phil jeffrey:: AZ-NM-CO trip report
Consulting Stuart Healey's detailed journal entries for May for 2001-2009 it's obvious that my targets are already in place by May 20th, and further research on BNA suggested that Empidonax flycatchers would be on territory on or around then. The fact that Memorial Day is May 29th pretty much nailed the schedule: I decided to start on May 18th. This means losing the late spring migrants in NYC like Mourning Warbler, and I'd be cutting it fine for late spring arrivals like Varied Bunting and Sulfur-bellied Flycatcher but one cannot have everything. (I also saw both of those species on this trip, although only one Varied Bunting).
With 20/20 hindsight, some species were still on the move - Western Tanagers in unexpected lowland locations, some non-breeding Empidonax were certainly moving through non-breeding territories (the lowland ones may have been Pacific-slope, the ones on the higher ground looked more like Dusky/Hammond's) and there were a fair number of Townsend's (and two Hermit) Warblers. I missed Black Swift but to be certain of that species I would need to visit CO at the end of June or some time in July (the same is true of the Jemez Falls site in NM). Pacific-slope Flycatcher was apparently making its way through lowland AZ as of the middle of June.
Bold species are life birds.
|Common Loon||CO: Big Johnson Reservoir|
|Least Grebe||AZ: Sweetwater Wetlands|
|Pied-billed Grebe||AZ: Sweetwater Wetlands; NM: Bosque del Apache; CO: assorted lakes|
|Eared Grebe||AZ: Willcox Playa; CO: Walden, Windy Gap Reservoir, Big Johnson Reservoir|
|Western Grebe||NM: Bosque del Apache; CO: Walden, Windy Gap Rsvr, Big Johnson Rsvr|
|Clark's Grebe||NM: Bosque del Apache del Apache;|
|American White Pelican||CO: Walden, Windy Gap, Big Johnson|
|Neotropic Cormorant||NM: Bosque del Apache del Apache|
|Double-crested Cormorant||NM: Bosque del Apache; CO: Denver fly-overs, Big Johnson Rsvr|
|Least Bittern||NM: Bosque del Apache del Apache;|
|Great Blue Heron||AZ: Aravaipa, Kino; NM: Bosque del Apache; CO: various|
|Great Egret||AZ: Kino Springs; NM: Bosque del Apache del Apache;|
|Snowy Egret||AZ: Walden|
|Green Heron||NM: Bosque del Apache del Apache;|
|White-faced Ibis||AZ: Willcox Playa; CO: Big Johnson Reservoir|
|Black Vulture||AZ: Patagonia rest stop|
|Black-bellied Whistling-Duck||AZ: Rio Rico agricultural fields|
|Canada Goose||NM: Bosque del Apache del Apache, Albuquerque; CO: various lakes|
|Wood Duck||NM: Rio Grande Nature Ctr|
|Gadwall||NM: Bosque del Apache del Apache; CO: various lakes|
|American Wigeon||CO: Hayden and other ponds|
|Blue-winged Teal||CO: Big Johnson Reservoir|
|Cinnamon Teal||NM: Bosque del Apache del Apache; CO: various lakes|
|Northern Shoveler||AZ: Willcox; NM: Bosque del Apache; CO: various lakes|
|Northern Pintail||CO: Walden|
|Green-winged Teal||AZ: Willcox Playa, various lakes|
|Redhead||AZ: Willcox Playa; CO: Walden etc|
|Ring-necked Duck||CO: Hayden, other lakes|
|Lesser Scaup||CO: Walden|
|Common Goldeneye||CO: Windy Gap Reservoir|
|Bufflehead||CO: Windy Gap Reservoir|
|Common Merganser||CO: Windy Gap Reservoir|
|Ruddy Duck||AZ: Sweetwater Wetlands; CO: various lakes|
|Osprey||CO: near RMNP|
|White-tailed Kite||AZ: State Line Rd near Portal|
|Northern Harrier||CO: 80 Route nr Hayden|
|Gray Hawk||AZ: Patagonia, Kino Springs, Arivaca Cienega, Ruby Road|
|Common Black-Hawk||NM: Gila River|
|Swainson's Hawk||AZ: Sierra Vista; CO: eastern plains, Middle Park|
|Zone-tailed Hawk||AZ: Cave Creek cyn and Patagonia|
|Ferruginous Hawk||CO: Pawnee NG; WY: near Cheyenne|
|Golden Eagle||CO: North/Middle Park|
|American Kestrel||various farmland|
|Chukar||CO: Escalante Cyn|
|Ring-necked Pheasant||NM: Bosque del Apache and Rio Grande; AZ: Barr Lake SP|
|White-tailed Ptarmigan||CO: Medicine Bow Curve at Rocky Mountain NP|
|Sharp-tailed Grouse||CO: 80 Route nr Hayden|
|Wild Turkey||AZ: canyons (Scotia, Pinery, Madera)|
|Scaled Quail||AZ: Portal|
|Common Moorhen||NM: Bosque del Apache del Apache|
|American Coot||AZ, NM, CO|
|Sandhill Crane||CO: Hayden, Craig|
|Willet||CO: Big Johnson Reservoir (Western ssp)|
|Mountain Plover||CO: Pawnee NG|
|Black-necked Stilt||AZ: Willcox Playa; NM: Bosque del Apache; CO: Walden|
|American Avocet||NM: Bosque del Apache; CO: various lakes|
|Spotted Sandpiper||NM: Bosque del Apache; CO: various lakes|
|Western Sandpiper||AZ: Willcox Playa|
|Wilson's Snipe||CO: near WY border|
|Wilson's Phalarope||AZ: Willcox Playa; CO: Walden and various lakes|
|Franklin's Gull||CO: Walden, Windy Gap, other lakes|
|California Gull||CO: Walden, Windy Gap, other lakes|
|Black Tern||CO: Cortez, Big Johnson Reservoir|
|Forster's Tern||CO: Walden|
|Rock Pigeon||urban, colonizing Colorado NM and some overpasses near Grand Junction|
|Band-tailed Pigeon||AZ: Carr Cyn, and other cyns|
|White-winged Dove||AZ, NM|
