Monday, August 26, 2019

Fantastic Day At Barr Lake

August 26, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature today was a pleasant 81 degrees.  Winds were 7-8 mph.

It was 59 degrees when I arrived at Barr Lake State Park (Adams) at 6:30 am.  I enjoyed six hours of fantastic birding.  A Great Horned Owl was calling around the Visitor's Center when I got out of my car.  Target birds included the previously banded Red-eyed Vireo and Northern Waterthrushes.

Shortly after crossing the footbridge (mile 0.0/9.0) and heading east, the call of a Red-breasted Nuthatch filled the air.  The Red-eyed Vireo fluttered about the willows and cottonwoods at mile 8.8 (the banding station is at mile 8.7).  It took 20 minutes before it landed on a leafless branch for a photo op.  At least twenty Yellow Warblers, four Wilson's Warbler and a pair of House Wrens were in the same area.

At the banding station, I turned north to checkout the peninsula.  An Osprey screamed almost constantly from one of the taller cottonwoods in the distance.  Shorebirds included a Stilt Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, two Least Sandpipers, a Pectoral Sandpiper and two Baird's Sandpipers.

The woods were fairly quiet.  Highlights were a male MacGillivray's Warbler, an Orange-crowned Warbler, Warbling Vireo and Least Flycatcher.  It appeared that most birds were back along the main road where the trees were in sunlight.

I continued east and found eighty+ birds hawking insects along the Farmer's canal 10 yards east of the bench that faces the Osprey nesting platform.  This group included 40+ Yellow Warblers, 20+ Wilson's Warblers, another MacGillivray's Warbler, a pair of Blue Grosbeaks and a Northern Waterthrush (mile 8.6).

Farther east is the Pioneer Trail (mile 8.1).  As I walked north down the trail I looked up and was startled by a Barn Owl peeking around the trunk of a large cottonwood tree.  Cool, photos on Colorado Birding Society's website later.

A dozen House Wrens, a pair of Eastern Kingbirds, and 20+ Wilson's Warblers were observed along the trail.  From the bird blind, a second Osprey could be seen perched on the nesting platform.  The second Least Flycatcher of my day was also found along with half a dozen Western Wood-pewees.

Dozens of Barn Swallows would rest on a dead branch just outside the blind.  I hoped a Violet-green Swallow would come by for a photo op.  While none did, a Northern Rough-winged Swallow did stop several times.

Nothing uncommon was observed as I continued to the boat ramp.  Hundreds of American White Pelicans and dozens of Western Grebes swam off the boat ramp.

Returning west, a Gray Flycatcher flew from the south side of the canal to the cottonwoods along the main trail (mile 8.6).  It pumped it tail downward constantly confirming its id.

Once back at the Visitor's Center footbridge I continued west to mile 1.5.  Most of the gulls along the shore off the Niedrach Trail were Ring-billed.  One Herring Gull was picked out.

Dozens of shorebirds also walked the grassy shoreline.  The highlight was definitely a Black-bellied Plover in alternate plumage.  Except for a Pectoral Sandpiper, the mixed included similar shorebirds as the banding station peninsula. A sub-adult Bald Eagle perched overlooking the shorebirds.  

Additional birds observed during the hike included over a dozen Western Wood-pewees, one Gray Catbird, a third MacGillivray's Warbler, many Yellow Warblers, House Wrens and Western Kingbirds.

Two birds were left unidentified.  A small "empidonax" flycatcher had a very bright yellow breast and belly.  It had a complete, bold eye-ring, olive-green head and back, contrasting olive malar region with yellowish throat, quite bright, white wingbars.  I seldom have seen such a yellowish "empidonax" flycatcher.  The bird was between mile 8.5 and 8.4.

I have read that Cordilleran Flycatchers can be very yellow.  This bird lacked the ragged crest and oblong eye-ring I would expect on a Cordilleran Flycatcher.  Unfortunately, by the time my camera booted up, the bird had flown.

