Date: 7/10/17 11:08 am From: David McDonald <DBMcD...> Subject: Flammulated Owls and Powder Rim SW species
My son Will and I went birding in the Sierra Madres (W of Encampment) and on the Powder Rim (W of Baggs) Wed to Fr, 5 to 7 July.
Highlight at the Battle Ck campground (no water) in the Sierra Madres was a calling Flammulated Owl at one of the bends above the Battle Creek campground (about Mile 33 on the road from Encampment to Baggs). Also had calling Poorwills – one landed on the road near us.
*** We then went to “Aspen Alley” (Deep Creek Road) which goes off to the north, at about Mile 32 (well marked). This is the famous row of aspens that has, for example, been on the cover of the WY highway map. Flamms there too! [Am not aware of anyone reporting them from that spot, and though they were further away than ones I have seen at Battle Creek, they were more visible because the habitat is more open]. We spent a LONG time chasing them around (probably less than 150 m from the north end of the alley). Finally saw a silent bird (female that emerged from a nest cavity?) and a calling male, and could hear another calling male.
We then went on to the Powder Rim. Not so easy to find any more (with many new oil & gas roads). Using Oliver Scott’s WY bird-finding book, we started at Sand Creek Road, 7 miles north of Baggs, went in 10 miles to where the road forks (take the left or S fork) and another 7 miles to the bridge (repaired since Scott’s time). [Nice birds along here included Sagebrush Sparrows and Loggerhead Shrikes]. Then the tricky part (diverging from Scott’s directions). 5 miles beyond the bridge, the “main” road goes straight (or perhaps slightly to the right) but the road up to the Rim goes to the left. [We followed the right, on the new or improved oil road; that led to an abortive attempt to take my beater Subaru Forester up a track that … though we saw Gray and Ash-throated Flycatchers again, and a Plumbeous Vireo, because of it, so not all bad]. In another 2 miles [this is the 7 miles in the Scott book] there is yet another (3-way) fork. Do not drop down to the south (left), nor on to the grassy (right) fork. Stay on the middle “road” that goes uphill toward the rim. The road is not good in places after this. We went on to Powder Mountain and camped there. A hummer (likely Black-chinned) buzzed by, but highlights we saw well included Gray and Ash-throated Flycatchers, great look at calling Poorwill on a snag, Bewick’s and Rock Wrens and glimpses of kangaroo rats.
If you want remote (take water!), Powder Rim is great. Must admit, though, that everything one sees there is likely much easier at Little Firehole Road near Flaming Gorge (and some of the species there do not seem to occur on the Powder Rim).
Good birding to y’all (southern WY variation of Chris M’s classic greeting).
Commercial plug: contact me if you might be interested in a “civilian” trip to Ecuador in October or November. I will be running one (on sabbatical there Sep 2017 to June 2018) in a new area in the north. Cushier accommodations and some really great places (7,000 to 8,000 feet elevation in the dry north-central valley, about 2 hrs N of Quito). Will also run a UW student trip in Jan 2018, which might have some openings for civilians. That one will be at my usual spot at Milpe (2 hrs W of Quito). Research highlights there include high speed video of manakin displays that are too rapid for the human eye, and conservation of Black-and-chestnut Eagle, including attempt to establish first-ever webcams at nests.
David B. McDonald <dbmcd...>
Dept. Zoology & Physiology, Dept. 3166
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071