Observation start time: 08:00:00 Observation end time: 14:00:00 Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Mike Fernandez
Observers: Carol Cwiklinski, Steve Small
Visitors: Approximately 20 visitors to the platform today, but none with any questions about what we were doing. We were fairly busy with binoculars consistently up for core hours.
Weather: All day: Chilly but mild east winds and mostly sunny with a thick brown cloud low on the northeast horizon, haze to the south, and clear blue skies northwest. Wispy clouds persisted most of the day over the summits to the west, which, combined with easterly winds, made for good (even if distant HOF) visibility of migrators. They mostly took that path in the flyway. Very few were seen directly over or east of the ridge. WeatherUnderground PWS: Solterra.
Raptor Observations: Migrating Raptors: The predominant pattern for migrators was to appear south of Mt. Morrison, rise in a column, and then continue north and northwest passing Bare Slope and beyond. Nearly all beyond limit of unaided eye for initial spotting, requiring extensive use of binocs (HOF 3-4). The usual looking straight down ridge was not very productive today. Of all the RTHA, a couple were very dark morph today. Brilliant to see against the sunlight.
Non-Migrating Raptors: A pair of Red-tailed escorts were very busy all day. A very clearly marked Prairie Falcon (armpits lit up by bright sunlight) stooped an arch from Green Mountain through Golden and then over West Ridge was conservatively not counted as a migrator.
Non-raptor Observations: Busy start to the day (interesting that this was earlier start to the count, 8:00 AM MST versus usual 9:00 AM MST due to daylight saving time) with lots of small bird activity and sound effects. That, in spite of extreme motocross noise due to an event down in thunder valley today. Robins hung out in the juniper trees ridge west most of the day.
Woodhouse's Scrub-jay (3), Black-billed Magpie (8), American Crow (3 plus many distant corvid sightings that may have included AMCR), Black-capped Chickadee (1), Western Bluebird (5), Mountain Bluebird (4), Bluebird species (11, HOF too great to distinguish), Townsend's Solitaire (3, sharing branch space frequently with AMROs), American Robins (6), and House Finch (2).
All birds submitted to eBird.
Predictions: Look west if the easterlies prevail.
======================================================================== 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.