Date: 7/31/19 3:58 pm From: Brian Johnson <buntingrobinjay...> Subject: [cobirds] Rabbit Ears Pass and North Park Birding
This weekend I went camping on Rabbit Ears Pass and for once I did not get
rained out (which has been a problem this year). I had a great time
spending time outdoors and watching and find birds along Rabbit Ears Pass
and North Park.
I camped at a fantastic National Forest Service Campground called
Meadows (first come first served, no reservations, just know there is no
water). This is just before the West Summit if you are coming from
Walden/Kremmling or just after the summit if you are coming from Steamboat
Springs and on the Routt County side of the pass. It had a wonderful little
trail, located next to sit #14. There was plenty of dead trees and there
was one Three-toed Woodpecker here, though I never saw the bird I
definitely heard it and only during the mornings. It must be in another
part of the forest in the afternoon. There was also both a Swanson’s Thrush
and Hermit Thrush singing, giving me a great opportunity to learn the
difference between the songs, something I had not been good at before.
There was also a few Red Crossbills flying from tree to tree. The trails
along the pass were not very good however, they did not have good
maintenance so about a quarter of a mile I found the trail to have
disappeared. However, Dumont Lake had a great trail. At night I woke up and
briefly heard a Northern Saw-Wet Owl calling, and a pack of Coyotes signing
also woke me up. Another cool non-bird, Moose could be seen in the meadow,
thankfully a long way from my tent. This campground proved to be very birdy
and many of the birds I saw along the pass was there.
One the way home I went through North Park and stopped at Arapahoe
Wildlife Refuge, honestly one of the best birding spots in Colorado, and
the Auto Loop is top notch. Eared Grebes breed here, as do Wilson’s
Phalaropes, Ring-necked Ducks, Lesser Scaups, Willets, Avocets, and much
more. Driving through I found the expected birds, a Willet perched on a
sage calling was a neat site. Three was also a Golden Eagle getting nailed
by some Red-wing Blackbirds. The nearby Walden Reservoir also was a good
stop, where Black Terns, Franklin and California Gulls and American White
Pelicans breed. I had however forgot my scope so I could not enjoy this
part as much.
I also made a stop at the Moose Visitor Center, Stat Forest, Stat
Park and watched their wonderful feeders. The flowers were also amazing.
One the way back I made a side trip to see if I could find that
Painted Bunting at Chatfield Audubon Center, I spent about an hour and a
half, got a picture of a catbird and nearly got a heat stroke and never saw
that bunging. (Finally caught up to this day).
In total I saw/heard 96 birds, primarily at North Park and my campground.