Monday, December 9, 2019

Eastern Colorado Birding Trip

December 7-8, 2019

Richard Stevens:

December 7

High temperature in Wray was 56 degrees.  Winds were 2-3 mph.

Rob Baker and I headed to Wray by way of Hwy 59 (near Joes).  Two county roads north of Joes were searched unsuccessfully for Greater Prairie-Chickens.

We continued to the Republican Wildlife Area (a.k.a. Bonny Reservoir, Yuma).  At Fosters Grove, we found a Long-eared Owl (windbreak) and ten Wild Turkey (along CR 3).  The absence of songbirds and sparrows was surprising.

Birds were scarce at the old Wagon Wheel Campgrounds.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker was spotted during a hike along the southern gated road, which is quite overgrown with vegetation.

After lunch in Burlington, we drove back north.  We searched Fairview Cemetery north Burlington for Pine Warblers and other uncommon birds.  Two Red Crossbills were the most interesting birds there.

A couple of hour's walk around the Republican Wildlife Area (Hale ponds) found two Eastern Bluebirds (CR 4), a male Red-bellied Woodpecker and an Eastern Screech-Owl (called shortly after sunset).

December 8

Our target birds this morning along Yuma CR 45 were Greater Prairie-Chickens and Short-eared Owls.  We drove to CR 45 by Yuma CR P.  I have seen Short-eared Owls on several occasions near the bend where CR P turns into CR 45; none was around this morning.

Fortune shined, a male Greater Prairie-Chicken was observed in the field south of CR 45 (between the gravel road to the CR 45 lek and Hwy 385).

The highlight of the trip for me was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker just south of the Community Hospital.  We missed the resident Red-bellied Woodpeckers.  Two local birders had seen one along the draw just east of the Hospital about 10 minutes before our arrival.

Nothing uncommon was found at Stalker Lake.  We searched the cattails below the parking area for a stray wren (Winter, Marsh or House).  We could not find the resident Northern Cardinal at Wray Fishing Unit.

A brief stop at Washington Country Club Golf Course Park did not find any uncommon birds.  Jackson Reservoir (Morgan) did not add any uncommon birds to our trip list.

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