|Eurasian Collared-Dove||CO: Craig and Meeker|
|Greater Roadrunner||AZ: Sweetwater Wetlands; NM: Bosque del Apache|
|Great Horned Owl||AZ: below Madera Cyn, Sulphur Springs Valley|
|Whiskered Screech-Owl||AZ: Madera Cyn, South Fork Cave Creek|
|Elf Owl||AZ: Madera Cyn fly-outs also heard at Cave Creek|
|Burrowing Owl||CO: Pawnee NG|
|Lesser Nighthawk||AZ: Continental, Sierra Vista, lowland desert areas|
|Common Nighthawk||NM: Rio Grande Nature Ctr; CO: Pawnee NG|
|Common Poorwill||AZ: Portal, Pinery Cyn at Chiricahuas|
|White-throated Swift||ubiquitous at higher elevations|
|Broad-billed Hummingbird||AZ: riparian, widespread|
|White-eared Hummingbird||AZ: Miller Cyn at Beatty's CAS|
|Violet-crowned Hummingbird||AZ: Patagonia at Patons|
|Blue-throated Hummingbird||AZ: Ramsey, Miller Cyns|
|Magnificent Hummingbird||AZ: Ramsey, Miller, Madera, Carr, Ash Cyns|
|Lucifer Hummingbird||AZ: Ash cyn B&B|
|Black-chinned Hummingbird||AZ: all cyns|
|Anna's Hummingbird||AZ: Miller cyn, Ash cyn|
|Broad-tailed Hummingbird||AZ: all the cyns; NM: montane; CO: montane|
|Elegant Trogon||AZ: Madera Cyn (heard), South Fork Cave Creek, Scotia Cyn (heard)|
|Lewis's Woodpecker||CO: Animas River nr Durango|
|Acorn Woodpecker||AZ: Madera Cyn, South Fork Cave Creek, Scotia Cyn etc|
|Gila Woodpecker||AZ: deserts, Aravaipa Cyn|
|Williamson's Sapsucker||CO: montane near Ouray|
|Red-naped Sapsucker||CO: Endovalley at Rocky Mountain NP|
|Ladder-backed Woodpecker||AZ, NM: mountain cyns|
|Hairy Woodpecker||AZ, CO: montane|
|Arizona Woodpecker||AZ: Madera Cyn|
|Gilded Flicker||AZ: foothills of Mount Lemmon, also probably Aravaipa Cyn lower regions|
|Olive-sided Flycatcher||CO: Pine Valley Ranch Park|
|Greater Pewee||AZ: Mt Lemmon (heard), Carr Cyn at Comfort Spring|
|Western Wood-Pewee||widespread in all woodlands|
|Hammond's Flycatcher||NM: FR-289 near Los Alamos; CO: Rocky Mountain NP|
|Gray Flycatcher||NM: Bandelier NM; CO: Ouray|
|Dusky Flycatcher||NM: Los Alamos FR-289; CO: Black Cyn of the Gunnison|
|Cordilleran Flycatcher||AZ: Madera Cyn, Cave Creek Cyn, Mt Lemmon; CO: Pine Valley Ranch Park|
|Buff-breasted Flycatcher||AZ: Scotia Cyn, Carr Cyn at Comfort Spring|
|Black Phoebe||AZ: widespread in riparian|
|Say's Phoebe||AZ: Madera Cyn, other lower cyns|
|Vermilion Flycatcher||AZ: widespread in riparian|
|Dusky-capped Flycatcher||AZ: all canyons|
|Ash-throated Flycatcher||AZ: most canyons, desert|
|Brown-crested Flycatcher||AZ: most canyons|
|Sulphur-bellied Flycatcher||AZ: Ramsey, Cave Creek|
|Tropical Kingbird||AZ: Arivaca Cienega|
|Cassin's Kingbird||AZ: various riparian|
|Thick-billed Kingbird||AZ: Patagonia, Patagonia Rest Stop|
|Western Kingbird||AZ: multiple, NM: southern, CO: plains|
|Eastern Kingbird||CO: Barr Lake SP|
|Rose-throated Becard||AZ: Patagonia Rest Stop|
|Loggerhead Shrike||AZ: Portal (1 only!)|
|Bell's Vireo||all lower canyons|
|Gray Vireo||AZ: Mt Ord; CO: Ouray, Colorado NM|
|Plumbeous Vireo||AZ, NM: all canyons and montane; CO: Pine Valley Ranch Park|
|Hutton's Vireo||AZ: canyons|
|Warbling Vireo||AZ, NM, CO: riparian|
|Gray Jay||CO: montane|
|Steller's Jay||AZ: Mt Lemmon; CO montane|
|Western Scrub-Jay||AZ, NM, CO|
|Mexican Jay||AZ: all canyons|
|Clark's Nutcracker||CO: montane|
|Black-billed Magpie||CO: central|
|American Crow||CO only but widespread there|
|Chihuahuan Raven||AZ: Portal etc|
|Horned Lark||AZ, NM, CO - widespread in all dry grasslands|
|Tree Swallow||CO: Hayden|
|Violet-green Swallow||montane, especially in CO|
|Northern Rough-winged Swallow||AZ, CO|
|Bank Swallow||CO: Big Johnson Reservoir|
|Cliff Swallow||many locations|
|Barn Swallow||many locations|
|Mountain Chickadee||AZ: Mt Lemmon; NM, CO: montane|
|Mexican Chickadee||AZ: Rustler Park in Chiricahuas|
|Bridled Titmouse||AZ: mountain canyons|
|Juniper Titmouse||NM: Bandelier NM; CO: Ouray, Colorado NM, South Rim Gunnison|
|Verdin||AZ: all lower canyons|
|Bushtit||AZ, NM, CO|
|Red-breasted Nuthatch||AZ: Mt Lemmon; CO: Pine Valley Park|
|White-breasted Nuthatch||AZ, NM, CO|
|Pygmy Nuthatch||AZ: Mt Lemmon; NM: Bandelier; CO: montane|
|Brown Creeper||various montane|
|Cactus Wren||AZ: desert scrub|
|Rock Wren||CO: Cameo|
|Canyon Wren||AZ: canyons especially Ramsey and Madera where seen closely|
|House Wren||AZ: montane|
|Ruby-crowned Kinglet||AZ, CO: montane|
|Blue-gray Gnatcatcher||AZ, NM, CO various|
|Western Bluebird||NM, CO|
|Mountain Bluebird||NM, CO|
|Townsend's Solitaire||NM: Los Alamos|
|Hermit Thrush||higher canyons|
|Sage Thrasher||CO: Colorado NM|
|Crissal Thrasher||AZ: Portal|
|American Pipit||CO: Rocky Mountain NP, Mount Evans|
|Olive Warbler||AZ: Cave Creek, Carr Cyn; NM: Emory Pass in Black Range|
|Orange-crowned Warbler||AZ: Madera Cyn|
|Virginia's Warbler||AZ: Mt Lemmon, Carr Cyn; NM: Bandelier NM; CO: South Rim Gunnison|
|Lucy's Warbler||AZ: Florida Wash, Portal|
