Observation start time: 08:00:00
Observation end time: 14:00:00
Total observation time: 6 hours
Official Counter: Joyce Commercon
Observers: Richard Cuellar
Only a few hikers came up to the platform today, only for the view. One
young man, who had hiked north along nearly the entire Ridge, inquired
where the dinosaur footprints were, as well as the quickest and easiest way
to get back there.
The day was partly cloudy, with cloud-cover increasing from an initial
30-percent (mostly at the horizons and to the east) to about 60-percent
coverage (shifting, scattered cumulus interspersed with thin, higher
clouds). Relatively mild winds of bft 2-3 came initially from the east but
shifted about halfway through the watch to come a bit more forcefully (bft
3-4) from the northeast and north-northeast. The temperature rose from 15 C
to 19 C before the slightly chilly northeastern winds dropped it back down
to 17 C for the second half of the watch. Visibility from the platform was
acceptable but not as good as usual. A noticeable, thick wall of whitish
haze obscured the southeastern valley past about 10 km.
All but one of the migrants passed by in the first three hours傭efore the
wind changed to come from a more-northerly direction. Most came directly
alongside and close to the Ridge, which allowed for very nice views of the
Broad-winged Hawks, all of which were adults. A local Cooper's Hawk, with a
full crop, was observed in the morning to circle up very high, drifting to
the northwest over the west-side valley, but then it headed back southwest.
After the weekend sighting of a Zone-tailed Hawk at Chatfield State Park
(reported, with an accompanying photo, on CO Birds), every passing Turkey
Vulture was regarded today with extra scrutiny, but all were determined to
be the regular locals.
Several swallows were seen flitting up and down the Ridge, often in small
groups. Most of these were Tree Swallows but a couple of Violet-green
Swallows were also spotted today. Quite a few unidentified songbirds, many
of them likely warblers, moved north along the Ridge; one specific group
looked and sounded a lot like Kinglets as they flew by. Also seen or heard
were American Robin, Spotted Towhee, Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, Western
Meadowlark, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Common Grackle,
Black-capped Chickadee, Black-billed Magpie, White-throated Swifts, Common
Raven, Northern Flicker, Mountain Chickadee, and Rock Wren. Seven Mule Deer
were seen near Bare Slope in the morning.
Report submitted by Matthew Smith (<matt.smith...>)
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