Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end time: 14:00:00
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Mike Fernandez
Observers: Julia Auckland, Karen Fernandez
Occassional Hawkwatcher Julia Auckland stopped by with a friend to help out
for an hour. It was perfect timing as this was during our peak RTHA
activity and the four of us could barely keep up with monitoring the
traffic on the RT highway at the time.
Gusty winds all day up to bft 6 (49 km, 30 mi/h), mostly from the west, at
times strong enough to make it difficult to hold the binoculars steady and
keep birds in view. Red-taileds seemed to handle it well, flying NW into
the wind to gain elevation and then dropping east and north to gain
distance. From 12-1 winds shifted east and sky cleared briefly, then
returned to west wind with high and low cloud cover. Late afternoon winds
blew in sparse droplets of rain.
We tried hard to ID raptors as something other than red-taileds, but there
was none of that today. Highlight was six RTHA directly above to the east
and west of ridge varying from two to four in a group at once, plus one
brave local escort. Two RTHA appeared to be migrating but disappeared south
of I-70 at about the saddle; we did not count these two as migrators. The
local Rooney Valley couple (we've named them both Ghandi–for their ability
to peacefully hold still in mid-air) were a spectacle. We observed a total
of 29 Red-tailed Hawks today, including migrators, locals and two with
unconfirmed flight plans. Also saw a local American Kestrel.
A herd of eight elk kept an eye on us all day from near the bottom of the
east side of the ridge. Two Mountain Chicadees joined us back and forth
between the platform junipers. List of non-raptor sitings: 2 Woodhouse
(Western) Scrub-Jays, 3 Black-billed Magpies, 1 American Crow, 7 Common
Ravens, 2 Mountain Chickadees, 5 Bushtits, 2 Townsend's Solitaires, 5
American Robins, and 1 Dark-eyed Junco. Reported on eBird.
More wind late Monday, but we're counting on Joyce to stamp passports for
other species. Have all the red-taileds left town? Not likely with ~250
counted in 2016.
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