Date: 2/6/19 1:40 pm From: David Suddjian <dsuddjian...> Subject: [cobirds] Elbert and eastern Arapahoe counties Feb 5
I owled some across the north central tier of Elbert County early yesterday morning, encountering *Nor. Saw-whet Owl* in the pine forest block at Elizabeth (a cool but short visual of a bird perched on a roadside fence post), *Eastern Screech-Owl *at East Bijou Creek and Big Sandy Creek, *Barn owl *at East Bijou Creek and, of course, a number of *Great Horned Owls *holding forth. It was near calm and the dark starry skies were amazing, until the fog toward sunrise.
I was impressed to encounter 3 winter *Loggerhead Shrikes*. One in northeastern Elbert at CR 178 east of CR 133 had no winter season precedent in eBird for the county. Two in Arapahoe County included one at CR 241 continuing from when I saw it on Jan 2, and another at CR 42. That's Three Loggerheads on Feb 5, but I did not find any Northern Shrikes all day! A *White-throated Sparrow* with juncos was a treat at the CR 241 shrike spot. There were several flocks of 30-250* Lapland Longspurs* eastern Arapahoe, all in grain stubble fields. Elbert had few raptors but a single *Rough-legged Hawk*, *Ferruginous Hawk *and *Golden Eagle*, but the wide expanses of Arapahoe seemed nearly raptor free, yielding only 3 *Red-tailed Hawks* and 2 *Am. Kestrels *up to me.
Richmil Ranch Open Space in Arapahoe is a lovely spot, but don't go there now to practice counting birds. I made the 1.5 mile loop walk in good conditions, but had only four individual birds to count actually in the open space preserve: 3 *Eastern Bluebirds* (a treat) and one *Hairy Woodpecker.*