|Yellow Warbler||AZ, NM, CO|
|Yellow-rumped Warbler||AZ, NM, CO|
|Black-throated Gray Warbler||AZ: cyns|
|Townsend's Warbler||AZ: upper cyns, surprisingly widespread|
|Grace's Warbler||AZ: upper cyns|
|Wilson's Warbler||AZ, NM: widespread, less so in CO|
|Red-faced Warbler||AZ: upper cyns; NM: Emory Pass in Black Range|
|Painted Redstart||AZ: most cyns|
|Rufous-capped Warbler||AZ: junction of Sycamore and Montana Canyons|
|Yellow-breasted Chat||AZ: San Pedro riparian corridor, Gila River|
|Flame-colored Tanager||AZ: Madera Kubo|
|Hepatic Tanager||AZ: cyns; NM: Bandelier NM|
|Summer Tanager||AZ, NM|
|Western Tanager||AZ, NM, CO|
|Green-tailed Towhee||AZ: Carr Cyn Comfort Spring, CO: various|
|Spotted Towhee||AZ, NM, southern CO|
|Canyon Towhee||AZ, NM|
|Abert's Towhee||AZ: San Pedro, Sweetwater Wetlands|
|Rufous-winged Sparrow||AZ: Florida Wash|
|Cassin's Sparrow||CO: Pawnee NG|
|Botteri's Sparrow||AZ: Florida Wash, Proctor Rd parking lot|
|Rufous-crowned Sparrow||AZ: Florida Wash, Sycamore Cyn, California Gulch etc|
|Chipping Sparrow||CO: montane|
|Brewer's Sparrow||CO: Pawnee NG|
|Black-chinned Sparrow||AZ: Mt Ord, Proctor Rd at Madera Cyn|
|Vesper Sparrow||CO: Hayden, Colorado NM|
|Lark Sparrow||AZ: incidental desert edges, Patagonia|
|Black-throated Sparrow||AZ: Florida Wash and other desert areas|
|Lark Bunting||CO: Pawnee NG, WY: Cheyenne area|
|Song Sparrow||AZ, CO|
|White-crowned Sparrow||AZ: Sweetwater Wetlands !! CO: Rocky Mountain NP|
|Dark-eyed Junco||NM, CO: montane|
|Yellow-eyed Junco||AZ: Cave Creek, Mt Lemmon|
|McCown's Longspur||CO: Pawnee NG|
|Chestnut-collared Longspur||WY: Cheyenne area|
|Five-striped Sparrow||AZ: California Gulch|
|Black-headed Grosbeak||widespread in AZ, NM but less so in CO|
|Blue Grosbeak||AZ: Madera Cyn etc|
|Lazuli Bunting||CO: Escalante Cyn, Hayden 80 Route|
|Indigo Bunting||AZ: Madera Cyn|
|Varied Bunting||AZ: Madera Cyn|
|Yellow-headed Blackbird||CO: Walden|
|Great-tailed Grackle||AZ, NM|
|Bronzed Cowbird||AZ: Portal and Madera Cyn|
|Brown-headed Cowbird||unfortunately quite widespread|
|Hooded Oriole||AZ lower canyons|
|Bullock's Oriole||various but especially Barr Lake SP|
|Orchard Oriole||Barr Lake SP, CO|
|Scott's Oriole||AZ, NM: various|
|Brown-capped Rosy-Finch||Summit Lake at Mt Evans, CO|
|Pine Grosbeak||CO montane near Ouray|
|Cassin's Finch||CO montane|
|Red Crossbill||Rocky Mountain NP|
|Pine Siskin||CO montane|
Then further up AZ-88 to Mount Ord where GRAY VIREO, Black-chinned Sparrow, Scott's Oriole, Rufous-crowned Sparrow were all singing down-slope at the end of the paved section of the road a mere 1/4 mile in off the highway. The vireo was at a distance but did a pretty good rendition of the tail-wagging act while singing. Further up at the edge of the living pines near the burn there was Black-headed Grosbeak, several Black-throated Gray Warblers, Dusky/Hammond's Flycatcher, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Western Scrub-Jay.
I came down off Mt Ord and south to the Gila River via AZ-188 and AZ-77, where the first two stops at mile markers 145 and 144 along the river yielded several species but not the hoped-for Common Black-Hawk: Yellow-rumped Warbler (Audubon's), Black Phoebe, Broad-billed Hummingbird feeding a fledgling, Spotted Sandpiper, Mallard, Red-tailed Hawk, Bell's Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat in display flight, Hooded Oriole (1st year male), Violet-green Swallow, White-throated Swift. The dust here was loose-packed and powdery and the riverside park littered with trash. The heat was pretty intense.
Winkelman Flats Park, apparently the site of an old flood-devastated neighborhood, looked pretty used and abused and nicely decorated with a
a burnt out car at the entrance. In the middle of the afternoon diversity was not to be expected but it had Western Kingbird, Vermilion Flycatcher,
Ash-throated Flycatcher, House Finch, the first trip House Sparrows and European Starlings. The Mississippi Kites that are allegedly there did
not show themselves.
Skipping the Dudleyville site I took the road to Aravaipa canyon - a Flicker flew by the car but perched up too far away to confirm it as Gilded although in retrospect the habitat means that it almost certainly was (it perched on a Saguaro). The canyon also had Ash-throated Flycatcher, Gila Woodpecker, Summer Tanager, Cactus Wren, Orchard Oriole, Yellow Warbler, Vermilion Flycatcher, Phainopepla, hummingbird sp. (Broad-billed?), Western Wood-Pewee and Northern Rough-winged Swallow. I did not find any perched or nest-sitting Common Black-Hawks or Zone-tailed Hawks although it was late in the day when I toured this area. Perhaps the most novel find of the day was a White-nosed Coati at the metal bridge along a canyon-side stream, which hastily vanished when I put in an appearance. I believe that's a "life mammal".
