Date: 1/26/19 5:40 pm From: David Suddjian <dsuddjian...> Subject: [cobirds] A report from Cheyenne County, Jan 25
Yesterday Dale Pate and I made a transect all the way across Cheyenne County from west to east, following the approach of my Jan 15 visit (reported previously). But this time we covered roads in the southern portion of the county, south of the Hwy 40 corridor (Jan 15 we were north of Hwy 40). Then in the afternoon as we returned west, we covered some roads north of Hwy 40 in the central part of the county between the towns of Cheyenne Wells and Kit Carson. It is about 61 miles from the west side to the east, and our total distance birding is greater as there are jogs north and south, and other deviations. And we get out of the car where appropriate.
Before our outing, I saw that eBird had only 12 checklists submitted for the last week of January for all years in Cheyenne County (compare to 1,853 checklists for the same week in Jefferson County - 2 orders of magnitude difference). We added 35 checklists for Cheyenne County yesterday. A summary of the totals from Jan 25 is provided below, along with the Jan 15 counts, and, for what it is worth, totals from both dates. I think it was a pretty good sample of the bird life out there right now, missing maybe a couple night owls and no doubt another few regular winter landbirds. Waterbird habitat seems absent. The ponds at the Kit Carson dump, if not frozen, are behind a locked gate.
It is interesting to note the contrasts between days. We had no *Golden Eagle* on Jan 15, but yesterday we found* five* Golden Eagles in Cheyenne County. And we had 4 more in Lincoln County along CR 39/Hwy 63. So we were happy with *NINE* Goldens in one day; it is not often that Golden Eagle is the most common raptor on a full day afield. But then yesterday we had "only" 4 *Rough-legged Hawks* in Cheyenne, compared to 27 on the northern transect on Jan 15. *Red-tailed Hawk* remained the least common of the hawks. A *Sharp-shinned Hawk* seen right across the state line on 14 Mile Road *in Kansas *was the only Accipiter either day. A *Merlin *continued at the Arapahoe Cemetery just west of the town of Arapahoe. Both days it flushed from pines near the southwest corner of the cemetery, flew around and perched at or near the cemetery. Here is a stake out Merlin for those passing that way. Our only *shrike* was one south of Wild Horse that flew off too quickly to be identified between Northern and Loggerhead. I was surprised not to encounter other shrikes over two full days. Similarly, we had only one *American Kestrel *in the county over both days. 3 others were along Hwy 287 in Lincoln.
*Lapland Longspurs* were far more abundant along the southern transect on Jan 25, with 3,711 as our cumulative tally of estimates and counts from our checklists.. Yesterday there were a number of corn and milo (and others?) stubble fields that had several 200-800 longspurs in evidence,, and we were sure there were many more that were out in the same fields but not flushing at the time we were there. Other similar appearing stubble fields did not seem to have any longspurs, so it was patchy abundance. In contrast, on Jan 15 we did not have any large flocks, and only found longspurs at two fields.
A *Downy Woodpecker* at the town of Cheyenne Wells was the only new species after Golden Eagle and Am. Kestrel. Songbird diversity remained low. A single adult *White-crowned Sparrow* at CR 58 east of Arapahoe was flagged by eBird as rare for Cheyenne, but they are likely regular in small numbers. Our 4 White-crowneds in 2 days was more than some other regular winter landbirds. We noted that the vast majority of our *Dark-eyed Juncos* were Slate-colored, with just one Oregon picked out among them.
Here to the roads less traveled,
David Suddjian Ken Caryl Valley Littleton, CO
Summary of Cheyenne County West to East Transect Birding 25-Jan 15-Jan Species South North Total Rock Pigeon 17 3 20 Eurasian Collared-Dove 28 50 78 Golden Eagle 5 -- 5 Northern Harrier 2 7 9 Red-tailed Hawk 1 2 3 Rough-legged Hawk 4 27 31 Ferruginous Hawk 3 2 5 Buteo sp. 1 -- 1 Downy Woodpecker 1 -- 1 Northern Flicker -- 1 1 American Kestrel 1 -- 1 Merlin 1 1 1 (same bird both dates) Prairie Falcon 1 4 5 Loggerhead/Northern Shrike 1 -- 1 Horned Lark 1806 985 2791 Townsend's Solitaire -- 1 1 American Robin -- 3 3 European Starling 253 148 401 House Finch 17 1 18 Lapland Longspur 3711 22 3733 American Tree Sparrow 83 38 121 Dark-eyed Junco 51 13 64 White-crowned Sparrow 1 3 4 Western Meadowlark 32 28 60 House Sparrow 100 279 379 Total Individuals 5523 1618 7737 Total Species 21 20 24