Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Rare Migrants (mostly Weld County) 5/16 plus a few birds on 5/14

On 5/14 I decided to go up to Lake Estes. All I can say about this was, wow, it was very slow. The best bird was probably a Cedar Waxwing.
                                                    Cedar Waxwing

                                            Wyoming Ground-Squirrel

I then stopped at Viestenz-Smith Park on the way down the Big Thompson Canyon. This place was very birdy with lots of singing Virginia's Warblers, Lazuli Buntings, and Black-headed Grosbeaks (256). I also saw a lot of butterflies and the butterfly photos that I was able to get is on my photo website at
                                               Black-headed Grosbeak

I decided to check the Cattail Pond area for any returning Bobolink. After a 20 minute search just as I was about to get back in my car I started hearing one sing. The the Bobolink (257) flew directly over my head heading towards the west and disappearing.
Just as I was pulling up to my house after work at about 11:30 PM I heard a bird calling out of my open window and quickly realized it was a migrating Upland Sandpiper (258).

On 5/17 I made a stop at Duck Lake, Kechter Pit, and Timnath Reservoir, but didn't find anything of interest.

I got up early on 5/18 to go to Crow Valley in Weld County and other areas with Cade Cropper as I was giving up on my Larimer County big year for one morning. At first it seemed Crow Valley was fairly slow, other than the Swainson's Thrush migration. Almost immediately Cade was able to find one Veery, but I missed it. Eventually we were able to find 2 others. While walking along the west side of the campground we found a female SUMMER TANAGER hanging out with a Western Tanager. We then saw a Plumbeous Vireo and heard a singing Ovenbird. We also saw a female Rose-breasted Grosbeak that was found earlier in the morning. We also met Andrew Core, a birder from Arizona that will be working in Fort Collins for the next few weeks and he decided to join us for the rest of the birding day.
                                                   Summer Tanager

                                                  Western Tanager

                                                Rose-breasted Grosbeak

Our next stop was Norma's Grove also in Weld County. I happened to see a bright yellow bird hoping along a log and let the others know. Then Andrew saw it well and called out KENTUCKY WARBLER. It was the most cooperative Kentucky Warbler I have ever seen and got quite a few photos of it. We also found a singing Tennessee Warbler, another Veery, and a Cassin's Kingbird along with a number of late White-crowned Sparrows, 2 Yellow-breasted Chats, and a Red-headed Woodpecker.
                                                Kentucky Warbler


We then took off towards the Wellington area to again try for Larimer County migrants. Our first several stops were fairly slow with the best and only good bird being a male Orchard Oriole.
We then got to Steve and Kathy Martin's House. It was a fairly slow day and we were almost ready to start heading to our cars when we started to hear a grosbeak singing, so we decided to try to track it down. Before we could find the grosbeak Andrew saw a bright red bird that turned out to be a male SCARLET TANAGER (259). We watched and photographed it for over 30 minutes as it was difficult to leave such a neat looking bird. It was the first time I had seen this species in Larimer County and that got my Larimer County life list up to 373. Just before we left we did see a male Black-headed Grosbeak.
                                                   Scarlet Tanager

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Wellington 5/12 and Bobcat Ridge 5/13

On 5/13 I met up with Cade Cropper early in the morning to head to Wellington to check out some migrant traps. Our first stop was at Cobb Lake. We started off strong with a lot of common birds, but didn't get anything unexpected. We then went to the Prairie Dog Colony on County Line Road and saw 3 Burrowing Owls. A stop at a house on County Road 62 seemed to be disappointing until we got in the car and started driving off. I then heard a Least Flycatcher sing and we got out and immediately found an adult male AMERICAN REDSTART (240). We then saw a Swainson's Thrush, Bullock's Oriole, heard a Warbling Vireo, and a Clay-colored Sparrow (241).
A stop at some ponds in Wellington SWA on CR 3 produced a few shorebirds, which included some Killdeer, 12 Long-billed Dowitchers, 3 Stilt Sandpipers, 1 Spotted Sandpipers, 2 American Avocets, 1 Wilson's Phalarope, and 2 White-faced Ibis.
At a small marsh with willows and trees beneath Indian Creek Reservoir was also productive. We got out of the car and immediately found an adult male ORCHARD ORIOLE (242). While trying to get Cade on the bird I found a Gray Catbird (243) and we eventually had a second one at this location. When we walked into the trees we saw yet another adult male AMERICAN REDSTART and a Lincoln's Sparrow.
At North Poudre Reservoir #3 we saw a Bonaparte's Gull standing next to a Franklin's Gull. The most interesting birds was a pair of Mute Swans of unknown origin. Although I am not sure where they could have come from.
Steve and Kathy Martin's House was very productive. There was a lot of Swainson's Thrushes and quite a few Lincoln's Sparrows. We then found a Clay-colored Sparrow with a number of Chipping Sparrows. In the same area we found a Wilson's Warbler with a Yellow Warbler. Also in the same area we heard a Grasshopper Sparrow (244) singing. On the west side of their house while I was trying to identify what turned out to be a Lincoln's Sparrow, Cade found a NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH (245), which we got great looks at and heard it sing a couple of times.
We then made a stop at Kechter Pit. There was nothing of interest on the water, but I was able to find a Green-tailed Towhee in the Rabbitbrush close by.
On my way to work I made 2 quick stops. The first was along the Big Thompson Bike Trail. Here I saw several Swainson's Thrushes. I also found a singing BLACKPOLL WARBLER (246).
Duck Lake was again productive, but I didn't see anything new. Still lots of Sanderling, Stilt Sandpipers, Long-billed Dowitchers, 2 Willets, 1 Black-necked Stilt, and 1 Marbled Godwit.