300 miles (total: 300), overnight stay in Tucson
|Starting at Florida Wash before dawn, it was fairly active and held Canyon Towhee, Verdin, Bell's Vireo, Phainopepla, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, RUFOUS-WINGED and BOTTERI'S SPARROWS - both singing and seen well (although the Rufous-winged required a little more effort), also Black-throated Sparrow, Lucy's Warbler, and Ash-throated Flycatcher. The Botteri's Sparrow was perched up fairly close and the similarity between it and Rufous-winged Sparrow songs (there is, trust me, at least to an Eastern birder) caused momentary confusion until I saw the bird. The Botteri's had moved further up the wash by the next time I visited.|
Leaving Madera, I headed over dirt Box Canyon Road down to Sonoita and then the Patagonia Rest Stop. The Rose-throated Becard was elusive but THICK-BILLED KINGBIRD, Cassin's Kingbird, Brown-capped Flycatcher, White-throated Swift, a heard-only Canyon Wren and Black Vulture were notable at this site. In Patagonia itself at the Paton's feeders things were slow in the afternoon heat but Broad-billed Hummingbird, one Violet-crowned Hummingbird, Blue Grosbeak, Lark Sparrow, and Gambell's Quail with chicks were in the yard. A distant raptor was a possible Zone-tailed Hawk (I later saw this species over that area of Patagonia towards the end of the week), Northern Flicker (red-shafted), and Gila Woodpecker milled around, the latter using the hummingbird feeders. Black Phoebe and Yellow-breasted Chat were near the water pool.
It was late in the day so I skipped Patagonia Preserve and went to Kino Springs finding Barn Swallow, American Kestrel near the clubhouse but little else. The first pond along the Kino Springs Rd had a Raven nest, Gray Hawk, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Common Yellowthroat, many Gambel's Quail, Cassin's Kingbird. Finding myself on the "wrong" end of Ruby Road I decided to skip California Gulch and instead visited the agricultural fields north of Nogales at Rio Rico and had 20+ Black-bellied Whistling Ducks with Killdeer nearby. In retrospect Ruby Rd would have been entirely passable from that direction and no worse than the road in from Arivaca.
Then I moved onto Madera Cyn at dusk and had fly-out Elf Owl (with some people doing flash photography - dubious ethics), then heard Whip-poor-will, Elf and Whiskered Screech Owls from the road but nothing close. Common Poorwill also called from the slopes - it seemed to get quiet quickly. I did not turn up any Common Poorwill in a few mile excursion along Box Canyon Rd so headed back towards Tucson, picking up Lesser Nighthawks at the intersection in Continental on the way toward the interstate.
270 miles (total 570), overnight Tucson.
In the middle of the afternoon Sweetwater Wetlands had Killdeer, Pied-billed Grebe, Common Moorhen, American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Verdin and Wilson's Warbler and intense heat - I never end up birding here at the start of the day so it is always a quick and moderately unpleasant visit. I struck out on Scissor-tailed Flycatcher near Marana, but neither did I linger long to look for it. Heading south toward Nogales I took Aravaipa Rd and stopped at a rather parched Aravaipa Cienega where I found Tropical Kingbird, Vermilion Flycatcher, Common Ground-Dove and Gray Hawk. South of Aravaipa onto the Ruby Rd I had a Swainson's Hawk and then I turned onto the hellish road that leads to California Gulch. After a few miles of trying to avoid tearing the car apart on that road, I hiked down into the gulch and found Ash-throated Flycatcher, Black Phoebe, Empidonax sp (Pacific-slope-ish), Bewick's Wren, Rock Wren, heard Canyon Wren, Broad-billed Hummingbird, Rufous-crowned Sparrow. At dusk I finally found a FIVE-STRIPED SPARROW which gave good looks before vanishing, then one reappeared to pose for the Californian birders who were also there and had missed the first one.
Down at the Oro Blanco mine after sunset, everything grew silent very quickly after a few Common Poorwill sounded off in the hills. However eventually the Californian birders played a Buff-collared Nightjar song and the bird sounded off once. After finally giving up on the Buff-collared, the long-drive to Sierra Vista was made with few complications, even if traversing the California Gulch road was enough to give me a sore back the subsequent day.
360 miles (total 930), overnight Sierra Vista.
Down out of the canyon at 11am, I braved the heat to go to San Pedro House. Curve-billed Thrasher was nesting right next to the parking lot, and Black-chinned Hummingbird, Barn Swallow were at the feeders/drips along with Vermilion Flycatcher and Cassin's Kingbird nearby at the ponds. There was NO Tropical Kingbird and NO Green Kingfisher, but there was a regionally rare Northern Waterthrush as well as more expected passerines like Bullock's Oriole, Abert's Towhee, Yellow-breasted Chat, Lucy's and Wilson's Warblers, Common Yellowthroat and Lark Sparrow. A "Mexican" Mallard was in the river and a Swainson's Hawk over the parched grassland. A Western Scrub-Jay was along the main road near the house.
|I stopped for lunch in Sierra Vista to cool down before going to Ramsey Canyon. At Ramsey I found Black Phoebe, Western Wood-Pewee, Painted Redstart, Plumbeous Vireo, and a SULFUR-BELLIED FLYCATCHER just below the concrete pond housing the Leopard Toads. A Canyon Wren was nesting at the entrance building (I had eyeball to eyeball looks). There were Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Magnificent and Blue-throated Hummingbirds at the feeders. Storms rolling in and tiredness curtailed my efforts there. Owling at lower Carr Cyn in the evening was not productive at least partially due to windy conditions.|
100 miles (total 1030), overnight Sierra Vista.
By the time I left Scotia Cyn the wind was gale force, as predicted - with dust kicked up in pastures and in the desert valley. I did not look for sparrows in the grasslands given the conditions but there were a number of Horned Larks milling around.
|After lunch I went to Miller Canyon and in particular the Beatty's Controlled Access Site ($5 donation) where as advertised two male WHITE-EARED HUMMINGBIRDS were present along with a variety of other hummingbirds: Anna's, Magnificent, Blue-throated, Broad-tailed (abundant), Broad-billed and Black-chinned Hummingbirds. The first male White-eared Hummingbird came in so quickly I barely had the camera on the tripod (no fill-flash). The second male took a while to appear but always managed to be on the opposite side of the closest feeder (perhaps just as well - that feeder was too close for my lens). Note to self: should pack more extension tubes for photography at the CAS since the feeders can be close.|
150 miles (total 1180), overnight Sierra Vista.
