January 3, 2010

CBC Wrap-ups

Here is a wrap-up of the three additional Christmas Bird Counts that Joel and I participated in:

December 19, 2009: Longmont, Colorado

Today we did the Longmont CBC with Maggie Boswell, Deanna Williams, and Nic Berndt. We had the same area as last year. The hands down best highlight of the day was an "Eastern" Winter Wren (it's going to be split from the Pacific race - Pacific Wren - sometime in the very near future), which we re-found along the Saint Vrain River. Also up in the highlights was a juvenile "Harlan's" Red-tailed Hawk (another candidate for a possible split someday) that Joel and I found at Pella Crossing. We ended the day with 34 species . . . not a bad total for a mid-winter day in Colorado with no open water!

Joel and I started the morning out at Pella Crossing
before linking up with the other members of our team.

Scouring Pella Crossing

Diving American Dipper
by Joel Such

(Eastern) Winter Wren
by Marcel Such

December 20, 2009: Boulder, Colorado

Today we participated in the 100th anniversary of the Boulder CBC! Joel and I led a territory this year, Mount Sanitas. Check out our previous blog post for our scouting report. Yet again, we got another obvious highlight, a small flock of Western Bluebirds which we found just as the sun was dipping below the horizon. By no means rare during the summer, this species is quite noteworthy during the winter in the northern Front Range, with most of the bluebirds having gone farther south (and east). Also among our highlights were two Western Scrub-Jays, two Canyon Wrens, seven Spotted Towhees, and eight fly-over Red Crossbills (type-2, for those interested). We ended the day with 27 species and covered about 11.5 miles of trails plus about 7 miles by car.

Mount Sanitas

Red Rocks

Pygmy Nuthatch - by Joel Such

"Red-shafted" Northern Flicker - by Joel Such

Marcel in front of Red Rocks - by Renee Haip

January 2, 2010: Crook, Colorado

Today we participated in the Crook CBC, out in the far north-eastern corner of Colorado, with our good friend Ann Wichmann. We were assigned the western side of Tamarack Ranch State Wildlife Area. This brought up an interesting question . . . do you or do you not count the occasional goose that would fall from the sky courtesy the hunters lurking in the woods? By about nine o'clock in the morning, after we had been tromping around for a couple of hours, the birds finally started waking up. Being this far east, there were possibilities of some good eastern specialties, such as Northern Bobwhite, Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker, and Eastern Bluebird. While hiking through the area, Ann would occasionally send her Black Lab, Lance, out into the surrounding brush to try to flush a covey of bobwhites or Wild Turkey. This never succeeded, but it was still fun trying. We never did find a cardinal, but we did find a couple of Red-bellied Woodpeckers and Eastern Bluebirds. Other highlights included a Snow Goose plus a "Yellow-shafted" Northern Flicker. We ended the day with 35 species.

Ferruginous Hawk with Rodent, East of Longmont, CO
by Joel Such

Looking out over the South Platte River (Left to right: Joel, Dave, Marcel, and Ann)
by Renee Haip

Tree over the South Platte - by Renee Haip

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