Sunday, October 28, 2018

Search for Sprague's Pipits, Northeastern Colorado

October 23-26, 2018

Richard Stevens:

October 23-26, 2018

Jacob Washburn and I set out to find a Sprague's Pipit for his lifebird list.  We did not succeed.

October 23

High temperature today was 67 degrees.  Winds were 7-8 mph with afternoon gusts to 24 mph.  Birding was unmanageable in the afternoon.

We checked suitable habitat in Washington & Logan Counties on our way to Sterling.  NOTE:  We checked half a dozen WALK-IN-AREAs.  See Department of Wildlife Walk-In-Area Atlas for a map of their many areas.  A hunting license is required to enter the areas.  We have been monitoring many of the Areas for years now.  While a license is required, one does not have to hunt.  We "explore" the areas for future "hunts".  If other hunters are in the area, we move on to less used or not used properties.

The Parks in Sterling still had some interesting birds migrating through.  A White-throated Sparrow was along the South Platte River at Overland Park.

We searched Pioneer Park (Logan) for Eastern Screech-Owls; none was found today.  Consolation birds included a "western" Palm Warbler, Harris's Sparrow, Red-breasted Nuthatch, and Lincoln's Sparrow.

October 24

High temperature was 68 degrees, made of a pleasant day.  Unfortunately, the day was consistently windy.  Winds 12-13 mph with gusts to 22 mph made finding any birds difficult.

At dinner last night, we ran into Texas birder Bob Manor.  He told us about a Smith's Longspur sighting at North Sterling Reservoir from yesterday morning.

At first light, Jacob and I walked around the Campgrounds at the State Park.  After about 45 minutes, we relocated the longspur at the north end of the Campgrounds!  Lifebird for both of us, it was an exciting find!  Thanks to Bob!

Shorebirds at the north end of the Lake included a Least Sandpiper, two Baird's Sandpipers and many Killdeer.

We found no uncommon songbirds.  A Barn Owl was at the southern end of the Lake.

Wandering the back roads north and east of North Sterling Reservoir did not find any Sprague's Pipits.  Several Logan County locations that were successful for Sprague's Pipits in past years were checked.

October 25

Another fantastic fall day in Colorado, high temperatures reached the low 70s.  Winds were 6-7 mph with gusts to 17 mph.

Jacob and I continued our Sprague's Pipit search in Sedgwick County today.  Sprague's Pipits seemed to be "everywhere" just two weeks ago.  Today we found none.

Again, we searched the fields where they were found in past years, especially Sedgwick County Roads 30 & 59.

A stop at DePoorter Lake (Sedgwick) found two Harris's Sparrows along the South Platte River.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker was observed along the River at the Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop.

October 26

An Eastern Screech-Owl was heard at Hale Ponds about an hour before sunrise.  We scoped Pipit Hill but found no Sprague's Pipits.  Then we headed back to Denver.

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