Observation start time: 08:00:00 Observation end time: 12:30:00 Total observation time: 4.5 hours
Official Counter: Joyce Commercon
Observers: Gary Rossmiller, Matt Gray
Visitors: Matt Gray spent a few hours helping us and was very good at spotting raptors, and passerines, too. Sandy, a previous visitor, arrived near noon MST with a fairly large group of hikers, many of which were interested in HawkWatch; several were excited to see some of the local Red-tailed Hawks soaring very high above the platform.
Weather: The day started partly sunny with 50-percent thin, scattered, brush-stroke cloud-cover, which progressively thickened and increased, becoming heavy gray cumulus covering at least 80-percent of the sky by noon MST. Winds were from the east and southeast (bft 2-3). The temperature rose from 11 C to 15 C. Late morning brought the stronger breezes; lower level clouds moved west while upper level clouds moved east. Visibility was good, although the cloud ceiling dropped not long after noon, when a light, steady rain arrived from the west.
Raptor Observations: Most of the migrants were high today, even in the morning, but cloud-cover aided detection. The majority migrated along the western ridges or the western valley; even the few spotted along Dinosaur Ridge shifted to move north up the west-side valley. The highlight of the day was an immature (or possibly female) Northern Harrier that flew over the platform. A migrating Osprey and a nice view of a heavily-marked (dark-morph) juvenile Red-tailed Hawk were also welcome additions to the day. The local Red-tailed Hawks were out and about today, several of them soaring extremely high against the gray sky not long before the rain started. Earlier in the morning, one Red-tailed adult, situated on a pole in Rooney Valley, was harassed by a male American Kestrel until it was forced to leave its perch. The local Sharp-shinned Hawk was also seen a few times.
Non-raptor Observations: A few American Goldfinches were heard "potato-chipping" their way down Rooney Valley. About ten Violet-green Swallows passed the platform as they headed north up the western valley. Several White-throated Swifts flitted about all morning, up and down the ridges and valleys. Also seen or heard were House Finch, Western Meadowlark, Black-capped Chickadee, American Robin, Spotted Towhee, Common Raven, Canyon Wren, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, and Black-billed Magpie. Twelve Mule Deer were spotted at the base of the Ridge in Rooney Valley near noon. ======================================================================== 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.