Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end time: 14:00:00
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Joyce Commercon
Observers: Nancy Kranzow
Of the hikers, runners, and bikers on the trail today, most came up only
for the view. One polite biker, who left his ride at the gate-post, came up
to enjoy the view and briefly talk about the beauty of Colorado.
It was a mostly sunny day with the first two hours of the watch having wide
open blue sky with minimal cloud-cover found only at the horizons. Later
cloud-cover fluctuated between 40 and 60 percent, with most of the cover
provided by wispy cirrus. Temperatures ranged from 6 C to 13 C. The wind
came only from the west and, after a calm first half-hour, was pretty
solidly at either bft 4 or 5 for the rest of the watch. Visibility was
All the migrants were counted in the last three hours of the watch. All
passed, easily visible, near the Ridge or nearby over the valleys. All but
two migrated on the western side of the Ridge. A local adult Red-tailed
Hawk rushed in from the south to escort a juvenile Red-tailed Hawk migrant.
A Turkey Vulture moving north very close to the Ridge was the last migrant
of the day.
The many local Red-tailed Hawks, including a darker morph, hunted intensely
in the morning and some of them continued to kite in the wind, up and down
the Ridge, in the afternoon. A local adult Bald Eagle made a few
appearances during the day, moving north up the west-side valley at least
three times, circling, only to return south down the valley; once it was
seen to head back to the southeast, perhaps towards some lakes. A juvenile
or immature Golden Eagle, with no visible white in its wings but a fully
white tail-base, came north along the Ridge before heading east to Green
Mountain where it was attacked by a local Red-tailed Hawk before continuing
eastward. The local falcons observed today included a Peregrine Falcon, a
Prairie Falcon and a female American Kestrel.
A Townsend’s Solitaire was caught eating berries under the windbreak
juniper early in the morning. A Canyon Wren was heard often during the
first hour. The “now short-tailed” Black-billed Magpie was spotted again in
Rooney Valley. Also seen or heard were Western Bluebird, Spotted Towhee,
Northern Flicker, Bushtit, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Common Raven, and
White-throated Swift. Fourteen Mule Deer spent part of the afternoon in
Rooney Valley below HawkWatch. There was a heavy traffic jam on westbound
I-70 during the first few morning hours.
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