On 5/13 I decided to go on the Bobcat Ridge Bird Survey. I showed up at 7:00, which is when it said on the webpage the time it started. When I arrived there was nobody there, only their cars, so I assumed they decided to start earlier. When I was just about to start on my walk Sklyer Bol and his mom Cree showed up and they had also heard it started at 7:00. We decided to do our own survey with doing a majority of the same route. On the route we ended up with 51 species for the morning. Our first good bird was a singing Least Flycatcher, which we ended up getting two more on the walk. We found a lot of Lazuli Buntings (147), but we also found 1 male INDIGO BUNTING (149). Before finding the Indigo Bunting we heard and saw a couple of Yellow-breasted Chats (148) which we ended with double digits. We then met up with the group and had a 5 minute talk about what we had seen up to that point. A short while later I heard my first of many Blue-gray Gnatcatchers (150). We got to an overlook and heard what sounded like a Virginia's Warbler. We made a 5 minute walk and got to the area where the warbler was singing. We then eventually saw it and it was indeed a Virginia's Warbler (151). On our hike back up to the trail we heard and then saw a Western Tanager (152) and ended with 2 for the day. When we got fairly close to the cars we found a kingbird in the field. I immediately called it a Western, but it still looked a little strange, so I kept an eye on it. It then flew by us and the reason it looked strange was because it was actually a CASSIN'S KINGBIRD (153). In the same area we then heard a Grasshopper Sparrow. When we got back to the cars I heard a flycatcher call and Skyler got a brief view of it. It then began to sing and I realized it was a GRAY FLYCATCHER (154). Other interesting birds included 2 Golden Eagles, several Bullock's Orioles, 2 Brewer's Blackbirds, 1 Say's Phoebe, 1 singing Gray Catbird, 3 Green-tailed Towhees, 1 Ruby-crowned Kinglet, 1 Brewer's Sparrow, and 1 White-throated Swift.
I then went with my family to Estes. I made a quick walk to the bird sanctuary to look for a reported Rose-breasted Grosbeak and Hooded Warbler, but failed on both of those. My best 2 birds were a Western Tanager and Common Yellowthroat. We then drove into the park and found a group of 3 male Wild Turkeys. On the way up towards Trail Ridge I found a Band-tailed Pigeon (155) doing its display flight. We didn't have any other birds of interest in the area.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Cold Cloudy Day and some Birding 5/11

On 5/9 I saw two eastern Warbling Vireos (235) at Fossil Creek Reservoir.
Unfortunately on this cold cloudy day I had to work in the middle of migration. So, like usual, I took my lunch break to go check out Timnath Reservoir. This was a great idea. As I was pulling up into the park I noticed quite a few Lark Sparrows sitting on the wires, eventually I spotted a Vesper Sparrow and a Lark Bunting (236). Getting closer in the park I noticed there were thousands of swallows on the wires and flying around the area. After scanning the reservoir I realized there was approximately 9,000 Cliff Swallows, 500 Tree Swallows, 360 Violet-green Swallows, 120 Barn Swallows, 12 Bank Swallows, and 8 Northern Rough-winged Swallows. Also while scanning the reservoir I noticed lots of Wilson's Phalaropes with a few Red-necked mixed in. I then saw 5 shorebirds flying around over the reservoir. I noticed they were peeps (not phalaropes) with white rumps. These 5 birds were WHITE-RUMPED SANDPIPER (237). I then found a large flock of Chipping Sparrows and on the east side of the reservoir I had a single Brewer's Sparrow. In total I saw 50 species of birds on my lunch break.
                                                       Cliff Swallow