The other mystery bird was a Wood-pewee.  I was first attracted by the wide and white wingbars that stood out from the other Western Wood-pewees run across all morning.  The lower mandible was quite orange in color.  It did not make a sound.

I would be more likely to call this an Eastern Wood-Pewee than the "empidonax" flycatcher a Yellow-bellied Flycatcher.  They were recorded as undetermined.

After lunch at a nearby Wendy's, I returned to the west end of Barr Lake accessed from Buckley Road.  The usual suspects at the rookery included Snowy Egrets, Great Blue Herons, two Black-crowned Night-Herons and one Great Egret.  

Both a Virginia Rail and Sora were heard near the path to the bird blind at mile 2.5.  Highlights included a Tennessee Warbler and Ruby-crowned Kinglet.  Surprisingly, sparrows were scarce during my eight hour trek today.  A few Song Sparrows were the complete tally.  Chipping Sparrows appeared not have arrived yet.

One last bird found just before sunrise was a Long-eared Owl.  The species and location are sensitive and will remain unlisted.

Weld County To Sedgwick County

August 24-25, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I started up north to survey the Pawnee National Grasslands area for Mountain Plover, Upland Sandpipers, Baird's Sparrows and such.

August 24

High temperature reached 91 degrees today.  Winds were 8-9 mph.

About an hour before sunrise, we sat at Weld County 48 at the south end of Lower Latham Reservoir.  Our suspicions were proven when a Short-eared Owl was observed flying south of CR 48 (south of the oil tank).  We watched it eventually fly north over CR 48 and disappear along the west side of the Reservoir.

We continued north to Keota and Weld CR 100.  Three Mountain Plover were encountered about a mile and a half west of CR 390.  Several McCown's Longspurs found as we drove west to CR 77.

We dropped down to Weld CR 96 and then continued west.  Another pair of Mountain Plovers (one adult, one young) were encountered along the way to my favorite Pawnee National Grasslands area loop.

CR 61 north to CR 94, east to CR 63, south to CR 92, east to CR 65, then south to highway 14.  Usually the loop is good for McCown's Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Upland Sandpiper, Burrowing Owl and Mountain Plover.  Regrettably, only a few McCown's Longspurs were found today.

Eventually we drove north of CR 57 to CR 100.  Norma's Grove is along CR 100, just east of CR 57.  Here the previously reported Gray Flycatcher was found hawking insects.  The Eastern Wood-Pewee and Field Sparrow that would be reported on 8/25 we not found by us today.

Our trek continued along the gravel roads as we continued north and west.  Sites of previously reported Baird's Sparrows were searched; without success.

Additional birds ran across included a pair of Blue Grosbeaks, two Prairie Falcons, one Ferruginous Hawk, and two Loggerhead Shrikes.

We received a text message about Baird's Sparrows in Logan County.  Having no success in Weld County, we decided to head east.

The search for the reported Baird's Sparrows south of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) was unfortunately not successful.

Our birding day ended at the southeastern end of the Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan CR 46 & CR 89).  We hiked north over the hill and sat down to wait for sunset.  No Greater Prairie-Chickens were found this evening.

August 25, 2019

Terry Michaels and I walked around the Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area sections 6 East & 7 East several hours before sunrise.  An Eastern Screech-Owl was heard calling north of the Platte River.

Just before sunrise, we drove south of I76 to the first windmill along CR 55.  Our plan was to hike west for a couple of miles with Sharp-tailed Grouse, Greater Prairie-Chickens and uncommon sparrows in mind.

A Sharp-tailed Grouse was found up over the hill about 1/4 mile west of the windmill.  The highlight of the day came at 1.2 miles to the west (GPS coordinates).  Two buffy faced sparrows turned out to be Baird's Sparrows!

Afterwards we returned to the northern sections of Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area.  A search for Bell's Vireos and Cuckoos at 1 West to 2 West did not find any.  The suspicious Eastern Towhee that has been reported many times this year and in the past was not found today.

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker was along the Platte River and just west of the CR 55 bridge. Two additional Red-bellied Woodpeckers were found at 1 East section.

