

Pipit Hill (west of Hale) did not provide any Sprague's Pipit sightings today.

Then, Terry and I must have hiked 12 miles as we circled Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area.  Our leisure trek found some really nice birds.

Highlights included in no particular order:
Wild Turkey (9, just west of foster's grove)
Red-headed Woodpeckers (foster's grove)
Palm Warbler (foster's grove)
Northern Cardinal (foster's grove)
Red-headed Woodpeckers (wagon wheel)
Eastern Phoebe (wagon wheel)
Red-bellied Woodpecker (southern reservoir road)
Sparrows: Vesper, Savannah (2), Grasshopper (1), Chipping (many), White-crowned (many), Field Sparrow (1), Song (6+), Lark (4), Brewer's (2), Clay-colored (2), White-crowned (6+), Dark-eyed Juncos (many)

No longspurs, pipits, only owls, Great Horned Owl (4), one osprey

September 23

Temperatures reached a high of 87 degrees.  Winds were 7-8 mph most of the day with gusts to 18 mph in late afternoon.

A quick stop at Fairview Cemetery in Burlington found few birds.  A juvenile Broad-winged Hawk was the highlight.

Our stop at Flagler Reservoir (Kit Carson) was the best of the day (which was slow).  A possible Yellow-bellied Flycatcher gave us good looks but confusing.  It looked similar to a Cordilleran Flycatcher but showed a complete and bright eye ring.

A Cassin's Vireo and several House Wrens were below the dam.

The rest of the day was uneventful.  Winds picked up.  Temperatures in the high 80s made the day feel quite warm.

We searched for Mountain Plovers and longspurs at locations where they were found in the spring; without success.  From Kit Carson County, we dropped down south as far as Karval Wildlife Area.

Hugo, Kinney and Karval Wildlife Areas had little to add to our trip list.  We even missed the Gray Vireo reported by Joey Kellner at Karval on 9/21.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rich you forgot the two Ruby-throated Hummingbirds we saw. Holyoke and Burlington
I had a great time as always! Terry