Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end time: 14:00:00
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Mike Fernandez
Dominic (former Hawkwatcher and his parents current Hawkwatchers in NY)
from 0900-0930 mst was a great help in spotting. Then from 0930-1100 mst,
Pam (former longtime Dinosaur Ridge Hawkwatcher), led a group of
well-equiped and motivated adult students: Secondary school teachers taking
a continuing education class on raptors through the School of Mines. Talk
about eyes on the skies! The group of about 12 teachers had some
preparation yesterday (plus a few obviously had prior experience) and spent
90 minutes helping out. It turns out it was the busiest birding time of day
on the hill. Very promising for future Hawkwatch volunteers? It helped that
Pam met with Joyce earlier this week on the hill to plan. Generally, all
day there was never more than five minutes without someone visiting the
station (which is a welcome change). Sometimes it was hard to wind my way
through the crowds on the platform to keep up the watch, but so well worth
the extra help!
Gusty winds all day, but especially after 1100 mst when they shifted to the
west and temps dropped a bit. Gusts up to 7 BFT; I learned to keep my arms
tucked in (versus shaped like a kite) when holding up the binoculars
perched on the western edge of the platform in this wind. Cloud cover % was
volitile all day. Drive home, Colorado Rockies baseball radio: "gusts of
wind are picking up debris that looks like flocks of birds in Coors Field."
(WUnderground station: Soltera)
Local Red-tailed (counted 4 individuals) appeared often throughout the day
and hovered, but each time for less than a minute only to vanish in the
wind. Local Kestrel dashed low on the east ridge bottom early. Migrators
moved straight north in line with the ridge, directly above or slightly one
side or the other. Most were eye level or slightly above.
WHITE-THROATED SWIFTS! N=130. Ten came through migrating directly overhead
and to the east side as soon as i arrived; and it never let up all day. I
counted only the ones who kept moving north. Four mule deer on the west
slope mid level then moved to street level. Non Raptors seen or heard:
Black-billed Magpies (4), American Crows (4), Common Raven (8), Canyon Wren
(1), Mountain Bluebirds (2), Western Bluebird (1), Townsend's Solitaire
(3), American Robin (1), Spotted Towhee (2), Western Meadowlakr (1).
If you like to watch them fly in the wind, the Swifts–and who doesn't–could
be another good day.
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