Warblers found included a Nashville Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warblers, two Yellow Warblers, a Wilson's Warbler and an Orange-crowned Warbler.  The only vireo seen was a Plumbeous Vireo.  A Field Sparrow flew around 3 East.

A brief stop at Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) did not find any uncommon birds. 

The rest of the afternoon was spent driving Sedgwick County Roads in search of Sprague's Pipits.  Although none was expected, we did scout possible locations for future searches in late September and October.

Well after dark, we stopped at Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington) and listened for owls.  None called this evening. 

Eastern Arapahoe & Adams Counties to Washington County

August 23, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature today was a warm 91 degrees.  Hot winds of 12-13 mph with gusts to 28 mph did not help.

Rebecca and I drove eastern Arapahoe County roads on our way to the West Bijou Conservation area (southeast of Byers).  Unfortunately, we could not determine access once we arrived.  Karen Metz reported seven Red-headed Woodpeckers on the property 8/18; we were unable to contact her about access.

We scoped the property from County Line Road and found one Red-headed Woodpecker.  Regrettably, it was quite far from the road.

Later we scoped the northern end of the property and West Bijou Creek from Arapahoe CR 30.  Again, another Red-headed Woodpecker was found clinging to the trunk of a large cottonwood off in the distance.  Cassin's Sparrow(s) were found here in June 2018; none was observed today.

Our trek concentrated on the gravel roads northeast of Deer Trail.  We did find a flock of twenty McCown's Longspurs that had two Chestnut-collared Longspurs among it.

We continued briefly into Washington County and checked Last Chance Rest Stop.  Nothing uncommon was found here.

Birding Around Castlewood Canyon

August 22, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature today was 93 degrees.  Winds were calm all morning.

The plan was to hike the Creek Bottom and Inner Canyon trails at Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas).

I arrived several hours ahead of sunrise and set up my "owl listening stations".  One was in the Park and the other at a private ranch outside of the Park.  Then I visited a friend's home above and western cliffs.

A Northern Saw-whet Owl in response to my recordings flew into the fir trees where I sat!  Later the "owl listening stations" picked up another Northern Saw-whet Owl in the Park (when I listened to recordings).

No Ovenbirds were found today along the Creekside trail.  Whether they are gone or just silent was not determined; no warblers or vireos were found.  An unidentified 'Empidonax Flycatcher" was ran across just north of the broken Cherry Creek dam.

The inner canyon trail was a little more interesting.  It was cooler and mostly in shade.  Both Sharp-shinned and a Cooper's Hawks were found.  Best bird was a Virginia's Warbler fluttering around the willows.  

A Canyon Wren was heard singing in the rocky cliff west of the overlook. All three nuthatches, a few Yellow-rumped Warblers and a Plumbeous Vireo were also observed.

By the time I returned to my car, it was quite warm and I headed for home.  A quick stop at the Walker Gravel Pond found the Common Loon still there!

Another Drive Around Eastern Arapahoe & Adams Counties

August 21, 2019

Richard Stevens:

It was much cooler today with a high of 82 degrees.  Winds were 8-9 mph most of the day.  Winds did reach 22 mph when a thunderstorm blew in around 5:00 pm.

Rebecca and I decided to drive the gravel roads in eastern Arapahoe County.  Few birds moved about in spite of the cooler temperatures.

At least one Cassin's Kingbird continues at Richmil Ranch Open Space.  Both Western Kingbirds and Eastern Kingbirds were also there.

East Bijou Creek at Arapahoe County 38 had few birds.  Two House Wrens chased each other around.

Instead of continuing southwest, we turned north into Adams County.  One of the Burrowing Owls is still along 160th Avenue.  Burrowing Owls appear to be uncommon this summer.  On the other hand, perhaps I have not been searching the correct areas? 

