Thursday, February 6, 2020

Birding Around Adams County

February 6, 2020

Richard Stevens:

The high temperature was 37 degrees; it felt warm after the last few days.  Winds were 9-10 mph with gusts to 14 mph.  Another snowstorm is forecasted for the next few days.

A stop at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) found both Lake Ladora and Lower Derby Lake completely ice covered and without one Gull or waterfowl.

Then, I walked the South Platte Birding Area from 88th avenue to hwy 224 (Adams).  No Barrow's Goldeneyes found today.  A Say's Phoebe, Northern Shrike and half a dozen American Tree Sparrows were seen.  

In order of visit:

Many lakes were scoped for the Long-tailed Duck.  Its recent venue East Gravel Lakes had almost no waterfowl and was mostly ice covered.

West Gravel Lakes had two pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, a pair of Common Mergansers and many Hooded Mergansers, no Long-tailed Duck.

East Gravel Lakes was mostly ice covered and had no waterfowl.  Three dozen Ring-billed Gulls and one Herring Gull was the bird count there.  No parking signs have been posted on the northern side; I had to walk from the 88th avenue parking area to see the Lake.

South Dahlia Pond had the most open water.  The Long-tailed Duck was swimming around just south of the halfway point.  Many American Coots, a dozen Common Goldeneye and a few Gadwalls were also there.

I checked North Dahlia Pond because of some birders have reported a second Long-tailed Duck.   This pond was the most ice free and had dozens of Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes, American Coots, Northern Shovelers and Gadwalls however no Long-tailed Ducks.

A pair of Great-tailed Grackles was at the south end of the Town of Barr.  A Bald Eagle was on a nest just east of Town, north side of Barr Lake.  Barr Lake itself was almost completely ice covered.

My birding day ended by parking along W. Cargo Road, 0.2 miles south of Third Creek.  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

Mountain Birding

February 1-3, 2020

Richard Stevens:

February 1

High temperature today was 34 degrees in Gould.  Winds were 7-8 mph with gusts to 14 mph.

Rebecca and I headed up to Gould to enjoy Colorado's fantastic winter.  On the trip up we made a detour to Warren Lake (Larimer).  It appeared to be the "Gull hotspot" this month.

Without giving our final decision, we did see the reported Slaty-backed Gull, Glaucous-winged Gull and two Iceland Gulls among a horde of more common gulls.

We stopped at Joe Wright Reservoir, the Summit of Cameron Pass and then walked highway 14 for about a half mile west of the Pass.  Only one Boreal Owl was heard this night; it was 0.2 miles west of the Summit.

February 2

The high of 32 degrees was similar to yesterday.  Winds grew at 9-10 mph with gusts to 21 mph.

On the way to breakfast in Walden, we drove around the small town.  A flock of 40 Rosy Finches was over the School!  We picked out two Brown-capped Rosy Finches among the Gray-crowned Rosy Finches.  No Black Rosy Finches were observed.

Another 400 Rosy Finches (3 species) were observed at a friend's ranch.  Most of the day was spent playing bridge.  After dark, we listened for owls along highway 14 toward Gould.  None was heard this night.

February 3

Another day of high 30 temperatures, winds were 13-14 mph with gusts to 23 mph.

Before sunrise, we drove Jackson CR 26 in search of Greater Sage-Grouse.  None was encountered this morning.  A few hardy Horned Larks were just about all found. 

No Rosy Finches were around Walden this morning.  Nothing uncommon was found from Walden Reservoir to Rand to Gould.

We enjoyed cross-country skiing into the Colorado State Forest.  No uncommon birds to report; however, the American Three-toed Woodpecker was again drumming north of the Visitor's Center.

We were met by Terry Michaels and Sue Ehlmann and drove highway 14 after dark unsuccessfully searching for owls.

February 4-5, 2020

Richard Stevens:

High temperatures reached 13 degrees in Steamboat Springs.  Lows at Summit Lake (Buffalo Pass Road) dipped into -20s.

Terry Michaels and I enjoyed quite an adventure.  We took snowmobiles up Buffalo Pass and camped overnight.  Low temperature at Summit Lake February 4 into 5 was close to -20 degrees.  It tested our sleeping bags, which are rated to -40 degrees.  We stayed comfortable; however getting up in the morning was brutal. 

During the trip, we found three American Three-toed Woodpeckers and a Northern Pygmy-Owl.

On the afternoon of the 5th, we moved to Forest Road 550 near the town of Columbine.  No additional American Three-toed Woodpeckers or owls were encountered; however, we did pick up a Dusky Grouse sighting for the trip!

We would have enjoyed staying in the mountains; however, forecast calls for 2-3 feet of additional snow in the area.