                                                       Cliff Swallow

                                                       Cliff Swallow

                                                       Cliff Swallow

                                                       Cliff Swallow

                                                       Tree Swallow

                                                       Tree Swallow

                                                       Tree Swallow

                                                  Violet-green Swallow

                                                  Violet-green Swallow

                                                    Eastern Kingbird

                                                       Lark Sparrow

After work I decided to try to check out what other water-like birds might be around in this fallout. 
A stop a Kechter Pit was fairly productive as a Marbled Godwit was standing on one of the small islands. Other birds included a Great Egret, 3 Least Sandpipers, 3 Forster's Terns, and 4 Spotted Sandpipers (2 of which I saw displaying and eventually copulating). 
I then hurried over to Duck Lake and it was by far the best stop of the day. I quickly picked up on several SANDERLING (238) and eventually counted 26, which according to ebird is by far the largest flock seen in Larimer County as the previous highest total was 8. These were also the first Sanderling I have ever seen in Larimer County in the spring and according to ebird they were the earliest seen in Larimer County. I then continued to scan the lake as I waited for Cade Cropper to come and see the Sanderling. I then came across a large flock of Long-billed Dowitchers, but quickly realized about half of them were STILT SANDPIPER (139). In total there was about 45 Long-billed Dowitchers and 42 Stilt Sandpipers. Other birds around were 4 Willets, 11 American Avocets, 1 Semipalmated Plover, 212 Wilson's Phalaropes, 35 Red-necked Phalaropes, and most of the regular ducks.

I made a quick stop at the marsh on Timberline south of Carpenter, but nothing of interest. 
A stop at the dairy pond on the north side of Horseshoe Lake held 1 Wilson's and 4 Red-necked Phalaropes. There was also 1 American Avocet and 4 Killdeer (2 of which were fledglings).
                                                Red-necked Phalarope

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Early Migrants 5/3 to 5/8 including 19 year birds

On 5/3 I walked the Big Thompson Bike Trail one of the first birds I heard when I got out of my car at the Softball Fields was a towhee. It didn't sound right for a Spotted Towhee, but sounded more like an Eastern Towhee. I only heard it twice and a search came up empty. Between Roosevelt and 1st Street I was finding there was a Yellow-rumped Warbler fallout. After I was getting closer to 1st Street I started hearing a bird sing. It was singing about once a minute. I eventually saw it and knew by both the song and the brief view that it was indeed a PALM WARBLER (216). I continued on, but when I came back I started looking for the Palm Warbler again and instead started hearing a LEAST FLYCATCHER (217) singing and I finally got looks at this bird also.
In the afternoon I decided to chase a Black-chinned Hummingbird that was found at Dixon Reservoir. I found a Yellow-rumped Warbler and Orange-crowned Warbler. I then found the Black-chinned Hummingbird (218) in the same place it was reported.
I then drove over to Kechter Pit to see Forster's Terns, Least Sandpipers, Spotted Sandpipers, and Semipalmated Plovers.
A stop at Duck Lake was very productive for shorebirds. I was able to find 1 Whimbrel, 1 Willet, 13 Long-billed Dowitchers (219), over 300 Wilson's Phalaropes, 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, 20 American Avocets, and several Killdeer.
We then stopped at a pond on Timberline Road between Carpenter Road and CR 30. Here we found a large flock of ibis. We quickly picked up on a Glossy Ibis (220). Shortly after most of those birds flew as another larger flock was flying in. We found yet another Glossy Ibis with this flock.