Two Loggerhead Shrikes were also observed along 160th Avenue west of Bradbury-Krebs Road.  Not much else was encountered.  No Mountain Plovers were found as we checked previously reported locations.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Birding Outside the Eastern Side of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal

August 20, 2019

Richard Stevens:

It was 64 degrees at 6:00am when I left home and 91 degrees at 11:00am when I finished my hike along the east side of the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Buckley Road and the First Creek Trail).  Hot winds of 7-8 mph blew over the rolling hills.

Highlights were a calling Upland Sandpiper west of Buckley Road (inside the Arsenal fence) and a Burrowing Owl on the fence.  Both were in Adams County and several hundred yards north of the old Eagle Watch bunker.

Several flocks of Vesper Sparrows flew back and forth across Buckley in both Adams & Denver Counties.  A Grasshopper Sparrow also fluttered about both counties; it was between the First Creek Trail and the Buckley parking area.

Raptors included two Swainson's Hawks, one Red-tailed Hawk and a pair of American Kestrels.

First Creek Trail was slow both in Adams County (toward the pond at the eastern Arsenal fence and in Denver County (Buckley Road to the horse corrals).

A least three Western Kingbirds were still around and a Great Horned Owl was along First Creek in Adams County.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Wildlife Drive at Rocky Mountain Arsenal

August 19, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I drove through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) on the way to brunch.  The temperature was 65 degrees at 6:00 am and 89 degrees by 10:30 am.

Few birds, deer and bison were moving around from view of the 9.0 mile Wildlife drive.  A Sage Thrasher was just south of the bridge at mile 3.7.

Misses: no Burrowing Owls, Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Phoebes or other uncommon birds were found. 

Most of the parking areas inside the Arsenal, along the entrance road and trails were closed due to bubonic plague reports.

Spanish Peaks

August 12-18, 2019

Richard Stevens:

August 12

Terry Michaels and I started toward Spanish Peaks Wilderness and Wildlife Area (Huerfano/Las Animas Counties).  We spent the better part of six days exploring forests of Ponderosa Pines, Pinon-Junipers and Scrub Oak.

A search for Hepatic Tanagers and Grace's Warblers up Rouse Road (Santa Clara Creek, aka Huerfano CR 310) found one Hepatic Tanager and no Grace's Warblers.

The last couple of hours of daylight, we continued west on CR 310 to CR 320, turning around at CR 340.  No owls were encountered this evening.

August 13

We camped at Spanish Peaks Wildlife Area (Las Animas).  In the morning, a Grace's Warbler search found one at a previously reported location (Beebe trail, Eric DeFonso 6/12).  None was found at the previously reported headquarters area (Las Animas).

We circled around to Wahatoya Trailhead #1304 (Huerfano) and drove up the jeep road (CR 360) to its end.  If you have a 4-wheel drive and high clearance, the drive past the trailhead saves two miles of the hike.

An Acorn Woodpecker just south of the trailhead was definitely the highlight of the day!  No owls were heard this night.  A Dusky Grouse ran across the road between the trailhead and end of CR 360.

August 14

The hike up to East Spanish Peak is pleasant, however a long one.  While East Spanish Peak is shorter than West Spanish Peak, the final accent is steeper.  It was an effort.

Records show that no White-tailed Ptarmigan are found on the Spanish Peaks (Huerfano/Las Animas), Greenhorn Mountain (Pueblo) or Pikes Peak (El Paso).

White-tailed Ptarmigan were introduced to Pikes Peak (El Paso) and it was probably one of the reintroduced birds that I ran into in 1999 when attempting to climb all the 14ers in Colorado.

I also found one on Culebra Peak while climbing to the top of this 14,049-foot mountain.

Two American Three-toed Woodpeckers were observed on the hike to the Spanish Peaks ridge (north side burn area).  Other birds encountered included two Williamson's Sapsuckers, a Lewis's Woodpecker, Virginia's Warbler, Warbling Vireo, Plumbeous Vireos, two Band-tailed Pigeons, Bewick's Wren, and Juniper Titmouse among others.

We eventually camped at the Spanish Peaks ridge.  One Flammulated Owl was located below the ridge along the East Spanish Peak's trail (Huerfano).

