Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Big Owl Day

December 15, 2018

Richard Stevens:

High temperature was 68 degrees in Canon City today.  Winds were 5-6 mph with gusts to 11 mph (during daylight).  It was calm after sunset.

Terry and I had a project to encounter as many owls as possible today.  I would one up him by stopping by Barr Lake (Adams) and finding a Long-eared Owl.  

Then I picked up Terry shortly after 12:30 am.  We relocated the Eastern Screech-Owl at Ketring Park (Arapahoe).

Next Terry Michaels and I joined the Aurora Reservoir Christmas Count for a short time before sunrise (Arapahoe County).

We scoped Senac Creek from the hill northwest of the parking area.  A Short-eared Owl hunted along the Creek and just below the DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site) landfill.  The exact location was 1/4 north of the northern boundary of the Natural Area.

After sunrise, we hiked the first half mile of both the Northern & Southern Pronghorn Natural Area trails.  Eventually we found a Swamp Sparrow in the cattails along the Southern trail.  Location was where Senac Creek turns from south to west.

We departed the Christmas Count, picked up Ron Harris, Bob Scott and Jackie Kelly, then headed to Fremont County.

A detour to Brush Hollow Wildlife Area (Fremont) did not find the previously reported Tundra Swan.  However, Bewick's Wren, Juniper Titmouse, Ladder-backed Woodpecker, Pinyon Jays and a Great Horned Owl were added to our day list.

The Western Screech-Owl was relocated at the Arkansas Riverwalk.  A Rufous-crowned Sparrow was relocated at Tunnel Drive.  Then we headed into the mountains.

Eventually without giving away locations, we encountered two Northern Saw-whet Owls at Oro Juno.  Our target bird, a Spotted Owl was heard and observed farther into the mountains.

On the trip back to Denver, we detoured again, this time to Beaver Creek Wildlife Area.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl returned a contact call in response to our recordings.

It was an eight Owl day!

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