Observation start time: 08:00:00 Observation end time: 11:15:00 Total observation time: 3.25 hours
Official Counter: Mike Fernandez
Observers: Karen Fernandez
Visitors: Approximately 6 parties of 1-4 people each made it up to the platform, but no one seemed to be in a chatty or inquisitive mood. Very few even said hello, but generally folks came up, took pictures and left without a word. No cyclists.
Weather: The first two hours we had sleet (frozen raindrops) and light rain. Rain columns pushed from north to south along the foothills. The Rooney Valley side and eastward did not appear to have the same weather as the Hwy 93 side. There was a little bit of sun lighting up the distant southeast horizon; nothing but dark skies to the west. The sky cleared in small patches briefly overhead right about the time our two migrating Red-Taileds came through after about 45 minutes of no rain. After that, the sky darkened, the ceiling lowered, waves of dark cumulus clouds moved in overhead and hung above us and to the west. Sleet and rain restarted at about 11:15 MST and unfortunately we ended the count after 3-1/4 hrs.
Raptor Observations: When the rain paused briefly after the first two hours, all the local and migrating Red-Taileds appeared within a 15 minute window. The first appeared from behind Green Mountain, circled up, went north, paused and circled above Table Mountain, then continued north to the limit of our binocs. The second Red-Tailed also appeared from behind Green Mountain circled up and north, then did a stoop back south, then a glide south back up in elevation, then another stoop south; four times it did this roller-coaster move until he led our eyes to a migrating Red-Tailed coming up from southeast of the ridge. The local acrobat then alighted on the telephone pole on the Rooney side above the motocross track.
Non-raptor Observations: Seen or heard: White-throated Swifts (5), Northern Flickers (2), Black-billed Magpie (1), Dark-eyed Junco (Gray-headed) (1), Spotted Towhees (3), Western Meadowlark (1). Reported on eBird. Two Spotted Towhees flew back and forth close to the ground on the north end of the platform between junipers, scrounging up berries deep inside while it rained. Two mule deer stared up at us from midway down the east side of the ridge.
Predictions: The trail was in excellent condition on the way up and down, but if rain continues it could be slick for Monday's climbers. ======================================================================== 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.