On 5/4 Cheri Orwig and I decided to do my 25 mile survey route I have been doing once month this year. We made a quick stop on the way at Cobb Lake. Here I heard a Common Yellowthroat (221) and on the way out we found a Western Kingbird and Eastern Kingbird (222) hanging out together. Between mile 8 and 9 we made a stop at a house with a good grove of trees with a canal. We had a lot of birds, but nothing rare. The most interesting being Green-tailed Towhee and Chipping Sparrows. On mile 16, which is at small marsh with willows and other trees around it underneath Indian Creek Reservoir we had our best stop. Here we had a Yellow Warbler (223), Yellow-rumped Warbler, Brown Thrasher, and Lincoln's Sparrow. I briefly saw a bird that looked like a Black-throated Gray Warber, but didn't see it again.
We then stopped at the reservoirs north of Wellington and the Martin's House, but the only interesting bird was a Brown Thrasher.
After I got off work at 9:30 PM I picked up Cade Cropper and we were going looking, or rather listening, for rails and bitterns. Our first stop was at Running Deer Natural Area in Fort Collins. We quickly got some Virginia Rails to call back to playback. It took a bit longer, but we eventually got a couple Sora (224) to start calling. A try for the bitterns didn't produce anything. We decided to try for the rare rails. Black Rail, no luck. We then played the King Rail tape and after about 10 seconds of silence we heard a response from a KING RAIL (225). We made stops at other marshes, but the only marsh birds we had was Virginia Rails, Wilson's Snipe, and Marsh Wrens.

On 5/6 I again took a walk along the Big Thompson Bike Trail. It was a fairly slow day, but I was able to see a Chimney Swift (226) flying over 1st Street. On my way to work I made stops at Duck Lake and Kechter Pit. Nothing interesting at Kechter Pit. Duck Lake on the other hand again had a lot of shorebirds. Those include 330 Wilson's Phalaropes, 12 RED-NECKED PHALAROPE (227), 20 American Avocets, 6 Killdeer, 2 Greater Yellowlegs, 2 Least Sandpipers, 2 Semipalmated Plovers, 2 Willets, 3 Marbled Godwits, and 3 Long-billed Dowitchers.

The only birding I did on 5/7 was a stop at Kechter Pit on my way to work. I found yet more shorebirds. There was a group of dowitchers that consisted of 14 Long-billed and 2 SHORT-BILLED (228). I also saw both regular species of kingbirds in the area.

On 5/8 I decided to get up and walk yet again the Big Thompson Bike Trail. This time things had changed. Walking from the Softball Fields on Highway 287 I was walking west. When I got to the first diversion dam I spotted a BLACK PHOEBE (229) flycatching over the river. About 200 meters west from there I stopped where I had the Palm Warbler on the 3rd. It was very birdy at this spot. I was able to find Yellow Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, and an interesting sounding flycatcher that I never identified. I then started hearing a BLACK-AND-WHITE WARBLER (230) singing. Right as I started trying to see it I got a call from Scott Rashid that a Hooded Warbler had just been found in Estes below the Lake Estes dam. So, I walked quickly to my car for the drive up.
I arrived below the Lake Estes dam about an hour later to see a bunch of birders standing out in the field looking across the river. I hurried across the field and immediately found the male HOODED WARBLER (231). I then started catching up with Scott and a few others while trying to locate a Magnolia Warbler they found just before I arrived. On my way over to them they found it, but quickly lost it and I lost out yet again. While we were scanning the area it was just seen I found a male Wilson's Warbler (232). Everyone left while I was still looking for it and I traveled up and down the river with no luck. Just before I got up to my car I refound the flock of Yellow-rumped Warblers. I got out my phone and used playback of the Magnolia Warbler song. After a minute of playing the tape the MAGNOLIA WARBLER (233) flew into view.
After I got back to Loveland I met up with Cade Cropper to walk along the Big Thompson River again looking for the species I found earlier. Unfortunately it was mid-afternoon on our walk and things were quiet. When we got between Wilson and Taft Cade found a Swainson's Thrush (234). We also saw the pair of nesting Eastern Phoebes. On the way back towards the car we saw a pair of Say's Phoebes making it a three phoebe day along the Big Thompson River which is probably the first time it has happened in Larimer County.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Shorebirds, including Reeve 5/2