Going back down the canyon a Brown Bear was an unexpected discovery, with Band-tailed Pigeon being more predictable. Bronzed Cowbird was at the feeders in Portal near the store. After lunch I headed up to Rustler Park at the top of the Chiricahuas. A single MEXICAN CHICKADEE was in the pines above the spring, with Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler, Hermit Thrush and Pygmy Nuthatch. Up the crest trail there were a pair of OLIVE WARBLERS, Townsend's Warbler and Red-faced Warbler. (Noted absence of Greater Pewee although I did not search that hard and barely glanced at the meadow).
I drove back down Pinery Cyn out of the Chiricahuas and headed to Willcox Playa where there were a decent number of waterbirds despite the afternoon heat: Eared Grebe, White faced Ibis, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Green-winged Teal, Northern Shoveler, Spotted Sandpiper, Horned Lark, Swainson's Hawk, Ruddy Duck, Redhead, Great Blue Heron, Western Sandpiper and several Wilson's Phalarope.
Driving back to Tucson, I made an attempt to do evening owling at Madera Canyon but the polite and gun-toting Border Patrol had closed the canyon off (a common occurrence ?). I lingered for a while down at the Proctor Rd parking lot (below the road block) and heard Elf Owl but not much else.
180 miles (total 1360), overnight Tucson.
Back in Tucson, a slightly earlier daytime visit to Sweetwater Wetlands had Least Grebe, Abert's Towhee, Greater Roadrunner White-crowned Sparrow (late!!) and Common Yellowthroat in addition to the species seen previously. More waterfowl were present, or at least more active - the Least Grebe was easily found on this visit.
Another long trip back to Aravaipa Canyon still did not produce a Common Black-Hawk but I did find a raptor on the nest (probably Zone-tailed, but photos taken and no way to distinguish based on chest upwards views of the bird sitting on the nest in cottonwood). Based on other reports on the NM-AZ list (BIRDWG05) and a conversation with the birders I met in California Gulch it seems that this is a relatively common issue at Aravaipa. Thankfully I finally found my life Common Black-Hawk in NM.
240 miles (total 1660), overnight Tucson.
There was an uneventful ride back down Ruby Rd, then on to Patagonia Rest Stop via Nogales. At this point I'd performed the ritual losing of the sunglasses so I picked up a pair at the pathologically busy gas stop along I-19 near Nogales. However karma picked up after that, because shortly after I got to the Patagonia Rest Stop I saw the male ROSE-THROATED BECARD at nest performing yet more fruitless nest-building (a female has only been glimpsed once or twice) and in fact saw the bird 2 or 3 times and heard it call. There was also Cassin's Kingbird at this location but no Thick-billed Kingbird.
I skipped Kino Springs and Patagonia State Park and visited Patagonia Preserve (Nature Conservancy). This was largely a waste of time apart from a single Gray Hawk, although of course it was the middle of the day. However back in Patagonia itself, at the roadside table at the south end of town there were both Thick-billed Kingbirds and a Zone-tailed Hawk. I did not go to the Paton's yard this time around but instead stopped at the grassland rest-stop at the western edge of Sonoita, which was wholly unproductive.
I traveled further west into Sierra Vista and Ash Cyn where I stopped at Mary Jo Ballator's Ash Canyon B&B, the first time I had been to this location (suggested donation $5): there was one female Lucifer Hummingbird, seen twice, along with the more usual crowd of Black-chinned, Broad-tailed, Broad-billed, Anna's and Magnificent Hummingbirds. Ash-throated Flycatcher and Plumbeous Vireo were also in the yard. This was a good place although I still prefer the Beatty's CAS site in nearby Miller Cyn - but there's far more space at Ash Canyon.
Hoping for a quick trip via Tombstone, I was stymied when the local cops had closed the road to Tombstone at Sierra Vista because of a graduation. That struck me as a little podunk but rather than get lost in western Sierra Vista I headed north to Benson on US-90 then down to St David's where I spent very little time and found no Mississippi Kites before I returned to I-10 and Willcox. The "Motel8" in downtown Willcox was cheap and had WiFi. In the late evening I made a run to lower Pinery Cyn in the Chiricahuas. As hoped for, I found a male Common Poorwill 2.4 miles up from start of dirt road, near the pair of closely-spaced cattle guards close to each other - almost exactly the same place as my life Common Poorwill in 2001. An unexpected female was further down on the tarmac section of AZ-86 toward Willcox, way outside the limits of the Chiricahuas.
420 miles (total 2080), overnight Willcox.
Down into the desert at dawn, State Line Rd had no thrashers, but had White-tailed Kite, Western Kingbird and Eastern (?)Meadowlark. Willow Tank was wet, but many of the trees in the south-east corner that were alive in 2001 now have perished. I saw Bronzed Cowbird, Western Kingbird and Blue Grosbeak there. Scaled Quail were along Portal Rd but there were more Gambel's Quails. Chihuahuan Raven were milling around the foothills. What would prove to be the only Loggerhead Shrike was also seen along State Line Rd.
Portal had Curve-billed Thrasher near the store, and then when I back-tracked to "Big Thicket" I saw a CRISSAL THRASHER silhouetted and calling when I was checking the concrete ford. The contrast in the bill curvature was marked. Crissal Thrasher also at Dave Jasper's feeders ($5 donation suggested) along with Bullocks/Hooded/Scott's Orioles, Gambel's Quail, Pyrrhuloxia, Black-throated Sparrow, Black-chinned, Magnificent and Broad-tailed Hummingbirds and Mexican Jay. A Cooper's Hawk put in an appearance just as a female Gambel's Quail was leading some chicks down to drink. How the Cooper's didn't manage to kill a chick is beyond me - those Quail must have really fast reflexes.
|After the feeders (the light isn't particularly good for photography in the morning, evening would be better) I went on toward the South Fork of Cave Creek. At 9am the vocalizing Elegant Trogon location from earlier in the week was deathly silent. I was carrying the full 500mm camera rig at the time, but Cave Creek is a fairly easy hike. Walking back down, started seeing Painted Redstart, Virginia's Warbler, Plumbeous Vireo, Dusky-capped Flycatcher, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Acorn Woodpecker, Yellow-eyed Junco, Grace's Warbler. A small flock of agitated birds revealed a a WHISKERED SCREECH-OWL in hole way up in sycamore in the canyon beyond the wire fence. I made the ID based on bill color and the pattern of chest markings. Further down the canyon a male Elegant Trogon vocalized for a while, allowing some mediocre photos.|
I went down to Portal for lunch, then into the desert and out of AZ for the last time. Dust devils were all over the arid NM desert valleys. Went to via I-10 Lordsburg then north to Redrock whence confusing directions in the NM guide led me to not find anything at all. I cut across a decent dirt road (FR 851?) into Mangas Valley Rd and then west on 180 to the Gila River along the road to Bill Evans Lake. Along the river I spied a dark raptor on a tree perched over the river and lo! it was a COMMON BLACK-HAWK, verified once it flew by broad white band on tail. The Bill Evans Lake itself appeared very blue and lifeless with minimal vegetation around it.
