Date: 5/12/18 2:00 pm
From: David Suddjian <dsuddjian...>
Subject: [cobirds] DFO Big Year update, and report from Southeast Colorado May 8-9
DFO's Big Year 2018 (all species we find in CO on planned DFO field trips)
passed a milestone with our trip to Southeast CO on May 8-9, breaking its
previous best annual total of 277 (set in 2017), as the Big Year total
reached 279 species on May 9. The tying bird was a male *Chestnut-sided
Warbler *kindly shared by Jane Stulp near Lamar in Prowers County, and the
"go ahead" species was *White-throated Sparrow* at Melody Tempel Grove in
Bent County. We added 6 species recorded for the 1st time on a DFO trip in
its 10 years of record keeping; these are marked below by an asterisk, if
you are interested to note which.

A brief run down of the trip, which ended up with 141 species:

*May 8*
Meeting at Fowler (Otero), we had *Chimney Swifts* right away. Olney
Springs Reservoir SWA (Crowley) seems to be infrequently birded (it is an
eBird hotspot) but we have enjoyed birding there very much two times now
this May. A highlight this time was a male *Nor. Parula*, along with *Plumbeous
Vireo*, several Eastern *Warbling Vireos*, a *Rock Wren* amid the riparian
and more. Moving east into Bent, we had *Lewis's Woodpecker* at Road HH, *Least
Flycatcher* and *Ash-throated Flycatcher *at Fort Lyons WA, then *Orchard
Oriole* and a cross-section of migrants at Hasty Campground, but nothing
out of the ordinary. A *Piping Plover** was enjoyed at the East boat launch
at John Martin. Arriving at Lamar Community College (Prowers) at mid-day,
we right away saw the continuing male *Scarlet Tanager**. Moving north to
Upper Queens Reservoir (Kiowa) the highlight was an a male *Black-throated
Green Warbler** near the west boat launch. It provided amazing views as it
perched near eye level for an extending period. The beach at the south side
of Upper Queens had 4 *Snowy Plovers* along with several other shorebird
species. At NeeNoshe (Kiowa) there was a nice selection of shorebirds along
the spit that is exposed north of the restroom, among them *Snowy *and
Plovers,* *Marbled Godwit*, and* Stilt Sandpiper**. At Melody Tempel Grove
(Bent) we had *Summer Tanager*, *Townsend's Warbler*, *Nor. Waterthrush*,
and *Red-bellied Woodpecker*. An evening excursion for *Black Rails** in
Bent found 4 calling birds at CR HH, a short way east of CR 13.

*May 9*
We began at Lamar CC and had *Mourning Warbler**, *Veery*, 2 fly over *Red
Crossbills* (Type 2, I thought), 2 *Least Flycatchers*, 3 *Northern
Cardinals*, mating *Mississippi Kites*, lots of *Chimney Swifts* and
more. Two Buttes below the dam (Baca County) was lovely and peaceful
(ignoring for the grackle yackle), but had very few migrants. We made our
way to Picture Canyon, enjoying grassland birds on the way. *Cassin's
Sparrows *were plentiful in areas of good habitat. 3 *Long-billed Curlews*
were at CR 18 between M and G. We were happy to see our first of season *Common
Nighthawk* at CR 21, where a ranch yard between G and D was especially
good. Two *Greater Roadrunners* were at a ranch yard along Road D at the
junction with the road leading into Picture Canyon, and another Roadrunner
was standing iconically atop the rim of the canyon. Picture seemed quiet
and Painted Bunting was not evident for us. We had 3 *Canyon Towhees*,
1 *Rufous-crowned
Sparrow*, 2 *Eastern Phoebes*, and 1 *Curve-billed thrasher*. A pair
of *Burrowing
Owls* along the west side of the entry road offered excellent looks from
the car, as their burrow was quite close.

Returning north we enjoyed the a-fore-mentioned *Chestnut-sided Warbler*
near Lamar. Melody Tempel Grove was quiet, but for the
"record-breaking" *White-throated
Sparrow*, *Least Flycatcher* and some others. We made a few short stops in
Elbert County on the way home and had a male *Rose-breasted Grosbeak* at CR

Black-throated Green Warbler at Upper Queens Res. (ph. Dale Pate)

Gr. Roadrunner in the distance at the rim of Picture Canyon (ph. Diane

David Suddjian
Ken Caryl Valley
Littleton, CO

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