I had meetings in Denver and, of all places, Lake City last week. It was tough duty for a birder, but I had to drive through some remote parts of Colorado between and after the meetings. I didn’t have any really rare birds but there were a few of interest.
On Tuesday, July 11, I had EUCD at two different locations in Kremmling. Those were my first sightings in Kremmling and I suspect they have just moved in, although perhaps someone else has seen them there previously.
Taking a bit of a scenic route from Denver to Lake City, I stopped at the eastern (inlet) end of Trinidad Lake State Park and had several Cassin’s Kingbirds. Nothing else too earth shattering among the other 98 new Las Animas County birds except I was surprised to see Lewis’s Woodpeckers (and Savannah Sparrows) near the summit of Cucharas Pass, although actually on the Huerfano County side of the pass. I hadn’t seen LEWO at this elevation (10,000’ or so) before. I had Williamson’s Sapsucker and other typical Ponderosa birds at North Fork SWA in Las Animas County.
On July 13, I again took the scenic route from Lake City going over Cinnamon Pass to Silverton. I had to swallow pretty hard after bumping over the road going up to the pass for many miles only to encounter a sign that advised 4-wheel drive vehicles from that point on--but I made it without too much problem. Above the old ghost town of Animas Forks, north of Silverton along the Animas River, I encountered a Long-eared Owl perched alongside the road on a rock at about 11,400 feet elevation, just above timberline. Is that elevation unusual for LEOWs!? I suspect it may be using the old Frisco Mines mill for roosting/nesting(?), as the historic structure was only a couple hundred yards away. I also had Pine Grosbeak and other high elevation species around Animas Forks, but couldn’t run ptarmigan down in the tundra zone. My favorite birds around Silverton were a male Calliope Hummingbird in the willows along the river and a Willow Flycatcher at Andrews Lake. I didn’t see Jim Beatty’s post about the Veeries in San Juan County until after I arrived back home.
I made a brief stop in Ridgway and found EUCDs for the first time there and had a female Great-tailed Grackle coming into a feeder. The feeder set-up was really unique with different styles of feeders hanging on bare tree limbs underneath a funky looking tree-house. The tree with feeders was located at the corner of Mary and Moffat Streets. There were also BH Grosbeaks and other birds coming to the feeders.