Date: 4/18/17 4:30 pm From: 'Dan Stringer' via Colorado Birds <cobirds...> Subject: [cobirds] Chico Basin, Ramah Res (El Paso County)
This morning I went to the El Paso County side of Chico Basin Ranch (fee area), with Wild Turkeys and a Golden Eagle on the way in, also 8 Loggerhead Shrikes which I thought was a bit of a high number. Inside Chico I had Curve-billed Thrasher and three first of year birds: Vesper Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, and Northern Mockingbird. I arrived at the banding station at 9:30 (late) to an Eastern Phoebe, a couple Yellow-rumped Warblers, a Great Horned Owl, and first of year Chipping Sparrows.
At the small pond near headquarters, a Canyon towhee stalked me for a bit, both Grackles showed up, first of year birds were 2 Hermit Thrushes and an Ash-throated Flycatcher. A healthy number of Yellow-rumped Warblers were active, about 26. At the larger lake to the south, among the ducks and an Eared Grebe there were American Avocets, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, and 2 first of year Spotted Sandpipers. Another Loggerhead Shrike and a Ladder-backed Woodpecker were just south of the lake. Notable "not-yets" for me in this area were no Kingbirds, Swallows, Brown Thrashers, or Lark Buntings, and no other shorebirds except the Avocets and Spotties.
On Peyton Highway going north I saw another Golden Eagle and an unidentified Raven. I looked for Mountain Plover near Squirrel Creek Road and Ellicott Highway but found none. Also no Burrowing Owls today but I didn't give it a proper search.
I arrived at Ramah Reservoir (also El Paso Co) at noon, the wind and I had the place to ourselves. Looks like it'll be good for shorebirds in the coming weeks, fairly low with shoreline/mud all around it although I don't pretend to know who/what will affect future retention or outflow. Today along with pelicans, ducks, and coots I had 2 Lesser Yellowlegs, 1 Greater Yellowlegs, a few Franklins Gulls above, and more first of year species: Tree Swallows,5 American Pipits, 2 Bonaparte's Gulls, and a flock of 9 Least Sandpipers which flew in for me to study.
Sorry about all of the "first of year" references. It's an interesting time with so many species arriving in April, and so many "not yet" birds. Come to think of it I haven't seen a Brown-headed Cowbird yet. I can hardly wait.