Sandra and I visited the high country north of Steamboat Springs and
north of Craig as well as the Yampa Nature Conservancy Preserve this
weekend. As is often true with birds, we had good luck and bad luck.
We intended to climb Hahn's Peak Friday morning but our Eurovan
Camper did not have the ground clearance to get to the Trail head. We
lost the best part of the birding morning trying to get there and
coming back out slowly. As an alternate we headed up FR 488 and them
we camped at Pearl Lake SP and birded the afternoon and early evening
along its trails. both are beautiful areas and we did well in the
Aspens but much more poorly in the pine forest. Our best birds were
one adult and three juvenile Long-eared Owls in the handicap camp
site at the end of the lower camping loop.
Saturday morning we got up very early and headed to the Yampa Nature
Conservancy Preserve. Got there by 6:30 AM. I have never gotten there
early in the morning before. Great birding - 55 species in two hours.
We did not hear Veery this time.
Then we headed up 27 Road to the high country of Black Mountain where
we camped Saturday night. I have always found pine forest birding
unpredictable. This time good luck. Williamson's Sapsuckers nesting,
Golden-crowned Kinglets in two locations, Pine Grosbeaks, Olive-sided
Flycatcher, Blue Grouse, Band-tailed Pigeons, etc. I also saw what I
strongly believe was a female Three-toed Woodpecker. The call was
right, the rap was right. I did not get a good enough look at the
back to make a positive ID. It was at the summit right at the turnoff
to the forest service campground.
On Sunday we stopped in Craig and found the Eurasain Collared-Doves
at 6th and Ramey --- and also Catbirds and Belted Kingfishers at
Loudy-Simpson Park. Could not find a hummingbird feeder with a Rufous
and did not see any in the high country --- a real surprise.
All in all a great three days.
As McArthur said: "I shall return." At a minimum the Three-toed has
my attention. So does the beautiful area north of Steamboat.