Date: 2/3/18 5:53 am From: 'Dan Stringer' via Colorado Birds <cobirds...> Subject: [cobirds] Bent County, Prowers County, Kiowa County, Crowley County
Yesterday Tom Whitten and I did an ambitious southeast circle, a 60 species winter day but we covered a lot of ground to find the birds, starting early in Bent County at Ft Lyon Wildlife Easement, then to Van's Grove, John Martin Reservoir, Hasty Campground, then Prowers county to Lamar Community College Woods, Thurston Reservoir, then Kiowa County to visit Upper Queens and Lower Queens Reservoirs, Neenoshe Reservoir, then up through Eads and west to Lakes Meredith and Henry in Crowley County.
Highlights in Bent County were a huge number of Snow Geese with Ross's mixed in at John Martin Reservoir, many thousands on the water with Bald Eagles standing on all sides of the surrounding ice, with wave after wave of white geese coming in above us for over an hour. At Hasty campground below the dam we saw three Greater Roadrunners in less than ten minutes, it was a bit of a stunner. They were walking in the short grass, bug-catching. In Prowers County, Lamar Community College woods had a large concentration of American Robins and a few Townsend's Solitaires focusing on the junipers, along with a Yellow-rumped Warbler, a Ruby-crowned Kinglet, and two Northern Cardinals. At Thurston Reservoir we saw something interesting, eight Red-tailed Hawks and one Rough-legged Hawk lined up on the shoreline, with ducks swimming near and sometimes right in front of them...the hawks ignored the ducks, it appeared that the high water had receded, leaving fish in small pooled areas, with the hawks standing in a row dining together. In Kiowa County at Upper Queens Reservoir were massive numbers of Snow Geese, I'd estimate over ten thousand. Neenoshe Locust Grove with a Merlin on guard was quiet.
Other than John Martin which was mostly iced over, the reservoirs were all open water, the large numbers of Western Meadowlarks and Great Blue Herons seemed indicative of the mild winter we've had, eight raptor species with very high counts were seen at all locations, including a couple Harlan's Red-tailed Hawks, two Prairie Falcons, a Merlin, over 40 Northern Harriers, many Ferruginous Hawks including more dark-morphs than I'd previously seen, and lots of Rough-legged Hawks. Perched American Kestrals and Northern Shrikes were plentiful and it occurred to me that they had a lot to choose from with all open ground, no snow cover. Notable misses were no Loons, no Longspurs.