August 15

Today we traversed the ridge over to West Spanish Peak.  It was a pleasant hike; however, again it is quite strenuous.  Afterwards, we returned to the Ridge and dropping down the south side (Las Animas).

Highlights were two Grace's Warblers below the south side of the trail (Las Animas).  Another Dusky Grouse and American Three-toed Woodpecker was observed.  After dark, a Flammulated Owl responded to our recordings.

August 16

We humped back up the Ridge and dropped down into Huerfano County by way of a West Peak trail.  We did not return to the East Peak trail taken yesterday.  The trail today was not well marked; a compass and GPS waypoints to our vehicle came in handy, for sure.

Highlights included at least one additional Grace's Warblers (may have been two), our first Olive-sided Flycatcher of the trip, and a Lewis's Woodpecker.  Once we reached the East Peak trail (Wahatoya trail #1304), we camped for the night.

A Flammulated Owl responded to our recording.  After recovering our two "owl listening stations" planted on 8/14 (and listened to 8/18) two additional Flammulated Owls were added to our trip list.

August 17

We broke camp early, hoping to relocate the Acorn Woodpecker found on 8/13; however, it was not found.

Next, we drove down Highway 12 not finding much at Cuchara, continuing to North Lake (Las Animas).   A Common Loon was observed in the middle of the Lake.

Farther south, Monument Park Lake (Las Animas) added a Cassin's Kingbird and Cassin's Vireo to our trip list.

Several hours were spent birding back at Spanish Peaks Wildlife Area (Las Animas) before dark.  The Grace's Warbler was not found again.  A Hepatic Tanager was definitely the highlight.  Another Dusky Grouse, a Lewis's Woodpecker, Olive-sided Flycatcher, and Williamson's Sapsucker were also encountered.

A pair of calling Great Horned Owls was the only owls found.

August 18

Two hours before sunrise, we looked for owls.  Flammulated Owls and Great Horned Owls would be the only owls expected here.  We also searched unsuccessfully for Grace's Warblers after sunrise.

Another Hepatic Tanager was a great surprise at the eastern side of the Wildlife Area.  We also ran into another Dusky Grouse, which are considered uncommon in the area.

Finally, we had to return to Denver and traffic.  It was an excellent and enjoyable trip to the Spanish Peaks area!  Colorado Springs & Denver traffic not so much.  

I will provide more detail in my article Spanish Peaks in September's "Colorado Field Notes". 

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Two Visits to Barr Lake

August 11, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature was 86 degrees.  Winds were 7-8 mph.  When I returned in the late afternoon gusts reached 24 mph.

I hike mile 0.5 to 8.5 and later mile 3.0 to 2.5 at Barr Lake (Adams County).  An American Redstart was found just east of the banding station.  Later a Townsend's Warbler was found in the trees along the path to the bird blind (mile 2.5).

Mosquitoes and heat shorten the morning trip.  In the afternoon, I returned and walked below the dam (mile 6.0 to 7.2).  The only highlight was a Hermit Thrush that stayed mostly hidden and took twenty minutes to confirm ID.

Douglas-Elbert-Arapahoe Counties

August 10, 2019

Richard Stevens:

The day felt much nicer with a drop of almost 20 degrees in temperature.  The high today was 73 degrees on the Plains.  Winds were 4-5 mph with gusts to 8 mph.

My target bird today was Dickcissels.  The Dickcissel reported five days ago along Castlewood Canyon Road (Douglas County) was not relocated.  I drove most of the side roads including North Castlewood Canyon Drive loop and North Willow Lake Drive.

The majority birds were Black-billed Magpies.  However, four Vesper Sparrows and a Grasshopper Sparrow were also increased my day list.

Walker Road on the north side of highway 86 also did not have any Dickcissels. The Common Loon summering on Walker Gravel Pond was relatively close to the south end fence.

A stop at a friend's ranch near Franktown discovered that she had a male Northern Cardinal coming to her feeders.  Visits are irregular; she sees him every third or fourth day.  Today happened to one of those good days!