In NM it was striking that the southern slopes on the hills and mountains looked very dry with northern slopes a little moister - this seemed more striking than in southeast AZ and NM gave the impression of being even drier than AZ.
I decided to omit the Carlsbad/Guadalupe Mountains section from the trip, which was otherwise a rather large detour, because I'd already seen Gray Vireo. Consequently I missed Cave Swallow. Instead I headed east out of Silver City and went over Iron Creek Campground just west of Emory Pass in the Black Mountains. A brief stop there, mainly a rest stop, produced pairs of Red-faced Warbler and Olive Warbler as well as Bushtit, right in front of the entrance !. Emory Pass was very winding and slow but beautiful route over the mountains, then dropped down into the desert valley and the Rio Grande River at Truth or Consequences. I did not cut south to Las Cruces for the Cave Swallow colony there, and instead headed north on I-25 to Socorro.
590 miles (total 2670), overnight Socorro.
|I started in the early morning at "The Box" just west of Socorro - which was quiet but held Rock Wren, Black-chinned Sparrow, Northern Mockingbird but no Gray Vireo. Returning to Socorro I went south to Bosque del Apache NWR, and saw Western Meadowlark, Barn and Cliff Swallow, Great Blue Heron, Great Egret, Green Heron, Least Bittern, Clark's and Western Grebes, Pied-billed Grebe, American Coot, Gadwall and Mallard, Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper, Western Kingbird, Western Wood-Pewee, and a Greater Roadrunner. Bosque was looking kinda dry but the major impoundment was productive. Ring-necked Pheasants were notably common here.|
After the visit to Bosque, I returned to "The Box" but it was still very quiet - no vireo.
So I headed west toward the day's major destination at Water Canyon, which was CLOSED due to national forest fire danger. As I result I went on an at least somewhat pointless large loop in the south-west of NM via the impressive Very Large Array and long side trip to El Morro National Monument. It was quiet in mid afternoon heat and stiff breeze, yielding only Western Kingbird, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Chipping Sparrow, Canyon Towhee, Western Bluebird and House Finch. The wind was quite blustery and this, apart from the heat, really minimized what I found. I drove over the Continental Divide again and pulled out in the El Malpais area to add Lark Sparrow, Mountain Chickadee, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Say's Phoebe, Northern Flicker and Pygmy Nuthatch.
On this rather inefficient day I abandoned other montane sites because of their relative inaccessibility and instead drove straight down to Albuquerque, spending the evening at Rio Grande River near the nature center listening unsuccessfully for Western Screech-Owls. I heard no owls but found breeding Wood Ducks, Mallard, and Common Nighthawks were peenting overhead.
400 miles (total 3270), overnight Albuquerque
A Mountain Bluebird was seen briefly on a wire along the road west of Bandelier NM.
Campground ????? before 501 - yielded a silent Empidonax (probably Hammond's), Western Wood-Pewee, Virginia's Warbler, Black-throated Gray Warbler and Townsend's Solitaire.
Onwards and upwards to FR 289, I stopped at the meadow highlighted in the NM Birding Guide. Some wandering around produced Mountain Chickadee, Dark-eyed Junco, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Pine Siskin, another Townsend's Solitaire. I found one silent and then one vocal Empidonax and studied it for 45 minutes until I was convinced by voice, wing projection and habitat that it was a HAMMOND'S FLYCATCHER. Another probable-Hammond's che-bek'd in response to the singing one. The alleged "many Williamson's Sapsuckers" at this site were nowhere to be seen.
Heading east to Dome Burn area (0.8 mi further down FR-289) there were no woodpeckers but more Pine Siskin, plus a second vocal Empidonax with a slightly different song with an obvious sweet po-wee note. It had a long tail, short primary projection, and habitat was the brushy slope within the burn - I felt confident calling it a DUSKY FLYCATCHER.
Ker-ching. All 3 target Empidonax in one day.
It was getting pretty damn windy, however, so not much more birding was done after that. I had a quick lunch in Espanola, then took the wrong direction north on Rt-285, discovered belatedly and corrected via going west County-64. This road showed a rapid change from pinyon-juniper into more classical western montane terrain which was much greener. At ??????? Lake along Co-64 there was not much about but the first Brewer's Blackbirds were at entrance. I crossed the Continental Divide again at more than 10,000 feet.
I hooked north via Rt-85 toward Pagosa Springs, entering CO. Almost immediately, more Brewer's Blackbirds and the first American Crows appeared, along with Black-billed Magpie in the wet valleys. A male Cinnamon Teal was found in one small pond with Mallards.
Towards sunset, Park Point at Mesa Verde NM was useless - apparently much of the park has burned in previous years, leaving regrowth but little of the original trees that lured Blue Grouse here. So although it's listed as a "good place" in the aging Lane Guide there's a reason where there aren't reports from here on the CoBUS website (duh!).
400 miles (total 3670), overnight Cortez.
Back through Cortez onto Hovenweep Cyn I didn't find too much promising sage habitat en route to Hovenweep so I bagged it after the first 10 miles. Back through Cortez again I went to Totten Reservoir (visited in 2004) and found a bazillion Violet-green Swallows, some Cliff and a single Black Tern over the reservoir. Western Meadowlarks were singing in the parking lot as in 2004.
I went east to Durango and took the scenic route north of town up the east side of the Animas River along CR-250. I saw one Lewis's Woodpecker in flight but not that much else. Many bicyclists also found this a good route.
