Date: 2/18/18 12:56 pm From: Joe Roller <jroller9...> Subject: [cobirds] A day in the field with Chris Wood, DFO Field Trip to Larimer County
On Saturday 17 February our group of intrepid DFO birders ventured up to Larimer County with Chris Wood, who needs no introduction, unless you have not been introduced. Chris, a founder of eBird, was good company for the whole day, patiently answering our insightful questions (and several others) and pointing out some fine points of field identification.
At Lake Loveland we picked up our savvy guide, Nick Komar, who took us to umpteen choice birding locations, in a great variety of habitats in Larimer. The only time we ventured off the planned route was when I made a wrong turn, before we met Nick. BUT on that aberrant byway, we happened upon a tree full of "Dark Shape Sp" which we thought might have been roosting turkeys - not the more familiar roasting turkeys. We flipped a U-ie and in the dim pre-dawn light changed our minds, as the large cottonwood was a fowl one . A "muster" of perched Peafowl! All we could see in the weak light were the silhouettes - colorful birds rendered in black and white. The males' tails were unlike the caudal extremities of any Colorado bird. We were not able to see any de-tail, like pattern or color. The trip was off to a great start - one species of introduced, exotic, uncountable bird, the farmyard guardian.
We were hoping for at least one or more of the rara aves that have been present in Larimer, though elusive, over recent weeks. We wound up confirming that Harris's Hawk, American Woodcock and Common Redpoll were indeed elusive, as we had been told. At least they eluded us, despite diligently searching. So did a stake-out Pine Warbler, which might have been nearby, but did not stick out. Ditto for Mew and Glaucous Gulls, Swamp and Fox Sparrows, the red-phase Eastern Screech-Owl at the cemetery and a few others. We dipped on the ouzel.
BUT with warm sunshine, little wind and many species of more common birds, a good time was had by all. Among other places, we visited the CSU Environmental Learning Center, Larimer County Landfill, Horsetooth Reservoir and Mountain Park, Bobcat Ridge NA, Riverbend Ponds NA, Big Thompson Ponds SWA, Rigden Ponds and up and down the frontage roads of I-25, where the Harris's Hawk had been seen the day before. We studied a perched Prairie Falcon, looking pale and ghostly in the strong light, as well as several flavors of Red-tails, including a handsome Harlan's Hawk. Bald Eagles were all about, including one sitting on its giant nest. We heard the interesting call a first-year male Red-winged Blackbird makes - not quite up to par with the adults.The last bird of the day was a perched Sharp-shinned Hawk, which allowed Chris Wood to hold a seminar about details of accipiter ID.
Finally, I encourage each of you to brave the predicted inclement weather Monday evening, 2/19, DFO meeting at the Denver Museum of Natural History, to hear Chris Wood's presentation on "eBird and the Elephant's Child." (Hint: read your Rudyard Kipling). The show starts at 7, so be there earlier to find a place to park, enter through the north security door and schmooze a bit with the friendly crowd there.