The Dickcissel search in Douglas County was abandoned and continued west into Elbert County.  I stood at the Dickcissel field east of the electric building along Elbert Road (4.1 miles south of Kiowa) for an hour.

The road is busy on Saturday and the constant stream of vehicles made hearing any Dickcissel quite difficult.  Dozens of Black-billed Magpies walked the mowed fields.  Immature Red-winged Blackbirds appeared to prefer the uncut field directly east of the building.

My route back to Denver was by way of Elbert-Kiowa Road.  I tried to detour west to Kiowa Creek whenever a public road allowed.  A Red-headed Woodpecker was observed at Elbert County Road 174 and Kiowa Creek.

Once at Arapahoe County Road 30, I turned west toward Aurora Reservoir.  One detour was south at Arapahoe CR 129.  No Dickcissels were found where they had nested in past years at CR 129 & Orchard Road.

The prairie dog town located 0.7 miles farther south of Orchard did not have any Burrowing Owls today.  Perhaps they have departed for this year?

Instead of turning around, I continued south to County Line Road (Arapahoe-Elbert), then turned east to Kiowa Creek.  No Red-headed Woodpeckers have been reported here this year; however, it was worth looking.

I took County Line Road back west to Smoky Hill Road and continued to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  No highlights encountered at the State Park.  Water levels are extremely high; there is little exposed shore and no shorebirds. 

Adams County

August 9, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature was 92 degrees.  Winds were 18-19 mph with gusts to 29 mph.  Hot winds kept temperatures high well after dark.

I started driving toward the eastern Adams County Roads an hour before sunrise.  By 11:00 am, it was quite hot.  No Mountain Plovers or Cassin's Kingbirds were found in Adams County today.

One of the Burrowing Owls that have been around at the prairie dog town along 160th avenue approximately 0.5 miles west of Yellow Jacket Road since April 19 was still there.

Many stops along 160th avenue did not turn up any Mountain Plovers.  The few birds flying around were Red-winged Blackbirds.  Two Loggerhead Shrikes were the highlights and not too exciting.

With the poor showing in Adams County, I turned southeast and visited Richmil Ranch Open Space (Arapahoe County).  Birding here was not much better when I hiked the nature loop.  Two Cassin's Kingbirds were the highlights.

No additional Cassin's Kingbirds or the Yellow-billed Cuckoo was relocated at Arapahoe County Road 38 and East Bijou Creek this trip.

It was only another 30 miles east to Last Chance, so I headed over there by way of Arapahoe CR 34 and CR 241.  Another Loggerhead Shrike and two McCown's Longspurs were observed along the way.

Last Chance Rest Stop located at Hwy 71 and Hwy 36 in Washington County was very slow.  A Brown Thrasher was the highlight here.  If the Northern Waterthrush was still around, it did not appear today.

I headed for home before the thunderstorm arrived.

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Hike Around Barr Lake

August 8, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High today was 84 degrees.  Winds were 14-15 mph with gusts to 30 mph during the storm.

I the afternoon and before the thunderstorm I wandered around Barr Lake (Adams).  Save for some exercise, the trip was uneventful.  
Eventually I would hike from mile 0.5 to the boat ramp at mile 7.5 and back.
At least the winds kept the mosquitoes at bay.

Nothing uncommon was observed.  No shorebirds or uncommon Gulls were found.  

The windbreak at the entrance was checked for owls and such.  Again nothing uncommon was detected.

At least the 80 degrees temperature felt cool compared to the last couple of days, especially Tuesday's 97 degrees.

A Pleasant Day In Clear Creek County

August 7, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Temperature 55 degrees in Idaho Springs with winds 14-15 mph.

I decided to celebrate my birthday (I forget which one :-) by returning to the mountains and Mt. Evans (Clear Creek County).

Just before sunrise, I was one of the first cars on the upper parking area.  What a fantastic view to start the day!  A White-tailed Ptarmigan was observed walking the steep hillside at the eastern side of the parking area.