There was nothing much at the lake north of Durango off 550.
However Coal Bank Pass (10,640 ft) north of Durango toward Ouray had good montane birds around the parking lot, including Pine Grosbeak, Gray Jay, Williamson's Sapsucker, Yellow-rumped (Audubon's) Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, American Robin, Western Tanager, and Ruby-crowned Kinglets. There was snow on the ground in patches at this altitude. A Cassin's Finch pair flew into the treetops but were mostly silhouetted, but it's not like there are any Purple Finches in this area to confuse them with.
Promising start though it was, there actually wasn't that much at the other mountain passes I checked.
The inevitable Broad-tailed Hummingbirds were in Ouray, where I stopped for a very mediocre bagel in this very twee town. At the south rim of the Black Canyon of the Gunnison: I had Virginia's Warbler, Bushtit, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Violet-green Swallow, White-throated Swift, Clark's Nutcracker near the Visitor Center, Green-tailed Towhee and I flushed a Bobcat on the trail below the first pull out. I found "insurance" Dusky Flycatchers in the campground off from the entrance station, along with Yellow Warbler. Although the Duskies were silent, this habitat was notably unsuitable for Hammond's, with all the shrubbery at most head high. Many Spotted Towhees and one Green-tailed Towhee were singing. I checked the trail and parking lot at the western end of the rim drive at dusk but found no Blue Grouse (which was the major target here).
230 miles (total 3900), overnight Montrose
|I failed in early morning searches at Black Canyon of the Gunnison NP for Blue Grouse but added Steller's Jay, and coyote. In Escalante canyon: Lazuli Bunting were singing form the wires, and the sage habitat I was searching for Sage Sparrow produced Ash-throated Flycatcher and Western Kingbird but no Sage Sparrow. I first found Chukar calling from the canyon wall, then down at the river, and then on the way out of the canyon I spooked a small group of them including chicks from the vicinity of the first ford. They were not very happy to see me and scattered in all directions.|
|On to Colorado National Monument near Grand Junction where I found yet more Gray Vireo at the campground along with Juniper Titmouse but no sign of Pinyon Jays. Down the road to Glade Park I had Vesper Sparrow, Mountain and Western Bluebirds, and Sage Thrasher along B South Rd (just like in 2004). I did a quick early afternoon sprint down Unaweep Cyn to look for Pinyon Jays in the vicinity of the area that produced my 2004 life birds but only found the usual riparian species (but this canyon is spectacular).|
|I went east then north out of Grand Junction via Rifle to Meeker and then Craig. In Meeker, at the riverside park I saw Eurasian Collared Dove at someone's backyard feeders (apparently not that unusual around there). I checked into a modest motel in Craig and then wandered down 80 Route north of Hayden. There I found Sharp-tailed Grouse and Greater Sage Grouse near dusk. A Sandhill Crane drifted over the road on the way to Hayden.|
450 miles (total 4350), overnight in Craig
|I resumed just after dawn at 80 Route near Hayden again and found a decent selection of birds milling around the grasslands - several Sharp-tailed Grouse, Mountain Bluebird, Northern Harrier, Swainson's Hawk, American Kestrel, several Vesper Sparrows, Lazuli Bunting, Tree Swallow, Sandhill Crane, American Wigeon, Ring-necked Duck, Gadwall, Cinnamon Teal and Green-tailed Towhee. A good selection of birds but I was looking for Greater Sage Grouse in particular, which I did not find. Quite a long way in on 80 Route, much further than I'd gone in 2004, up in the aspens I found White-crowned Sparrow, House Wren and Warbling Vireo.|
Nothing particularly novel was added at 20 Route at 9:30am but the pond had Green-winged Teal, Cinnamon Teal, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Tree Swallow and Cliff Swallow. The first Yellow-headed Blackbird of the trip was seen in the rushes in the pond.
Heading east, I stopped for breakfast in Steamboat, probably one of my favorite locations in Colorado.
After Steamboat I headed over Rabbit Ears pass and took the side road to Walden, seeing Golden Eagle on the drive in, Lesser Scaup near Coalmont. Northern Pintail and Wilson's Phalarope were on a small pond near Walden. At Walden lake there were many water birds: American Avocet, Wilson's Phalarope, Killdeer, California Gull, Franklin's Gull, Forster's Tern, American White Pelican, Eared Grebe (many), Western Grebe, Pied-billed Grebe, Redhead, Canvasback, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Northern Shoveler and Gadwall. The faint but persistent whine over my head revealed itself to be a swarm of flies attracted by me or the car. In fact there were swarms of flies everywhere around this lake, doubtless a fruitful feeding ground. The only upside was that in the short timeframe they were at least somewhat reluctant to start biting me. I didn't push my luck by lingering, however.
|A headed up Cameron Pass east out of Walden to the "Moose" Visitor Center for the Colorado State Forest at Gould, and in particular their feeders out the back of the visitor center which yielded some nice species on my early April 2004 trip. I found a dead male Sharp-shinned Hawk that had hit the visitor center windows while hunting the feeders. The apathetic staff inside seemed unconcerned so I disposed of it in some local brush rather than having it prodded endlessly by Joe Public. The feeders themselves produced Cassin's Finch, Pine Siskin, Dark-eyed Junco, Brown-headed Cowbird and Broad-tailed Hummingbird.|
I took a "short cut" down toward Granby down a forest road. Eventually I made it to Windy Gap Reservoir - and saw Western/Clark's Grebe, Gadwall, Northern Shoveler, another Golden Eagle, American White Pelican, California and Franklin's Gulls and a Common Merganser in the stream (Colorado River, probably). Notably the only Golden Eagles I saw on the whole trip were in North Park (Walden) and Middle Park (Granby).
I entered Rocky Mountain National Park and chose a random pull-off to explore. There were huge Elk in the picnic site, attracting way too much attention from tourists - in fact in RMNP I had Yellowstone-like experiences where people stopped in the middle of the road to just gawk at Elk. At the campsites on the western side of Rocky Mountain NP there were the usual higher elevation species: Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler and Dark-eyed Junco. Heading up Trail Ridge Road the pull-out had tame Clark's Nutcrackers and Gray Jays. Above the tree line a hike down the trail leading from Medicine Bow curve had Mountain Bluebird, Vesper Sparrow (high?), American Robin, Dark-eyed Junco, White-crowned Sparrow, American Pipit but no Ptarmigan. Moving further east along Trail Ridge Road the weather started to close in, so no more species were seen as I descended the road carefully in the middle of a cloud. Down in Endovalley on the east side of RMNP as the light was starting to fail I found American Dipper and Spotted Sandpiper.
