Colorado ’13

Marge and Renee overlook the New Mexico Prairie from atop the Capulan Volcano

Marge and Renee overlook the New Mexico Prairie from atop the Capulan Volcano

Western Grebes

Western Grebes

Bushtit

Bushtit

This Prairie Falcon couldn't have been more cooperative!

This Prairie Falcon couldn’t have been more cooperative!

one of six Sage Thrashers were found at Pawnee National Grasslands

one of six Sage Thrashers were found at Pawnee National Grasslands


September 9, 2013:
PAWNEE NATIONAL GRASSLANDS

Today we birded the Pawnee National Grasslands in northern Colorado. We had many great birds and found many of our target species. Unfortunately, we must have been a little late for Longspurs. We found none of either species in a full day of searching. We did have some nice finds and excellent views of the birds. Highlights of the day included: Burrowing Owl, Yellow-headed Blackbird, PLUMBEOUS VIREO, Western Tanager, SAGE THRASHER, Vesper Sparrows, Clay-colored Sparrows, Rock Wren, Horned Lark, Western Meadowlark, PRAIRIE FALCON, FERRUGINOUS HAWK and many more! For me, the killer views of the Prairie Falcon were the highlight of the day. From the grasslands, we moved on to Longmont, Colorado where we will be stationed the next three days. Rocky Mountain National Park will be our first destination in the morning.

Colorado Flooding
This morning we awoke to an emergency situation in Longmont, Colorado. The Weather Channel has referred to it as an Epic Event of Biblical Proportions. 15 Inches of rain fell on Boulder County in just 48 hours. That is a total of 5.3 Billion gallons of water on a single county. The entire state was subject to similar circumstances. A dam had broken/burst overnight, washing away several homes and killing three people. This was all only ten miles from us and we were forced to leave the area with extreme flash flooding and heavy rains predicted for the next couple of days. Just south of us a fourth person perished in the flood. Our condolences and prayers are with the people of Longmont. We moved south as quickly as we could in torrential rains. Once we reached southern Colorado, we caught a break and the rain stopped for several hours. We managed to bird two excellent locations during the afternoon. Pueblo Lake State Park in Pueblo and Lathrop State Park in Walsenburg. We had some great birds. CASSIN’S KINGBIRD, Bushtit, Clark’s and Western Grebe, WESTERN SCRUB-JAY, Spotted Towhee, BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD, LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER, Lesser Goldfinch and many more. We managed to have a good day before the rains started again around 5pm. We are forced to leave Colorado entirely since the forecast continues to be bleak. Tomorrow we will bird one area near Trinidad, Colorado and then move on to New Mexico and Texas.

Western Scrub-jay

Western Scrub-jay

Friday 9/13/13:
This morning we birded Trinadad Lake State Park in Trinidad, Colorado. It was really a nice park and we had many birds. Highlights of the location included Clark’s Grebe, Western Tanager, Cassin’s Kingbird, WESTERN BLUEBIRD, Baltimore Oriole, Black and Forster’s Terns, Blue Grosbeak and Plumbeous Vireo. When we finished there, we moved on to New Mexico. Our first stop there Sugarite Canyon State Park. We had many Stellar’s Jays, Yellow-rumped Warblers, White-throated Swifts, Rufous and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and Lesser Goldfinches. We then moved on to Capulin Volcano National Monument. This is an old Volcanic cinder cone that rises 1,300 feet above the prairie floor. It was a really nice stop and besides the great views, it was quite birdy. We had CALLIOPE, Rufous and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, House Finches, Rock Wrens, Peregrine Falcons, Western Wood Pewee and Spotted Towhees to name a few. From here we continued to Clayton State Park. We had many of the same species but also CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN, Osprey and Blue-gray Gnatcatchers. The highlight of this spot were the DINOSAUR TRACKS! There are tracks of 8 species of dinosaur, including both herbivores and carnivores. There are also tracks of a baby Iguanadon, which is an extremely rare find anywhere in the world. Infant and juvenile dinosaurs almost never left tracks that could be preserved by nature. We had very little rain that occurred during our birding time today.

