More on Moffat County
Following Forrest’s directions, Kay and I birded Black Mountain , northeast of Craig. The road over Black Mountain tops out at over 10,000 feet and gives access to nice stands of Aspen , and Engleman Spruce. On the north side of the mountain the forest is an interesting mix of Limber Pine and spruce. We found a nice assortment of high eleveation birds: Sharp-shinned Hawk, Red-naped Sapsucker, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Gray and Steller’s Jays, Red-breasted Nuthatch, House Wren, both kinglets, “Audubon’s” Warblers, Lincoln’s and White-crowned Sparrows, and Red Crossbills. Juncos, siskins, and Chipping Sparrows were everywhere by the hundreds. We searched for Three-toed Woodpeckers, Williamson’s Sapsucker, and Pine Grosbeaks, without success. Black Mountain is a great place, we will have to go back, camp, and find those missing species.
Back in Craig at midday we went east to Elkhead Reservoir to look for waterbirds. Forrest said Saturday “There’s nothing there!” I thought that meant no shorebirds, but he really meant nothing, no birds of any kind, no water, nothing. They are working on the dam and the lake is drained, the signs say it will remain that way for a couple of years. Not a wasted trip though, we ran across two Northern Mockingbirds where the road to Elkhead goes though a corner of Routt County .
Many thanks to Forrest for the inside information on Moffat County and for graciously guiding a bunch of foreigners (front range birders) around his home turf in search of birds on Saturday.