Date: 2/2/18 12:48 pm
From: Joe Roller <jroller9...>
Subject: [cobirds] Mountain Bluebirds at Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR and a newly opened Auto Tour route.
There is an nice, paved auto tour that was opened at Rocky Mt Arsenal NWR
last October.
I checked it out and found a few raptors:
3 Bald Eagles,
5 Red-tails,
1 Ferrug Hawk
and a Prairie Falcon.

I toured there for less than an hour, but was surprised to see only one
Western Meadowlark and no Horned Larks.

Plus two Mountain Bluebirds. Although that species was found here and there
in Colorado during the winter,
these males were the first reported to eBird in the Metro area so far this
year.

The route I followed was the newly opened Auto Tour, which covers a lot of
untrammeled land on the north side of the Arsenal.
AND you get to cross First Creek twice - once on a sturdy bridge, then
closer to its "headwaters," through a little swale.

This is a one-way drive and for much of the route, you are advised to stay
in your vehicle, so as not to bother
the local herbivore - *Bison bison, *which roam unfenced. (I guess the
bison could reciprocate and bother you, too).
One shaggy beast was right on the shoulder of the road, which made it seem
more like Yellowstone than Genesee Park.

Being alone out there on the prairie was inspiring, in a landscape little
altered by "us." I usually need to get up to the
Pawnee Grasslands to get that same feeling.

Joe Roller, Denver

PS IF you go, please compile a separate checklist for the new eBird
hotspot, "Rocky Mountain Arsenal NWR--East Auto Tour."

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