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Varied Thrush Quest, 28-29 Feb (long)

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  • larry arnold
    Missy and I had forgotten what winter in Colorado can be like, since it has been crazy mild in GJ this winter. So, naively, we traversed into the eye of the
    Message 1 of 2 , Mar 1, 2012
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      Missy and I had forgotten what winter in Colorado can be like, since it has been crazy mild in GJ this winter.  So, naively, we traversed into the eye of the storm (the Great San Juan Snow Dump) for the Varied Thrush being seen at the Durango Fish Hatchery since 07 January.  We didn’t go in the Mule, but in the Prius; wow, THAT was exciting!  Most amazing thing we learned was how differently the counties in western Colorado maintain their roads during winter storms.  We encountered a lot of fresh snow most everywhere we birded, and it was definitely strange to “step backwards (from GJ) into winter.”

       

      In Ouray, two Red-breasted nuthatches were year birds for us (finally, amazingly), and we encountered a flock of 34 Evening grosbeaks.

       

      Red Mountain Pass had been closed so we trundled over Dallas Divide and Lizard Head to get to Durango, albeit very slowly in places.

       

      At the Durango Fish Hatchery, Riley and Heather showed us where the Thrush had been seen, and with a bit of looking we snagged a couple more year birds: Cassin’s finch and Golden-crowned kinglet.  We missed the thrush but stayed overnight in Durango for another try and we found it the following morning.

       

      Rafter J was breath-taking in its blanket of fresh snow, and we found four Acorn woodpeckers along with quite a few Pine siskins, exactly where we expected them.

       

      All the passes were now open, so we returned to GJ via Red Mountain Pass.  Colorado mountain passes in winter offer a surreal look at the planet, eh?  Of places we have lived, only Alaska and the Alps compete with the Colorado Rockies (San Juans in particular). 

       

      We found Silverton most interesting!  So much snow had been piled up around town it was nearly impossible to see much of the feeder activity going on but we could definitely hear it.  With patience we found a couple of Brown-capped Rosy-finches mixed in with a lot of other feeder birds.  eBird requested verification of several species that I thought were unremarkable, perhaps because there are little or no eBird data for Silverton in winter?  Anyway, I’m including our list below since this surprised me. 

       

      Ridgeway was basically ice-free and bird-free, other than a few Common goldeneyes and Canada geese.

       

      Along US-50 just south of Sweitzer we saw a chicken bird that looked suspicious but before we could get turned around for a closer look, a Chukar poked its head out along the highway not 100 yards further along the road.  Arriving back at the chicken bird site we found two female pheasants, which were actually year birds for us.  These things seem to be getting scarce on the West Slope.  At Sweitzer itself were two subadult bald eagles, a Ring-billed gull, c. 10 Hooded mergansers and an assortment of other ducks.

       

      Confluence – nothing exciting – we were hoping the Greater White-fronted goose and Snow geese might still be around, and maybe even some newly arrived cormorants, but nada, nada, et nada.

       

      G50 west of Delta – trolling along this “back road” to GJ for another look at the Sandhill cranes, a farm pond held two Ross’s geese and a gob of pintails and highly vocal Green-winged teal that kinda sorta looked like they had just dropped out of the sky whilst winging northward?

       

      Total species count for the two days was 56, with 6 year birds for me and 10 for Missy.  With another storm headed into the area, we skipped our prospects for Rosy-finches in Gunnison – another day!

       

      It was strange to be scoping ducks this morning on the Colorado River at Connected Lakes when they suddenly disappeared among horizontally flying/whirling snowflakes!  In our hood today, a Sharpie (tucked inside a juniper this morning) and a Merlin (atop the tallest tree across the ravine this afternoon) have apparently agreed to working different shifts from different perches.  ;-)

       

      Filby’s postings make me want to travel more already! 

      Larry

       

      - - - - - - -

      Silverton, around town, San Juan, US-CO

      Feb 29, 2012 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM

      Protocol: Traveling

      2.0 mile(s)

      Comments:     getting windy, fresh snow, trolling for active feeders and Rosies

      12 species

       

      Eurasian Collared-Dove  25

      Steller's Jay  12

      Black-billed Magpie  6

      American Crow  40     interesting that eBird flagged these as rare and requested verification, maybe the many feeders in town are concentrating them?  we had no ravens in town, just crows.

      European Starling  120

      White-crowned Sparrow  2     at feeders (eBird flag)

      Dark-eyed Junco  30     only at feeders (eBird flag)

      Red-winged Blackbird  20     singing at feeders (eBird flag)

      Brown-capped Rosy-Finch  2     we worked hard to dig these out!  few feeders were visible with all the snow piled along the streets. 