Today was my first day of work in a week and a half. On my lunch break I went to Timnath Reservoir. On my drive in I found a Western Kingbird (210) on a fence. The lake itself had a lot of birds but nothing unusual. The most exciting thing was the number of grebes. There was over 200 of each Eared, Horned, and Western, plus about 50 Pied-billed and a few Clark's. The most interesting duck was a continuing male Canvasback. On my drive out just before getting to the end of the dirt road I heard a Lark Sparrow (211) singing. I got out and found it sitting in the distance sitting on a wood fence post. On the east side of the reservoir I heard a Ring-necked Pheasant and saw a group of 8 female Brewer's Blackbird. I ended up with 45 species during this hour break at the reservoir.
After work I decided to stop at Kechter Pit. This was a great idea. The first bird I saw was a tern flying around, which turned out to be a Forster's Tern (212). I then started looking carefully I was able to find 3 Spotted Sandpipers, 10 Least Sandpipers, 1 Semipalmated Sandpiper, 7 American Avocets, and 4 Semipalmated Plovers (213). After carefully going through the terns I found 20 Forster's Tern, I then saw a bird flying around that looked more interesting. In flight I saw a gray belly and gray wings all the way to the tip. I also saw a dark bill and eventually saw red legs when it hung its legs down. It was also a bit smaller then a nearby Forster's Tern. With this it makes this bird a Common Tern (214). After about 40 minutes of searching through the peeps looking for something more I found a bird that had just come in. At first I thought it was going to be a Lesser Yellowlegs. I then started looking at field marks. First, the legs were Orange - Yellow. They weren't as bright orange as the Ruff I saw in Boulder County on May 1, 2008. I then started looking at the bill and it was thicker than a Lesser Yellowlegs. I also saw a white ring around the base of the bill. I saw all of this in about 20 seconds and the bird took off flying towards the north side of the pond. While in flight I knew I needed I needed to look at the rump and what I saw was great. It had a brown rump with a white 'U' going around it. This bird was a Reeve or better known as a female Ruff (215).  Four years and one day later then the first and only Ruff I had ever seen before today.
I then went over to Duck Lake to see what shorebirds might be there. This stop was productive. The shorebirds there was 249 Wilson's Phalaropes, 19 American Avocets, 1 Black-necked Stilt, 3 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, 1 Willet, and 8 Killdeer. During my time there I watched a young Bald Eagle fly over the lake. 
I then stopped to look at a distant marsh on the east side of Timberline Reservoir south of Carpenter Road. Here I found a group of 9 ibis, 8 of which was White-faced Ibis. The other had the blue around the eye and dark on the face. I was however, able to see a hint of pink in the eye. It also had pink legs and to be a Glossy Ibis they have dark legs with pink knees. With this it makes this bird a Glossy x White-faced Ibis Hybrid. I am getting closer to seeing a Glossy Ibis this year in Larimer County. 
My last stop was a quick stop on the north side of Horseshoe Lake. The lake itself was slow and had a handful of Western Grebes and American White Pelicans. I then looked at the pond on the north side of the road by the dairy. With the Mallards and Northern Shovelers there were a number of shorebirds. There was 1 Killdeer, 1 Least Sandpiper, 1 Willet, 2 Wilson's Phalaropes, and 2 American Avocets. 
All in all it was a wonderful day with 6 year birds. 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Orioles are back 5/1

I took a long walk along the Big Thompson River going from Highway 287 all the way to Wilson Ave. and back. I heard a Bullock's Oriole (209) for the only year bird of the day. Other than that it was very slow in the way of birds. I did see a family group of Canada Geese that had 4 babies. The only migrants I found was less than 2 dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers, 3 Audubon's and all the rest Myrtle's.
                                                     Mourning Dove

                                                     Mourning Dove


                                                    Canada Goose

                                                    Canada Goose

                                                     Song Sparrow

I then took a drive. First I stopped by Boedecker Reservoir with nothing of interest. Then back to 1st Street and CR23E and saw the male Eastern Bluebird sitting up on the wire.
                                                    Eastern Bluebird

Then I made stops at Ryan's Gulch Reservoir, Cattail Pond, Bud Mielke Reservoir, Bonnell Drive Pond, and the pond on County Line Road and CR 12 with not seeing anything of interest, but still saw a lot of new birds for me for the month of May.

Monday, April 30, 2012

A Rare Warbler on 4/30 plus a number of other recent sightings

On Thur 4/26 I was driving past Boedecker Reservoir I noticed some large shorebirds on a spit. While stopped I quickly realized they were Marbled Godwit, 11 of them.
                                                    Marbled Godwit

                                                    Marbled Godwit

On a walk along the Big Thompson River, also on 4/26, produced an adult Black-crowned Night-Heron (205) and a juvenile Broad-winged Hawk. When I arrived at the funeral home for my Grandfather's funeral I started thinking about it. The Black-crowned Night-Heron was the first bird on my life list as it was the first bird I identified after my Environmental Science class I took in High School where we learned about birds. The best thing about seeing that first Black-crowned Night-Heron is I was with my grandfather when I saw it and this bird on 4/26 being my only year bird of the day and on the same day we were laying my grandfather down to rest.
                                             Black-crowned Night-Heron

