Observation start time: 08:00:00 Observation end time: 14:00:00 Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Mike Fernandez
Observers: Karen Fernandez
Visitors: A busy Colorado morning with almost all hikers and families (very few bikers). No elk or deer spotted. A trail runner who spent some time observing with us had some curiousity and stated he talked with HawkWatch members during the on-the-hill orientation this year. New Jeffco open space ranger appeared but was not conversational.
Weather: Warm, sunny and dry with a steady breeze for the duration. "Sunshine" fire west of Boulder did not seem to impact visibility. Criss-crossing aircraft con trails all day helped share sightings. Winds shifted to the west and south at noon, seemed to move some fliers from west to overhead, but shifted back to ESE soon after. Most sightings today were over western ridges or very high directly above.
Raptor Observations: Overall, a neck aching, arm numbing day; we needed a Lazyboy on the ridge! Back to reality: A diffifcult day for raptor-at-elevation identification. All day, raptors tended to ride thermals starting south of the ridge, a few then dropped down to low west of ridge, ride another up in front of Two Pines and then spiral north over Apex and Lookout towards Boulder. Others disappeared above 10x binoc limit. Two wide-area local RTHA appeared several times AM & PM circling over Green Mountain. Four likely BAEA (ID: shape of wing) circled high over Mt Morrison mid AM but ID was compromised as they reached the limit of 10x binocs and we did not see them proceed north of Mount Morrison; not counted. Either a Rough-Legged Hawk or Ferugginous Hawk appeared at south end of ridge (late AM mst), rode up to limit of binocs then northwest to Power Lines and then, unfortunately, behind horizon at Subpeak, although consistently moving northward; counted as Unkown Buteo. All day we observed several red-tailed hawks of "migratory status undetermined" (they may be locals of a wider area, but they were not the nearby locals we know) rise beyond sight above us and their movement from there was not perceptible.
Non-raptor Observations: Non-Raptors seen or heard (and reported on eBird): Northern Flicker (2), Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay (2), Black-billed Magpie (5), American Crow (13), Common Raven (5), Black-capped Chickadee (1), Bushtit (1), Townsend's Solitaire (1), American Robin (2), Dark-eyed Junco (1), Western Meadowlark (1) and House Finch (1). No observations of elk or deer today.
Predictions: Scope recommended, as noted in previous submissions. What about setting up a loaner to check out at the Dinosaur Ridge Discover Center? Their hours through April are Monday through Saturday 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM and Sunday 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM, then open till 5:00 PM in May. Not ideal but could make it work. ======================================================================== Report submitted by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (<jeff.birek...>) Dinosaur Ridge information may be found at: http://www.birdconservancy.org/
Site Description: 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 ridge.