      House Finch  15

      Pine Siskin  25

      House Sparrow  50

       

      This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)

    • kendall@sopris.net
      Rafter J...Acorn woodpeckers??? Really, I did not know they are in Colorado.......Kendall ... Re: [wsbn] Varied Thrush Quest, 28-29 Feb (long) Rafter
      Message 2 of 2 , Mar 2, 2012
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        Re: [wsbn] Varied Thrush Quest, 28-29 Feb  (long) Rafter J...Acorn woodpeckers???  Really,  I did not know they are in Colorado.......Kendall


        On 3/1/12 9:08 PM, "larry arnold" <larnold47@...> wrote:


         
         
           

         
        Missy and I had forgotten what winter in Colorado can be like, since it has been crazy mild in GJ this winter.  So, naively, we traversed into the eye of the storm (the Great San Juan Snow Dump) for the Varied Thrush being seen at the Durango Fish Hatchery since 07 January.  We didn’t go in the Mule, but in the Prius; wow, THAT was exciting!  Most amazing thing we learned was how differently the counties in western Colorado maintain their roads during winter storms.  We encountered a lot of fresh snow most everywhere we birded, and it was definitely strange to “step backwards (from GJ) into winter.”
         
        In Ouray, two Red-breasted nuthatches were year birds for us (finally, amazingly), and we encountered a flock of 34 Evening grosbeaks.
         
        Red Mountain Pass had been closed so we trundled over Dallas Divide and Lizard Head to get to Durango, albeit very slowly in places.
         
        At the Durango Fish Hatchery, Riley and Heather showed us where the Thrush had been seen, and with a bit of looking we snagged a couple more year birds: Cassin’s finch and Golden-crowned kinglet.  We missed the thrush but stayed overnight in Durango for another try and we found it the following morning.
         
        Rafter J was breath-taking in its blanket of fresh snow, and we found four Acorn woodpeckers along with quite a few Pine siskins, exactly where we expected them.
         
        All the passes were now open, so we returned to GJ via Red Mountain Pass.  Colorado mountain passes in winter offer a surreal look at the planet, eh?  Of places we have lived, only Alaska and the Alps compete with the Colorado Rockies (San Juans in particular).  
         
        We found Silverton most interesting!  So much snow had been piled up around town it was nearly impossible to see much of the feeder activity going on but we could definitely hear it.  With patience we found a couple of Brown-capped Rosy-finches mixed in with a lot of other feeder birds.  eBird requested verification of several species that I thought were unremarkable, perhaps because there are little or no eBird data for Silverton in winter?  Anyway, I’m including our list below since this surprised me.  
         
        Ridgeway was basically ice-free and bird-free, other than a few Common goldeneyes and Canada geese.
         
        Along US-50 just south of Sweitzer we saw a chicken bird that looked suspicious but before we could get turned around for a closer look, a Chukar poked its head out along the highway not 100 yards further along the road.  Arriving back at the chicken bird site we found two female pheasants, which were actually year birds for us.  These things seem to be getting scarce on the West Slope.  At Sweitzer itself were two subadult bald eagles, a Ring-billed gull, c. 10 Hooded mergansers and an assortment of other ducks.
         
        Confluence – nothing exciting – we were hoping the Greater White-fronted goose and Snow geese might still be around, and maybe even some newly arrived cormorants, but nada, nada, et nada.
         
        G50 west of Delta – trolling along this “back road” to GJ for another look at the Sandhill cranes, a farm pond held two Ross’s geese and a gob of pintails and highly vocal Green-winged teal that kinda sorta looked like they had just dropped out of the sky whilst winging northward?
         
        Total species count for the two days was 56, with 6 year birds for me and 10 for Missy.  With another storm headed into the area, we skipped our prospects for Rosy-finches in Gunnison – another day!
         
        It was strange to be scoping ducks this morning on the Colorado River at Connected Lakes when they suddenly disappeared among horizontally flying/whirling snowflakes!  In our hood today, a Sharpie (tucked inside a juniper this morning) and a Merlin (atop the tallest tree across the ravine this afternoon) have apparently agreed to working different shifts from different perches.  ;-)
         
        Filby’s postings make me want to travel more already!  
        Larry
         
        - - - - - - -
         
        Silverton, around town, San Juan, US-CO
        Feb 29, 2012 10:45 AM - 11:45 AM
        Protocol: Traveling
        2.0 mile(s)
        Comments:     getting windy, fresh snow, trolling for active feeders and Rosies
        12 species
         
        Eurasian Collared-Dove  25
        Steller's Jay  12
        Black-billed Magpie  6
        American Crow  40     interesting that eBird flagged these as rare and requested verification, maybe the many feeders in town are concentrating them?  we had no ravens in town, just crows.
        European Starling  120
        White-crowned Sparrow  2     at feeders (eBird flag)
        Dark-eyed Junco  30     only at feeders (eBird flag)
        Red-winged Blackbird  20     singing at feeders (eBird flag)
        Brown-capped Rosy-Finch  2     we worked hard to dig these out!  few feeders were visible with all the snow piled along the streets.  
        House Finch  15
        Pine Siskin  25
        House Sparrow  50
         
        This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (http://ebird.org)
         
           


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