Observation start time: 09:30:00 Observation end time: 14:00:00 Total observation time: 4.5 hours
Official Counter: Joyce Commercon
Visitors: The muddy trail seemed to lower the number of hikers and bikers on the trail today. A few came up but only for the view.
Weather: The day was sunny with blue skies and zero cloud cover; by mid-afternoon, a few tiny clouds formed then dissipated along the western ridges. A few clouds finally rode the western horizon at the very end of the watch. The patchy snow that covered Green Mountain, the western valley and the western ridges thinned considerably as the day warmed during the watch from 10 C to 15 C. Mild winds (bft 1 and 2) were predominately from the east. Visibility was good.
Raptor Observations: Featureless blue skies made for a difficult watch. Luckily, the two morning migrants (the Cooper's Hawk and the Osprey) were not "too high" to see easily and came directly along the Ridge. A few hours passed before the next migrant, a Red-tailed, was spotted with binoculars, far down the Ridge and already very high. The last two migrants were caught in binocular scans of the western ridges. The Swainson's Hawk's identity was confirmed as it paused to circle up briefly near the Cabrini Shrine area and offered a view of a lighter body with black-in-back flight feathers before it headed north. In the morning, an apparently local Prairie Falcon, illuminated by the sun bouncing off the snow, soared and circled very high over the western valley but did not move north. Later, a local adult Cooper's Hawk was spotted in the western valley as well, much lower in altitude. The local Red-tailed Hawk pair sat together for a while on their favorite phone pole in Rooney Valley in the morning. The local Turkey Vultures made several rounds up and down the ridges and valleys.
Non-raptor Observations: A Red-breasted Nuthatch announced its presence with its tinny voice, then proceeded to inspect, carefully and quickly, a few trees near the platform. Also seen or heard were Spotted Towhee, Black-billed Magpie, Western Meadowlark, Black-capped Chickadee, White-throated Swift, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Western Bluebird, American Crow, Common Raven, Tree Swallow, and Townsend's Solitaire. ======================================================================== Report submitted by Matthew Smith (<matt.smith...>) 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.