Next, I walked to the western side of Summit Lake where two Brown-capped Rosy Finches circled overhead.  Over the next thirty minutes, they would land on the rocky hillside to the north for a brief time and then circle overhead again.

Then I hiked the field east of Summit Lake.  After about an hour, a White-tailed Ptarmigan was observed when he jumped on top of a granite rock.  He called quite often; however, I could not discover the reason or focus of his effort.

While circling Echo Lake Campgrounds I found a male American Three-toed Woodpecker just east of the Mt Captain trailhead.  His distinctive drumming gave his position away.

Many Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and one Rufous Hummingbird were seen around the northwest corner of Echo Lake.  I scoped the lake and eventually found one Barrow's Goldeneye swimming along the eastern side.

A Barrow's Goldeneye has only been reported one other time this summer.  Perhaps the female did not return this year after several years of successfully producing offspring?

Guanella Pass Road (Clear Creek County Road 318) was the next stop.  A thunderstorm blew through, even dropped a little snow.  Perhaps that was the reason no White-tailed Ptarmigan were found when I scoped the hill southeast of the parking area.  

I was not up to hiking up the mountain either side of Guanella Pass Road today.  One Brewer's Sparrow and one Wilson's Warbler were observed through my scope.  The Brewer's Sparrow did not sing; there was no way to identify it as a Timberline Sparrow.

Photos and audio recordings I sent to Dr. Jim Rising ten years ago concluded that Timberline Brewer's Sparrows have been on the mountain in the past.

No Three-toed Woodpeckers appeared at the Guanella Pass Campgrounds.  A lone male Pine Grosbeak flew through the Campgrounds, while a Wilson's Warbler fluttered about the willows along South Clear Creek.

No owls were heard during the drive back down to Georgetown after dark.

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Reynolds Park, Jefferson County

August 6, 2019

Richard Stevens:

I headed to the mountains today to avoid the high temperatures predicted for Denver.  High in Denver was 97 degrees today.  High temperature at Reynolds Park was 70 degrees.  Winds were only 3-4 mph in the forest.

After walking Foxton Road from the western to eastern parking areas an hour before sunrise, I hiked the southern loop at Reynolds Park (Oven Draw to Eagle View to Raven's Roost.)

A Common Poorwill called from somewhere northwest of the western (bigger) parking area.  Misses: no Northern Pygmy-Owls were heard today.

I continued along the Songbird Trail to Oxen Draw and south (uphill) to the intersection of Oxen Draw, Eagle's View & Raven's Roost.  

The distinctive drumming of an American Three-toed Woodpecker came from the east.  With a little bushwhacking a male Three-toed Woodpecker was observed about 40 yards east of Oxen Draw & Eagle's View.

Later continuing up Eagle's View I observed a Dusky Grouse run across the trail.  I lost the bird about 20 yards west of the Trail (no photo).

A possible Dusky Grouse may have called from the Overview at the top of Eagle's View trail.  I was not able to see it.

On the hike down Raven's Roost, a male Williamson's Sapsucker was observed drumming about 15 feet west of the trail (perhaps 300 yards uphill, south of the old service road trail).

Other birds found during the trek included Pygmy Nuthatches, Pine Siskins and two Red Crossbills.  The best sighting was a Virginia's Warbler in the willows along the Songbird trail.  A male Wilson's Warbler was also here.

My hike continued northern loop.  The previously reported Ash-throated Flycatcher was not found.  Highlight was a Plumbeous Vireo near the Chickadee/Hummingbird intersection.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Back to Douglas County

August 5, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Today's high temperature was 89 degrees.  Winds hovered around 10 mph.

After a meeting in Parker, I drove down to the Walker Gravel Pond west of Franktown (Douglas County).

The Common Loon continues on the Pond.  I then walked the Cherry Creek trail south to its end south of highway 86.  Highlight was one of the Eastern Phoebes was along the Creek approximately 300 yards north of the highway 86 bridge.

North of the Bridge birds included a Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, and unidentified Thrush. 

South of the Bridge birds included two Western Bluebirds, another Gray Catbird and a Wilson's Warbler.  House Wrens have not left the area yet.

