Observation start time: 08:15:00 Observation end time: 14:15:00 Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Mike Fernandez
Observers: Carol Cwiklinski, Steve Small
Visitors: Steve Small and Carol Cwiklinksi, widely experienced hawkwatchers, joined early and for the duration. They hawkwatch all over the country and Carol has been employed by Hawkwatch International in the education area and also helped with pilot testing new sites. They have just relocated to Denver and hope to be regulars once they settle in. Busy day on the trail, but few curiosity seekers.
Weather: Almost all the action today, locals and migrators, was on the west side. Mild winds were from the east most of the day and temperatures rose quickly in cloudless skies making height of flight a challenge.
Raptor Observations: Other than local Kestrels hunting the east side and local Turkey Vulters managing low on the west side, it was all high flyers to the west. So today we came up with a new bird code: "US" (Unidentified Specks, or "BS," Black Specks). On arrival, a column of several local US's appeared far down Ridge. Then two brightly colored local Cooper's Hawks appeared overhead only to melt into the sun; given the day, I'm not sure if they were real or a Greek myth. Repeated columns of non-migrating mixed birds (Common Ravens, Turkey Vultures, Red-Taileds, Accipiters) over Westridge appeared several times during the watch. The local Golden Eagle did rise to overhead from the southwest. It was good to see Broad-wingeds and Swainson's continue moving through.
Non-raptor Observations: Non Raptors seen or heard today: American White Pelican (6), White-throated Swift (7), Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay (3), Black-billed Magpie (5), American Crow (4), Common Raven (7), Violet-green Swallow (6), Black-capped Chickadee (2), Mountain Chickadee (2), Canyon Wren (1), Western Bluebird (3), American Robin (1), Spotted Towhee (3), Western Meadowlark (2), House Finch (2). A small group of white-tailed deer kept an eye on us from the bottom of the east side mid day.
Predictions: Hopefully more Swainson's and Broad-wingeds; and lower heights of flight. If you have a scope, bring it. That plus sunscreen. ======================================================================== 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.