Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end time: 14:00:00
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Joyce Commercon
Many hikers and bikers were on the trail today. Several visitors came up to
the HawkWatch Platform, but mostly only for the view. One hiker, with a
leashed and well-behaved dog, inquired about where the trail led southward.
An off-trail group of about a dozen hikers crossed the platform from the
north, barely taking in the view before continuing south.
The day was partly cloudy with scattered, thin, flat clouds that thickened
throughout the day; cloud-cover increased from 50 to 70 percent. Early
morning winds were mild (bft 1 and 2) and came briefly from the south but
soon blew mostly from the northeast. Average wind speed and gusts increased
during the watch to bft 3 and 4. Early morning visibility was good, but was
later decreased somewhat by a smoky haze which became evident across the
southern view by midday. Temperatures varied from 5 C to 12 C. Small
areas of patchy snow remain in shady or sheltered spots along the western
After yesterday’s good number of migrants, expectations for today were
elevated. However, this day, no raptors were observed migrating. Local
raptor activity was also generally slow. In the morning, three local
Red-tailed Hawks had a brief altercation near Mount Morrison Towers; two of
the hawks then circled together to the south, dropping legs. Later in the
afternoon, the local Red-tailed Hawks were finally seen again: circling
south on the Ridge, doing roller-coaster moves over the western ridges or
circling low, hunting in the western valley.
The raptor highlight of the day was a local, male American Kestrel that
sped north up the east side of the Ridge in the morning, only to stop and,
somewhat lazily, perch-hunt from a power line for about a half-hour. His
repeated low swoops north and south along the eastern flank of the Ridge,
returning to his power-line perch between each pass, certainly seemed to
quiet all the little birds in the area for a time.
At least four Townsend’s Solitaires appeared to move up and down the Ridge
during the day; it was a treat to hear some short snatches of song as well
as the usual single-note whistle. A pair of Bushtits spent a few hours near
the platform in the morning, not following the group of five or so that
moved north along the eastern side of Ridge during that same time-frame.
Mid-morning, a sun-lit, bright blue, male Mountain Bluebird passed the
platform going north; a flock of fifteen-to-twenty more Mountain Bluebirds
also migrated north along the western side of the Ridge in the last hour of
the watch. A pair of Common Ravens were spotted throughout the day, often
flying in tight flight formation performing aerobatic maneuvers. Several
American Crows were spotted up and down the valleys and occasionally along
the western ridges and Mount Morrison. Six Elk were seen near the top of
Bare Slope. Also seen or heard were Black-billed Magpie, a goose species
(far south), American Robin, Mountain Chickadee, Black-capped Chickadee,
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, Gray-headed Dark-eyed Junco, House Finch,
Slate-colored Dark-eyed Junco, and a rabbit.
Report submitted by Bird Conservancy of the Rockies (<jeff.birek...>)
Dinosaur Ridge - Bird Conservancy of the Rockies information may be found at:
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