West Central Colorado Birding
- Friday I drove to Gunnison to meet up with the Black Canyon Audubon
Neversink Trail Trip on Saturday. Most of Saturday I had a shutout on
county birds thrown at me. Cheney had literally no birds - a couple
of White Faced Ibis and the usual collection of ducks and Horned
Larks. Confluence Park did have two Eastern Kingbirds (a county bird
last week) and a few early migrants (Black-throated Gray, Virginia
and Yellow-rumped Warblers and Warbling Vireo). There was also a
Western Screech-Owl and Eurasian Collared Dove. I tried several lakes
in the Montrose area - no shoreline and no shorebirds. Blue Mesa
Reservoir also had no shoreline and no shorebirds
Finally I got to Gunnison in the late afternoon. Things picked up. A
Great Horned Owl and Lewis's Woodpeckers in the Cemetery. Osprey in a
gravel pit on the Hartman Rocks Road. Two Sandhill Cranes at McCabe
Early Saturday morning at McCabe and the Sewage Ponds, some migrants.
Virginia, Yellow-rumped, MacGillray's, Wilson's Warblers, a number of
Bullock's Orioles, and lots of Western Wood-Pewees. I also refound
the Sandhill Cranes and discovered nearly 50 White-faced Ibis. I did
also spooked out a Sharp-shinned Hawk.
I joined the Audubon Trip at the Neversink Trail about 8:30 AM. Three
really good birds were seen (although not by everyone): Northern
Waterthrush, American Redstart, Sora.
Finally I headed home over Kebler Pass. Despite rain, lots of Red
Crossbills and Gray Jays were seen.
In the end I finally reached 150 species in Gunnison County. I have
now seen at least 150 species in every county in both the Northwest
and West Central Colorado County List Regions. I have to admit county
listing has gotten me out far more than I had been --- even so it is
a very strange endeavor.
- I got my first chance in a couple of months to get out birding - so I did some chasing. Good luck - 10 new county ticks.
Left early and at 6:30 AM saw Jason's two Long-tailed Ducks. Initially missed them but they finally surfaced. Dynamite birds.
On to Gunnison where Jim Berry had seen Long-billed Curlews, Marbled Godwits, and Franklin Gulls about 6 miles north of Gunnison on the Crested Butte Road. We 3 Cutlews, 12 Godwits, 20 Franklin Gulls, 1 Long-billed Dowitcher, 6 Willets, and 1 Least Sandpiper.
Then I headed for Nucla. On the way I finally saw Belted Kingfishers and Blue-winged Teal in San Miguel County.
After talking to Coen on the phone, I went to the Nucla City Res. There I found an American Pipit and Red-necked Phalarope as well as an Eared Grebe and several Western Grebes. On the way to the Nucla Sewage Ponds, I saw 8 Marbled Godwits and 9 White-faced Ibis in the mud by a small farm pond. At another farm pond near the coal mine I found a pair of blue-winged Teal.
Then I headed home. Mile drivien 500 plus. Time gone 12 1/2 hours. Way too much in a car. But great birds were worth it.