April 27, 2009

Birding Boulder County with Christian Nunes

On April 26th, Joel and I went on a DFO/BBC field trip led by Christian Nunes to Dowdy Draw, just south of Boulder.  Our parents dropped us off at the Dowdy Draw Trailhead at 8:30 AM and went off to take a good brisk "non-birding" hike.  Even with the fierce wind, we still found a Green-tailed Towhee, a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, and a couple of Northern Rough-winged Swallows, plus a flock of Mountain Bluebirds, a few Spotted Towhees, and a very entertaining American Kestrel.  At the Mesa Trailhead across the street, we found a few Pine Siskins, American Goldfinches, and a Pink-sided Junco.

Pink-sided Junco at Mesa Trailhead
by Joel Such

After an hour or so of birding in the foothills, we went down to Baseline Reservoir to look for some White-winged Scoters that Christian had found a few day ago.  Our parents weren't done with their hike yet, so we caught a ride with Christian.  We succeeded in finding only one immature male scoter, but we also found a Common Loon and a Swainson's Hawk.  There was also an immature Bald Eagle hunting for coots on the lake.

Bald Eagle Swooping down on American Coots
by Joel Such

Next we went to Walden Ponds, where our parents finally caught up with us.  Highlights from Walden: tons of American White Pelicans, a PEREGRINE FALCON, a Semipalmated Plover, two Solitary Sandpipers, tons of swallows (Tree, Rough-winged, Cliff, and Barn), and a male Yellow-headed Blackbird.  Joel and I saw a total of 33 species here in just an hour.

Yellow-headed Blackbird at Walden Ponds
by Marcel Such

On to Prince Lake #2 in Erie to look for a flock of hundreds of White-faced Ibises plus a Glossy that had been reported here earlier.  There was absolutely no ibis there.  Our parents went on home and we birded with Christian the rest of the afternoon.

Our next stop was at Boulder Reservoir to look for shorebirds and a couple of Sandhill Cranes that had been reported yesterday.  We struck out on the cranes, but there were a few shorebirds to keep us busy.  There were twenty (!) American Avocets, a few Willets, and three Marbled Godwits.  Also, in a raft of coots we found twenty Ruddy Ducks, a few Western Grebes, and a Pied-billed Grebe.

After Boulder Res I talked Christian into stopping at Lagerman Reservoir where there had been some Black-necked Stilts reported lately.  We didn't see any stilts, but we did find a LONG-BILLED CURLEW!!!  It was a county bird for Christian, and a state bird for us.

We then went to Pella Crossing, where a Northern Parula had been reported yesterday.  When we got to the woody area where the parula had been seen, we ran into Walter Szeliga who had seen it a couple of minutes earlier.  We continued to search for another half-hour, but we were unable to relocate it.  We did find a Myrtle x Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler hybrid, and Walter turned up what appears to have been a Virginia's Warbler.  On the way back out we found a Swainson's Hawk perched on a power pole, which posed for some pictures.

Swainson's Hawk at Pella Crossings
by Joel Such

Our last stop was one of our typical birding spots, Old South Saint Vrain Road in Lyons, where we saw a Great Horned Owl, Violet-green Swallow, and a American Dipper.  It was a fun day. 

 Thanks Christian!!!

Birding Old South Saint Vrain Road with Christian Nunes

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