Observation start time: 08:15:00
Observation end time: 13:00:00
Total observation time: 4.75 hours
Official Counter: Joyce Commercon
Observers: Lee Farrell, Linda Farrell
Lee and Linda Farrell were indispensable in helping spot and follow the
high-flying migrants today. We were joined by Janice Sweet, a HawkWatcher
from Illinois; the extra eyes on the sky were very welcome. There were a
fair number of bikers and hikers, with and without dogs, on the trail
today. Many came to the platform, mostly for the view.
The day was warm and mostly cloudy, with thick cover to the north and west
and overhead in the first and last hours of the watch. Otherwise,
cloud-cover was a shifting mix of thick cumulus with thin veils of cirrus
that hovered mostly near 70% coverage. Today’s mild winds (mostly bft 1-2)
were variable but came mostly from the east or southeast. Temperatures rose
from 12 C to 22 C. Visibility was very good.
The highlight of the day was an adult Ferruginous Hawk that migrated north
along the Ridge, easily visible. The other migrants were either Red-tailed
Hawks or suspected Red-tailed Hawks (listed as unidentified buteos). Most
of these passed high and just to the west of the Ridge. Some circled up
extremely high over I70 and Cabrini before heading north. A large burst of
migrant activity occurred in the 15 minutes before noon MST with 9 possible
migrants being spotted during that time, five of which circled up high in a
kettle over Cabrini. Seven of these were confirmed to move northward. Two
from the kettle were lost and not seen to move north. All migrants, except
the Ferruginous Hawk, were at the limit of unaided vision or beyond. A
local male American Kestrel made a few appearances throughout the day. A
local Prairie Falcon was spotted overtop the Ridge south of the platform
before it headed back south.
A Canyon Wren was heard again several times today during the first hour of
the watch. Eleven Western Bluebirds slipped by in Rooney Valley, heading
north. A pair of Common Ravens, taking a rest from flying in tandem, landed
on the power poles nearby. Also seen or heard were Townsend’s Solitaire,
Spotted Towhee, Black-billed Magpie, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Northern
Flicker, and White-throated Swift. 25 elk were spotted south of Lookout
Mountain in the early morning.
Report submitted by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (<jeff.birek...>)
Dinosaur Ridge - Bird Conservancy of the Rockies 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