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

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