Observation start time: 09:00:00
Observation end time: 14:00:00
Total observation time: 5 hours
Official Counter: Joyce Commercon
Only a few hikers were seen on the trails today. There were no visitors to
the HawkWatch site; still, one passing hiker, with his dog, did give a wave
to say hello before he headed downhill toward the parking lot.
The day was cold and extremely windy, with highly variable cloud cover and
about an hour of light snow near noon. Temperatures stayed just above
freezing (1°C). Winds were mostly from the W and NW at bft 5-6. There were
some short spans in the afternoon when wind speeds decreased to bft 3-4.
Sun and blue sky appeared and disappeared several times during the watch;
cloud cover ranged from about 90% to 50%. Visibility was generally good
except for the hour of light snow at the HawkWatch site, when it was
reduced to the southwest to about 5 km. Isolated regions of snowfall were
also observed periodically to the south and north along the western ridges.
Three migrants were counted today. Two Bald Eagles migrated about 40
minutes apart during the 11:00 am hour. The first was an adult moving north
that appeared to be riding the orographic lift just to the west of SubPeak
and WestRidge until it veered east toward Green Mountain. There it took the
time to drop and circle twice, low along Green Mountain’s western flank,
before it gained a little height and headed steady northward. The second, a
juvenile Bald Eagle, was spotted above Mount Morrison just as the “hour of
snow” came over Mount Morrison and WestRidge and swept toward HawkWatch.
This juvenile, which had a fair amount of whitish fading on its upperwings,
went east and low to Green Mountain as well but did not tarry; it headed
immediately north. Just after noon, an adult Peregrine Falcon flew intently
north along the base of the eastern side of Dinosaur Ridge and was not seen
to turn or to return.
There was little local raptor activity today. A pair of local Red-tailed
Hawks did eventually make an appearance in the afternoon when the winds
lessened briefly to bft 3-4. After coming north up the Ridge, they circled
together over WestRidge and near Cabrini. Early in the morning, a local
Prairie Falcon came north low in Rooney Valley, then circled back and
dropped lower as if hunting. An apparently local, immature Golden Eagle was
also observed while landing on Green Mountain’s flank, across from
The high winds seemed to suppress non-raptor activity. However, when the
Common Ravens were out, it was evident they were masters of the wind:
riding wind-lift to sail along the Ridge and doing half-flips high in the
sky, even when the wind was rather ferocious. Also seen or heard, braving
the winds today, were Townsend’s Solitaire, Pink-sided Dark-eyed Junco,
Black-billed Magpie, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, American Robin, and American
Crow. A group of about 15 elk were seen near Cabrini in the afternoon.
Report submitted by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (<jeff.birek...>)
Dinosaur Ridge information may be found at:
Dinosaur Ridge is the only regularly staffed hawkwatch in Colorado and is
the best place in the world to see migrating Ferruginous Hawks. Dinosaur
Ridge may be the best place in the country to see the rare dark morph of
the Broad-winged Hawk (a few are seen each spring). Hawkwatchers who linger
long enough may see resident Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks and Prairie
Falcons, in addition to migrating Swainson's, Cooper's and Sharp-shinned
Hawks, American Kestrels and Turkey Vultures. Peregrine Falcons and
Ferruginous Hawks are uncommon; Northern Goshawk is rare but regular.
Non-raptor species include Rock Wren, and sometimes Bushtit, Western
Bluebird, Sandhill Crane, White-throated Swift, American White Pelican or
Dusky Grouse. Birders are always welcome.
The hawkwatch is generally staffed by volunteers from Bird Conservancy of
the Rockies from about 9 AM to around 3 PM from March 1st to May 7th.
Directions to site:
From exit 259 on I-70 towards Morrison, drive south under freeway and take
left into first parking lot, the Stegosaurus lot. Follow small signs from
the south side of lot to hawkwatch site. The hike starts heading east on an
old two-track and quickly turns south onto a trail on the west side of the
ridge. When the trail nears the top of the ridge, turn left, head through
the gate, and walk to the clearly-visible, flat area at the crest of the