Observation start time: 08:30:00 Observation end time: 13:00:00 Total observation time: 4.5 hours
Official Counter: Joyce Commercon
Visitors: No visitors. Very few hikers and no bikers were seen on the slushy, muddy trail today.
Weather: The mild, sunny day was brightened even more by the snow cover on the ridges and in the valleys. Cloud-cover consisted of extremely thin, translucent cloud-veils and dissipating contrails; it never topped 50 percent. The winds were calm (bft 1-2). Temperatures rose from about 7 C to 12 C. Visibility was generally good, but an orange-brown pall hung in the Denver Basin in the morning.
Raptor Observations: Snow cover along the ridges and valleys made it easy to follow low- and mid-level raptor movement today. A Sharp-shinned Hawk flew north below eyelevel on the east side of the Ridge early in the morning. An adult Turkey Vulture also migrated straight north to the east over Rooney Valley a bit later. A juvenile Bald Eagle, with splotchy white underwings as well as whitish, faded upperwings, passed north over the western ridges. The last migrant was an unidentified buteo with a whitish underside (perhaps brightened by the snow) that was spotted (while scanning contrails) as it moved northeast, very, very high (HF4) over HawkWatch. The local Red-tailed Hawks did not seem to be as active today; a few, including the dark-morph, were seen nearby over Rooney Valley. Three local adult Turkey Vultures headed south down Rooney Valley in the morning. One adult Turkey Vulture was observed several times to come north up the west-side valley, circle low, usually against the Ridge, then return south. The local male American Kestrel spent the watch in Rooney Valley, hovering, hunting, or perched on junipers at the base of the Ridge.
Non-raptor Observations: A Canyon Wren was heard again but not until the afternoon. Also seen or heard were Townsend's Solitaire, Black-billed Magpie, Western Meadowlark, Spotted Towhee, Tree Swallow, Western Bluebird, American Robin, Common Raven, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Swift, American Crow, Black-capped Chickadee, and Northern Flicker. Seven Mule Deer were seen near Cabrini.
Predictions: Tomorrow, it is likely that the trail will still be mostly slick and sticky mud as the snow finishes melting. ======================================================================== Report submitted by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (<jeff.birek...>) Dinosaur Ridge - Bird Conservancy of the Rockies 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.