Date: 2/6/17 5:38 pm From: DAVID A LEATHERMAN <daleatherman...> Subject: [cobirds] American Woodcock at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area (Larimer) on 6February2017
On my second try in 2017, I was shown the American Woodcock at Bobcat Ridge Natural Area today. My first visit was 26Jan and after a thorough check of all places anyone had ever seen a woodcock over the last three years, pretty much assumed the bird(s) had departed. Then several reports of the woodcock followed. I tried again today. I arrived at 10:30 and over the next three hours was joined by three experienced observers. We all knew what to look for, where to look for it, had availed ourselves of the latest eBird intel (I gotta say reports have been woefully lacking on COBIRDS), and were rewarded with absolutely zilch. Two birders from Loveland arrived, Ms. Edgar and Ms. Robbins, and boom, Ms. Robbins finds the bird in plain sight across the ditch south of Ranger Carl's house in less than 5 minutes of searching (at about 2:30pm)! Thank you Ms. Robbins. While we observed the bird sleep beak-under-wing, a fourth birder, Ms. Hillary, arrived. The four of us watched, took branch-obstructed photos, and marveled at how cryptic woodcocks are. On cue, the bird woke up, did a little circular, 2-3-foot rumba thru the underbrush, sat down and essentially melted into the leaves, becoming totally invisible.
All this is a long-winged way of saying: 1) at least one American Woodcock is still present, 2) no visit is a guarantee the bird will show itself, 3) there is strength in numbers when it comes to searching for a woodcock, and, lastly, 4) it is an amazing species in all respects. It frequents a fairly big area but to my knowledge, most all recent sightings have come from the stretch of Buffam Creek that runs just east of the road that runs north from the east end of the Bobcat Ridge Natural Area parking lot. Ranger Carl's home is just north of the parking lot, first house on the left. The stretch of creek just e of Carl's house has been good. Today, a bit south of his house, it was 5 feet uphill from the creek. Many sightings have come from the creek bed just north of his house. In year's past, and occasionally this year, the woodcock also has been found along Buffam Creek "just around the corner" where it runs on the north side of the road which leads into Bobcat Ridge from 27Road.
To everybody, especially David, Tom and Kathy who paid their dues but had to leave due to obligations, if you have the chance to try again, good luck.