Observation start time: 08:30:00
Observation end time: 15:00:00
Total observation time: 6.5 hours
Official Counter: Joyce Commercon
Observers: Nancy Kranzow
There were a fair number of hikers and bikers on the trail today. Only a
few hikers came up for the view; all waved or gave a greeting but none
seemed interested in raptor monitoring.
The day was partly sunny with cloud-cover shifting and increasing during
the watch but never completely covering the sky. In the morning, long thick
strips of cloud formed above the western ridges; these clouds then moved
east to hang over Dinosaur Ridge and the valleys, staying reasonably
parallel to the ridges. Winds were mild and came initially from the east
and southeast but shifted to come predominately from the north after noon
MST. Temperatures rose from 6 C to 16 C. Visibility was good.
Lots of Red-tailed Hawk migrants again today! The 11:00 am MST hour had the
most: 9 Red-tailed Hawk migrants; there were two groups of 4 and 3 hawks,
respectively, plus a couple of loners. Each group migrated north almost
directly over the Ridge. Earlier in the morning we had the pleasure to
observe a dark-morph adult Red-tailed Hawk pass north over the Ridge. Other
notable migrants today included a juvenile Ferruginous Hawk, which was
spotted migrating north along the western ridges, and a juvenile Golden
Eagle that came north right along the Ridge, giving us a good look at it.
The spot of the day goes to Nancy for catching a high-flying falcon that
turned out to be a Prairie Falcon migrant.
When the winds shifted to come from the north, the migrant flow dropped to
a trickle. Still, the local adult Red-tailed Hawks were out and about. In
the afternoon, there was much circling and hunting. One of the pair finally
did manage to snare a weighty prize in Rooney Valley and was seen lugging
A pair of Common Ravens landed on the power poles, croaking and clicking,
presumably to each other. At the end of the watch, about 20 Bushtits passed
north on the east side of the Ridge. Also seen or heard were American Crow,
Spotted Towhee, American Robin, Black-billed Magpie (including one that was
completely missing its tail!), Northern Flicker, Townsend’s Solitaire,
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, and Black-capped Chickadee. About 20 elk were
observed moving north from Bare Slope in the morning. Nine mule deer were
seen on Green Mountain in the afternoon.
Tomorrow looks like it could be another good day for migration!
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