Dinosaur tracks at Clayton State Park, New Mexico

Dinosaur tracks at Clayton State Park, New Mexico


a Mule Deer buck inside the crater at the Capulan Volcano

a Mule Deer buck inside the crater at the Capulan Volcano


Calliope Hummingbird on  feeders at Capulan Volcano National Monument

Calliope Hummingbird on feeders at Capulan Volcano National Monument

Texas and Oklahoma
This morning 9/14, we headed into Texas. (I never would have guessed I would be in Texas again this year). Our destination was a National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma. We had a great day in spite of the fact that most of it was traveling. Our first surprise of the day was at Dalhart, Texas when 8 MISSISSIPPI KITES were flying overhead right in town. We had quite a few unexpected birds throughout the day as we traversed much grassland habitat. A Marbled Godwit at a flooded field in Texas was an unexpected bonus for the trip. We traveled on to Clinton, Oklahoma and the Wichita National Wildlife Refuge. We had an abundance of birds here. Highlights included: Yellow-headed Blackbird, Yellow-billed Cuckoo, Carolina Chickadee, Scissor-tailed Flycatcher and many more. Warblers included, Nashville, Wilson’s and Pine. Orchard Orioles were a surprise. This seems to me to be a late date, but we had three of them. The best finds of the day were more TARANTULAS than I had seen in my life. They seemed to be everywhere, and we spent a good part of our time getting them out of the roads. Not to be left out were the Box Turtles. They too were in the road at every turn and we rescued many of them as well. It was an interesting day, and for the first time in a week, we had no rain.

one of more than a dozen or so Tarantulas we saw today in Texas and Oklahoma

one of more than a dozen or so Tarantulas we saw today in Texas and Oklahoma


one of the many Box Turtles we found in Texas and Oklahoma today

one of the many Box Turtles we found in Texas and Oklahoma today

a molting Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Oklahoma

a molting Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Oklahoma


one of a dozen Mississippi Kites seen today in Texas and Oklahoma

one of a dozen Mississippi Kites seen today in Texas and Oklahoma

Today, 9/15 , we made our way east through Oklahoma and Missouri. Our only real birding destination for the day was Wildcat Glades Conservation and Audubon Center in Joplin, Missouri. While for the most part, we are getting in to typical species of the north east, we still had some birds that aren’t typical of New York. We had many Carolina Chickadees and a beautiful KENTUCKY WARBLER. A breeding species and quite common at this spot, we only saw the one as the birds have begun migrating. Tomorrow, we head to St. Louis and some wildlife refuges in that area with some specific targets in mind. Tune in to see how we make out. From there we went to Winfield Lock and Dam on the Mississippi River. Here the highlights were a dozen Red-headed Woodpeckers and 500 American White Pelicans.

9/16
Today we headed to Clarence Cannon National Wildlife Refuge near Annada, Missouri. One of our main targets for the area was the EURASIAN TREE SPARROW. We found 75 of these birds in the small town of Foley, Missouri just south of the wildlife refuge. At the refuge we had many warblers, waders, swallows and shorebirds including 2 American Golden-plover.

a rather dark shot of one of the many Eurasian Tree Sparrows we had in Foley, Missouri

a rather dark shot of one of the many Eurasian Tree Sparrows we had in Foley, Missouri


9/17
Continuing to make our way eastward, we visited Lieber State Park in Ohio. We had many warblers here highlighted by several Tennessee Warblers and a Philadelphia Vireo. On to Lydick Road. We had many common warblers and vireos at this site. Our second Eastern Screech-owl of the trip was here as well.

9/18
Today we visited Erie National Wildlife Refuge in Pennsylvania. We had a abundance of migrants here including many warblers and vireos. From there we headed home.

In Summary:
We had a very interesting trip which had many surprises and an itinerary that was unexpected as well. The history making floods in Colorado changed our plans entirely and we were very fortunate to have escaped the disaster without any real problems. Again, we wish the people of Colorado a speedy recovery from this unfortunate event. Having re-routed our trip, we managed to get quite a few very interesting birds and make the best of the situation. I will post the total trip list in the coming days.