It was hot, windy and had too many mosquitoes; I decided against continuing to Castlewood Canyon State Park.

More Birding Along I76 (Logan to Morgan Counties)

August 4, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures reached 95 degrees.  Winds were 3-4 mph with afternoon gusts to 22 mph.

Rebecca Kosten and I surveyed the Red Lion Wildlife Area (Logan) at dawn.  An Upland Sandpiper stood on a fence post along highway 138 at approximately 0.3 miles east of the Wildlife Area.

A Common Tern circled the Wildlife Area and disappeared over Little Jumbo Reservoir.  We could not find any Bell's Vireos around Little Jumbo.  

A drive around Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) did not find any uncommon birds.  We scoped the surrounding cattail fields where Least Bitterns have been discovered in the past; none was around today.

On the way to Denver, we stopped at several Wildlife Areas not far off Interstate 76.  By now, it was hot.  No owls or uncommon birds were located at Jean K. Tool Wildlife Area, Brush Wildlife Area or Morgan Ponds Wildlife Area.

Birding Along I76, Sedgwick County

August 3, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Highs only reached the high 80s today.  Winds were 3-4 mph with a few gusts to 9 mph.  

Roger Danka and I birded Sedgwick Bar Wildlife Area at dawn.  We hoped to find an Upland Sandpiper or Eastern Screech-Owl.  An Eastern Screech-Owl was one out of two of our target birds.

A male Red-bellied Woodpecker revealed himself by drumming on a cottonwood tree.  Two Eastern Bluebirds perched on a nearby telephone wire.

Julesburg Wildlife Area was quiet bird-wise.  Nothing uncommon was discovered.  The resident Northern Cardinal did not appear this morning.  

The Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop had few birds.  We managed to relocate Bell's Vireo that fluttered about the willows along the Platte River!

The rapidly heating day ended our birding early.

Saturday, August 3, 2019

Bell's Vireo Outside of Julesburg

August 2, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature today was 86 degrees.  Winds were 6-7 mph until gusts blew to 28 mph at 8:00 pm.

Roger Danka and I birded around Julesburg this morning.  In the afternoon, four of us drove Sedgwick County gravel roads searching for Sprague's Pipits at several historical locations.

Highlight of the day was a Bell's Vireo in willows along the South Platte River at Julesburg Wayside Rest Stop.  No orioles or Red-bellied Woodpecker were around today.  We also explored the area where a Common Ground-Dove was found in November 2011 (without success).

Additional misses: no Sprague's Pipits were found in southeastern Sedgwick County.  Nothing uncommon was encountered at Sand Draw Wildlife Area (Sedgwick).

Jumbo Reservoir

August 1, 2019

Richard Stevens:

A high temperature of 76 degrees was a nice surprise today.  Wind speeds of 4-5 mph added to the pleasurable day. Late evening thunderstorms brought with them gusts of 21 mph.

Our birding comprised of a slow drive around Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick).  Nothing uncommon was on the lake and few birds moved around.

The highlight was a calling Great Crested Flycatcher in the cottonwoods northwest of the northern Campgrounds.  The tree was on private property; we caught glimpses of the bird however no photos.

We searched for the pair of Eastern Screech-Owls that have been in the same area for half a dozen years.  There was no sign of the owls today.

Jackson Reservoir

July 31, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperatures today reached 89 degrees.  Hot winds blew across the plains at 7-8 mph and then afternoon storms brought winds of 14-15 mph.

Rebecca and I went to a friend's ranch in Sedgwick County for his birthday barbecue.  An added bonus was seeing the pair of Long-eared Owls nesting on his property.  Roger also has a pair of resident Eastern Screech-Owls!

Along the drive, we stopped at Jackson Reservoir (Morgan).  One Long-eared Owl was deep in the woods south of Pelican Campgrounds; no other owls were detected.

While we searched for longspurs and Burrowing Owls along the gravel roads north of the reservoir, we observed a Common Tern flying along the northern shore!