Observation start time: 09:00:00 Observation end time: 15:00:00 Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Debbie James
Visitors: The yearly Easter pilgrimage of Pray the Rosary was already up at the station when I arrived. They spend about a half hour praying the rosary, while I counted and identified birds, before taking off with their rough-hewned cross for the next station. Many hikers and bikers since it was a beautiful day.
Weather: Warm all day, even in the morning. Completely clear skies until the 1200 hour, and even then only 1%. There was heavy smog in the Denver basin, which when the winds picked up in the afternoon, blew up in the foothills and the 1-70 corridor.
Raptor Observations: What a fine day with the locals! There were 2 TV's, 2 male kestrels, 1 peregrine flying (zooming) north and then turning south on the east side of the Ridge, 1 Cooper's hawk that flew high overhead going straight east. And...an estimated 6 Red Tail Hawks that in the afternoon formed a kettle above Mt. Morrison. In the last hour 4 of these Red Tails were playing in the high winds on the east side of Ridge..flying north into the wind, gaining altitude, then rolling, diving and coming up to let the wind carry them at high speeds south down the valley. They kept this up for nearly the whole hour. As far as migrators, all but the TV's were on the east side of Ridge or directly above. Most flew low and were easy to watch without binoculars (after identification).
Non-raptor Observations: Big variety of other birds: 4 Western Meadowlark; 5 Black-billed Magpie; 2 House finch; 1 Townsend's Solitaire; 4 Woodhouse's Scrub Jay; 1 Broad-tailed Hummingbird; 2 Bushtits; 1 American Crow; a special treat of 1 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher who announced itself quite loudly; and 1 White-Throated Swift. There were a plethora of lovely butterflies, many grasshoppers, and one Eastern Fence Lizard who kept me company, sunning on the large slab rock next to all my gear. 2 fighter jets went low overhead--I could see bombs attached all under the wings.
Predictions: It's supposed to be about 10 degrees cooler, with a 10% chance of precip. Winds look to be about the same, so hopefully another good day for migrators. ======================================================================== 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.