Colorado Trip List September 2013 Included: New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Missouri, Indiana, Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Renee Davis, Marge Gorton, John Haas
* new year bird
1. Western Grebe
2. Clark’s Grebe
3. American White Pelican
4. Double-crested Cormorant
5. Great Blue Heron
6. Great Egret
7. Canada Goose
8. Green-winged Teal
9. American Wigeon
10.Blue-winged Teal
11. Wood Duck
12. Mallard
13. Northern Shoveler
14. Northern Pintail
15. Turkey Vulture
16. Bald Eagle
17. Osprey
18. MISSISSIPPI KITE*
19. Northern Harrier
20. Swainson’s Hawk
21. Red-tailed Hawk
22. FERRUGINOUS HAWK*
23. Sharp-shinned Hawk
24. Cooper’s Hawk
25. American Kestrel
26. PRAIRIE FALCON*
27. Peregrine Falcon
28. American Coot
29. Killdeer
30. American Golden-plover
31. Least Sandpiper
32. Spotted Sandpiper
33. Baird’s Sandpiper
34. LONG-BILLED CURLEW*
35. Marbled Godwit
36. Greater Yellowlegs
37. Lesser Yellowlegs
38. Franklin’s Gull
39. Ring-billed Gull
40. California Gull
41. Black Tern
42. Forster’s Tern
43. Rock Dove
44. Mourning Dove
45. Eurasian Collared Dove
46. Yellow-billed Cuckoo
47. Burrowing Owl
48. Eastern Screech-owl
49. Great Horned Owl
50. Chimney Swift
51. White-throated Swift
52. Chimney Swift
53. BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD*
54. Rufous Hummingbird
55. CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD*
56. Ruby-throated Hummingbird
57. Red-headed Woodpecker
58. Northern Flicker
59. RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER*
60. Downy Woodpecker
61. Hairy Woodpecker
62. LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER*
63. Pileated Woodpecker
64. Mountain Chickadee
65. Black-capped Chickadee
66. Carolina Chickadee
67. White-breasted Nuthatch
68. Pygmy Nuthatch
69. Bushtit
70. WESTERN WOOD PEWEE*
71. Olive-sided Flycatcher
72. Say’s Phoebe
73. Western Kingbird
74. Eastern Kingbird
75. CASSIN’S KINGBIRD*
76. Scissor-tailed Flycatcher
77. Horned Lark
78. Barn Swallow
79. Blue Jay
80. Stellar’s Jay
81. WESTERN SCRUB-JAY*
82. American Crow
83. Fish Crow
84. Black-billed Magpie
85. Common Raven
86. CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN*
87. Rock Wren
88. House Wren
89. Carolina Wren
90. American Dipper
91. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
92. Mountain Bluebird
93. WESTERN BLUEBIRD*
94. Eastern Bluebird
95. Townsend’s Solitaire
96. Swainson’s Thrush
97. American Robin
98. SAGE THRASHER*
99. Brown Thrasher
100. Gray Catbird
101. Cedar Waxwing
102. Northern Mockingbird
103. Loggerhead Shrike
104. European Starling
105. PLUMBEOUS VIREO*
106. Philadelphia Vireo
107. Red-eyed Vireo
108. Yellow Warbler
109. Yellow-rumped Warbler
110. Wilson’s Warbler
111. Pine Warbler
112. Nashville Warbler
113. Tennessee Warbler
114. Magnolia Warbler
115. American Redstart
116. Blackburnian Warbler
117. Black-throated Green Warbler
118. Scarlet Tanager
119. Western Tanager
120. Green-tailed Towhee
121. Spotted Towhee
122. Eastern Towhee
123. Chipping Sparrow
124. Song Sparrow
125. Clay-colored Sparrow
126. Field Sparrow
127. Vesper Sparrow
128. Lark Sparrow
129. Lark Bunting
130. White-crowned Sparrow
131. Western Meadowlark
132. Eastern Meadowlark
133. Yellow-headed Blackbird
134. Red-winged Blackbird
135. Common Grackle
136. Great-tailed Grackle
137. Brown-headed Cowbird
138. Baltimore Oriole
139. Orchard Oriole
140. House Finch
141. Lesser Goldfinch
142. American Goldfinch
143. Pine Siskin
144. EURASIAN TREE SPARROW*
145. House Sparrow

9 Responses to Colorado ’13

  1. Ken says:

    John, I wish I knew you were going to the Pawneee Grasslands. Years ago Joan and I stayed at an excellent B&B at a ranch there and I have returned several times when I was in the area. The hospitality is outstanding as is the food and friendship of the owners. Be sure to let me know if you ever get that way again. Their place is called The West Pawnee Ranch B&B and her name is Louanne Timm.

    I hope the rest of the trip goes well for you all.

  2. Thanks Ken, It is now much better, we are in New Mexico and the rain has finally stopped here. John

  3. Cathy Dawkins says:

    John – Glad to see you’re out of CO…the news from there just seems to get worse and worse and I was, frankly, a little nervous about you!

    • Cathy,
      Thank you so much for your concern. We had some hairy moments, but fortunately made a quick decision to get out that morning before It got worse. If we hadn’t left when we did, we would have been stuck there indefinitely. All is well now, and I will be home in a couple of days. Thank you again, John

  4. Truth Muller says:

    John,

    Thanks so much for sharing all these great photos and stories! Glad you guys finally escaped the rainy weather. I was unaware that the US had wild tarantulas!

  5. Love the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher – great shot!

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