SW Colo Trip (long)
- Apologies. This email is a little late. I spent three days late last
week birding SW Colo for waterbirds and then things went crazy when I
I started last Thursday, left early and hit Ridgway SP by 8 AM.
Nearly no birds at all at the lake or the pond in Golden Eagle
development. Lots of Wigeon, Coots and Ring-necked Ducks at Black
Lake but nothing unusual.
Also no birds at all on ponds on the pass heading south to Silverton.
Hikers had beaten me to the lakes. Feeling frustrated.
At Siverton I decided to hit a couple of feeders. Flock of 500 plus
Rosy Finches in trees at first feeder. Quickly ID'ed Brown-capped and
Gray-crowned but the owner came out to say hello and the flock
spooked before I could dig out a Black. I am certain they were there.
While talking to owner spotted an beautiful adult White-throated
Onto the next pass where I found Ruddy Duck and Pied-billed Grebe at
Little Molas Lake. Nothing at Molas or Andrews Lakes but water was
still wide open.
Then thorugh Durango and west to Bauer Lake to look for a Canvasback
reported at the Montezuma lake by Sue Allerton. Success about 3:30
PM. Then got calls from Sue and Jim Beattie who had just returned
from Vallecito Res where they had a number of excellent birds.
Despite being late in the day, I decided to try to find what I could
before the light fled. Got there about 4:45 and went immediately to
the north end of the lake. Birds were coming infrom all over to roost
for the night. There were Ring-billed, California and a 3rd winter
Herring Gull (which totally matched the Dunn Gull DVD which I had
brought along with my computer.) As I was giving up hope on the
reported Bonaparte's Gull, the bird flew right into the field of view
in my scope. Great close views flying and on the ground. Also saw a
needed Canvasback, Shoveler and Nothern Harrier. Then went quickly
back around to the east side of the lake where I had 8 Eared Grebes
and 4 Western Grebes. Finally light ran out on a great day.
Spent the night in Ignacio at the Casino - a very sad place with the
losers of life were hanging out. I refused to spend a dime in any of
Friday drove directly to Navaho SP. Lots of new county birds but I
needed almost everything. Best birds - Great Egret, Sage Thrasher,
many Hooded Mergansers and another Harrier. Couldn't count many birds
as Colorado county birds because they were over the state line in New
Mexico. Then headed north and east. More good ducks in the ponds
along Hwy 151.
I decided to try Williams Creek Res SP. On the way great variety of
common ducks in the ponds along Cty Road 631 in Archuleta County.
Despite hunters at Williams Creek Res, many good birds werre seen -
Bald Eagle, Northern Harrier, Buffleheads, Common Goldeneye (my only
Goldeneye of the trip), Ruddy Ducks, Gawalls, Wigeon, and both Eared
(8) and Horned Grebe (one).
Now up and over Wolf Creek Pass to Big Meadow Lake (no ducks at all).
Then north through Creede and to the Hwy 149 ponds. A few common
ducks there. The FR 523 Ponds had nearly no birds at all. On to
Brown's Lake SWA where there were hundreds of Wigeon, Gadwall and
Coots and a few Ring-necks. I was hoping for better variety at the
Hinsdale County lake.
Drove through to Gunnison where I spent my second night. I decided to
chase the Red-breasted Merganser and Tree Sparrows seen the previous
weekend and found both right where they had been a week earlier. On
the way home, stopped at Gould Res. It was nearly empty of water. Few
ducks but a beautiful Prairie Falcon sitting on the shore eyeing the
Last stop, Jason's home to look for his Wood Duck and White-throated
Sparrow. No luck but a great trip anyway.
Clearly (this year at least) the high country lakes still had open
water and some waterbirds in the first week of November. It was also
clear I was still too early for Goldeneyes.
Final total - 47 county bird ticks.