350 miles (4700 total ), overnight Longmont.
|Up along Trail Ridge Road, the Lava Cliffs had American Pipit and Violet-green Swallow (nesting on the cliffs ?) but no Rosy-Finches. The short tundra trail at Medicine Bow curve held American Pipit, Horned Lark, White-crowned Sparrow, American Robin, Mountain Bluebird and a single male WHITE-TAILED PTARMIGAN from really close range, calling softly with something between a cluck and a bark. I actually walked past this bird the first time until I finally located it when I looked down to find it on a rock 5 feet in front of me. Returning with the camera it had actually moved a little closer to the trail and some decent photos were obtained without having to get close to the bird.|
Checking other locations along Trail Ridge Road did not yield any Rosy-Finches.
Harbison Meadows was initially blocked off for helicopter usage (missing person) so no chance at American Three-toed Woodpecker first time around but on the return trip was open, although with no evidence of that species.
Down near Granby at Windy Gap Reservoir once more there were no Barrow's but but three Common Goldeneye (including a Barrow's-like immature male), Bufflehead, Green-winged Teal and Wilson's Phalarope to add to the previous day's list.
The large lake/reservoir south of Grand Lake (Shadow Mountain Reservoir/Lake) held no ducks at its northern end but the only Osprey for the trip was overhead. I returned back over Rocky Mountain NP to Loveland and then on to Duck Lake nr Fort Collins - viewing was not that easy during rush-hour traffic with no good pull-offs and the target Hudsonian Godwit was not present. The birds that were included American Avocet, Black-necked Stilt, Wilson's Phalarope, Northern Shoveler, Blue-winged and Green-winged Teals.
Then onto Pawnee NG where I found two Mountain Plovers at the north-east corner of CR-41/CR-14 intersection with uncharacteristic ease, plus Burrowing Owl. The Prairie Dog colony at this location seemed much smaller than I remembered it in 2004. Further on at Murphy's Pasture near sunset I had McCown's Longspur, many Lark Bunting, Common Nighthawk, Western Meadowlark, Horned Lark and a single Ferruginous Hawk that gave less than impeccable views (mostly in silhouette) but the gliding style is pretty diagnostic on that species. On the way back to Fort Collins after sunset I could have sworn that I saw a Burrowing Owl hovering over the prairie near the CR-41/CR-14 intersection - I had not thought that they hunted that way.
320 miles ( 5020 total ), overnight in Fort Collins.
|I returned the following morning to Pawnee NG and trawled along Murphy's Pasture in search of photo opportunities - a Burrowing Owl was not entirely happy to see me east of the windmill. The McCown's Longspurs were skittish, Lark Buntings only slightly more cooperative, Western Meadowlark, and Horned Lark were the other species here. On the higher and dryer ground with more extensive cacti I eventually found Cassin's Sparrow (singing, display flight) and Brewer's Sparrow (less vocal but more cooperative).|
|Along Murphy's Pasture the edge of the longer grass (Unit B in the old Lane guide) runs up to the road, but the road only passes the edge - did not see any Chestnut-collared Longspur - apparently there are other locations in Pawnee that are better. As a result I decided to find Chestnut-collared and WY in the grasslands near Cheyenne.|
|I took back roads via Hereford, CO, seeing Wilson's Snipe fly across the road near WY border. Taking I-80, I-25 then US-85 it became obvious that this is missile country, both from the military base in Cheyenne and also the military convoy that I followed up US-85 for a little way. Soon after tracking up the farm road mentioned in the Lane Guide, Chestnut-collared Longspurs were found. No McCown's were seen but then again I wasn't really looking for them. Along this road were several Ferruginous Hawks (some low, some high, some silhouetted).|
Returning south to Cheyenne and heading south toward Colorado on I-25, I stopped at a FlyingJ service center to do email via WiFi but found the connection bad even when parked in the forecourt. This doesn't strike me as a particularly viable option for future trips - a lot of mid-range (e.g. Super8) and even cheap local motels are offering WiFi these days.
Then I drove south via Denver (where there was inevitably bad traffic) and then south-west up into the foothills at Reynolds Park to look for Three-toed Woodpecker. This was not found but there were several Empidonax (probably Dusky, perhaps also Hammond's - based solely on chip note), Townsend's Solitaire, Western Tanager, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Common Raven, Mountain Chickadee, Virginia's Warbler and Steller's Jay.
350 miles ( 5370 total ), overnight in Denver.
On to Mount Evans Summit Lake, where American Pipit and Raven, a solitary Townsend's Solitaire. Then 1 then 2 BROWN-CAPPED ROSY FINCHES flew up from the valley below. ID by call, structure, but not much detail in color. Later, (the same?) 2 flew by toward the cliffs, individually and later still another/same two were seen together (small black dots) on the snow fields before popping over the crest. Notable that the bird diversity here was less than at RMNP but you can't argue about it being a reliable Rosy-Finch spot - I got the tip off a Colorado Birding List posting.
(Echo Lake, below the fee entrance, was swarming with people @1pm on Sat).
On to Big Johnson Reservoir - big Prairie Dog colony that weren't happy to see me and were endlessly vocal. The lake had quite a lot of birds, although it lacked the Sabine's Gull I was in search of. There were: Western and Eared Grebes, Double-crested Cormorants, Common Loon (surely rather late?!), Green-winged/Blue-winged/Cinnamon Teals, Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon, Franklin's and California Gulls, Forster's and Black Terns, Willet, Killdeer, Spotted Sandpiper. Handily there were many Bank Swallows and a few Barn, Norther Rough-winged and Cliff Swallows.
300 miles ( 5720 total ), overnight Denver.
I skipped Mount Evans (it's a 50 mile round-trip just to get from the interstate to Summit Lake and back).
Instead I headed down into the plains near the airport and to Barr Lake State Park where I found many Bullock's Orioles, one immature male Orchard Oriole, Eastern Kingbird, Western/Clark's Grebe on the lake, but otherwise standard waterfowl (Mallard, Coot). A Ring-necked Pheasant was heard.
250 miles ( 5970 total ), flew back to Newark NJ.