Then on 4/28 while driving from my parents house to get pizza for us and a bunch of family I spotted several larger shorebirds at Boedecker Reservoir. When I stopped and got my binoculars on they I quickly realized they were Whimbrel. Not only were these Whimbrel year bird 206, but more importantly they were Larimer County life bird 370 and they are the only Larimer life bird I have seen so far this year. I quickly went and picked up the pizza and took it home. I then left immediately to go back to Boedecker and they were still there. I took lots of photos of these birds and got one good photo. In the 45 minutes I was watching them several people got to see these birds which included Cade Cropper, Elane Coley (and husband), Cheri Orwig, Connie Kogler (and husband), and Denise Bretting (and husband). Other interesting birds present was 1 Hooded Merganser, 1 Lesser Scaup, 1 Northern Shoveler, 1 Eared Grebe, 1 flyover Peregrine Falcon, and 7 flyover White-faced Ibis (I got a good look at every bird to make sure there was no Glossy with them).

                                                    Peregrine Falcon

On 4/29, again driving by Boedecker Reservoir I saw 2 large shorebirds in the same spot as the Whimbrel from the day before. This time there was 2 Willets.
Today, 4/30, I got a call from Sean Walters that he had just seen a Northern Parula at his house. My brother and I were on the way into town, so we headed over there. We found the Northern Parula (207) in the first 5 minutes we were there. He showed us around his property and told me I was welcome to come bird it anytime I would like. Thank you Sean for the phone call about this bird and your welcome hospitality.
                                                    Northern Parula

Since I had good luck at Boedecker Reservoir on the previous two days I decided to make another stop. At the same location along the shore I found a great looking Spotted Sandpiper (208). Also there was a group of 27 Eared Grebes.
I also refound the pair of Eastern Bluebirds at the NW corner of 1st Street and CR23E. These birds appear like they are attempting to breed and they have been there since 4/22.
                                                    Eastern Bluebird

                                                    Eastern Bluebird

Thursday, April 26, 2012

A Day for Photography in Rocky Mountain National Park 4/24

I talked my dad into going to Rocky Mountain National Park, so he could get his mind clear from everything that has happened recently.
Our first stop was at a migrant trap, which was the north side of Lake Estes. It was very slow and the only warblers we could find was a handful of Yellow-rumped. I was able to hear a Ruby-crowned Kinglet (203) singing out in the golf course.
                                                     Pine Siskin

We then headed into the park and driving through Horseshoe Park we saw a heard of elk and saw a single hen Wild Turkey.
Our first stop in the park was Endovalley looking for pictures of sapsuckers. We found the Great Horned Owl nest that hangs over the road with a single bird looking out of it. We then heard a little tapping and quickly found a male Red-naped Sapsucker peering out of it. After a few minutes it flew and about 30 seconds later came back to do more work on the outer side of the hole. We eventually found 7 Red-naped Sapsuckers in the area along with a Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Red-breasted Nuthatch. A couple Wilson's Snipes were calling in the distance.
                                                  Red-naped Sapsucker

                                                Red-naped Sapsucker

                                                 Red-naped Sapsucker

                                                Ruby-crowned Kinglet

                                                   Mountain Bluebird

We then continued on to Upper Beaver Meadows looking for more sapsuckers. When we got out of the car we saw and talked to Kevin Cook for a brief minute. We then started hearing some sapsuckers calling from up the hill, so we went after them. On the way we found several Chipping Sparrows at close range as was a Tree Swallow sitting up in a tree. As we got close to where we heard the sapsuckers I heard some soft tapping, so I decided to check it out and I quickly found a Mountain Chickadee working on a hole getting ready for breeding season and it didn't seem to care that I was two feet from it and I got several great photos. We then found a male Williamson's Sapsucker, but it immediately flew down the hill and we followed. We refound it working on a tree feeding. The number of sapsucker wells on this tree was amazing. We watched and photographed the male for a good 15 to 20 minutes until a female came in, the two said a few choice words, then the male flew off and the female took over on the well the male had been working on. We watched the female for another 5 minutes. As we were walking back I noticed something jump about a foot away from me and quickly realized it was an Abert's Squirrel. We also saw several Wyoming Ground-Squirrels.

We then took a drive around Mary's Lake and around Fish Creek Road, but didn't see much of interest. I did get a few good pictures of some more common species.

We then took the back way home going down Devils Gulch Road instead of Highway 34. On Devils Gulch Road, but still in the Estes Valley we saw several Mountain Bluebirds and Tree Swallows on the fences. I started watching the rock cliffs when they stretch over the river and we found several American Dipper nests and a few others that were just being started.

When we got back on 1st Street just at CR 23E we refound one of the Eastern Bluebirds that we had found at this location on Sunday.