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2 - 9 June 2001

by Rob Batchelder

Peter Kaestner and I spent the week of June 2-9, 2001, birding Colorado. We had two major goals for the trip: Peter's primary goal was to find the handful of Colorado specialties still missing from his 7,500+ species life list; my primary goal was to boost my Colorado state list over the current reporting threshold for the annual ABA List Report (though the threshold will likely increase significantly next year). Having grown up in Boulder, I was also looking forward to visiting some far-flung corners of my home state that I had not previously seen (or in some cases even heard of).

In the space of 6½ days, we managed to cover every part of the state except the southwest, which Peter intended to visit with his family the week after our birding adventure. Peter did the lion's share of the trip planning, and we had a very focused itinerary by the time we met in Denver on June 2. Resources such as the Holt birdfinding guide, the Colorado Breeding Bird Atlas, various Internet web sites and ListServs, and tips from knowledgeable locals such as Larry Semo, Aileen Roberts Lotz, Brandon Percival, Ralph Jones, and others, proved invaluable for our planning.

By the end of the trip, we had tallied a total of 208 species. Peter bagged six of the nine birds he needed during our joint trip, and he picked up Greater Sage-Grouse the day after we officially ended our tour. When we last spoke, he had plans to go after the Gunnison Sage-Grouse and White-tailed Ptarmigan (our most frustrating miss), as well as the Black Rosy-Finch in Utah, the following week. I managed to add 54 new birds to my life list and cranked my Colorado state list up to 228 -- a bit shy of the 2001 ABA threshold of 236, but a number with which I am quite happy nonetheless.

Highlights of the trip included both Prairie Chickens, two White-eyed Vireos (apparently on breeding territory) at the Carrizo Picnic Area in Commanche National Grasslands, N. Cardinal and Rose-breasted Grosbeak at Lamar Community College, an adult female Mountain Plover with chick along CR-14 east of Briggsdale, Worm-eating Warbler and Song Sparrow at Muir Springs Park in Ft. Morgan (note: due to a rather hostile sign across the closed entrance to this members-only park, we were forced to bird from the gate), Short-billed Dowitchers at Jumbo and Lower Queens Reservoirs, Least Sandpiper at Jumbo, a female American Redstart at the Julesburg Wayside Park, Bald Eagle at Prewitt Reservoir, and Osprey in a field between the two Queens Reservoirs near Lamar. We also had terrific views of six owl species, my favorites being a Flammulated in the Wet Mountains, and a Boreal on Grand Mesa.

Notable misses included Ovenbird at Rye Mountain Park; Gray Catbird; Band-tailed Pigeon; Blue Grouse; Greater Sage-Grouse (we even slept in the car at one of the Craig leks and drove all over the Craig and North Park areas to no avail -- Peter later found one in North Park); Williamson's Sapsucker; N. Pygmy, Saw-whet, E. Screech and Spotted Owls; Rufous-crowned Sparrow; Red-bellied Woodpecker and Eastern Bluebird east of Bonny Lake SP; Evening Grosbeak, and that darned Ptarmigan, which we tried for along Trail Ridge Road on four separate occasions! Due to time constraints and/or the low-percentage chance of finding them, we didn't try for Sharp-tailed Grouse, Black Swift, Purple Martin, and a few others.

Following is a list of all species seen during our June 2-9, 2001 trip:

Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Cattle Egret
Black-crowned Night-Heron
White-faced Ibis
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
American Wigeon
Green-winged Teal
Northern Pintail
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Mississippi Kite
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Prairie Falcon
Wild Turkey
Greater Prairie-Chicken
Lesser Prairie-Chicken
Scaled Quail
Gambel's Quail
Northern Bobwhite
Ring-necked Pheasant
Sandhill Crane
Virginia Rail
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Snowy Plover
Mountain Plover
Common Snipe
Short-billed Dowitcher
Long-billed Curlew
Upland Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
White-rumped Sandpiper
Wilson's Phalarope
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Franklin's Gull
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Least Tern
Black Tern
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
Greater Roadrunner
Barn Owl
Flammulated Owl
Western Screech-Owl
Great Horned Owl
Burrowing Owl
Boreal Owl
Common Nighthawk
Common Poorwill
Chimney Swift
White-throated Swift
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Lewis' Woodpecker
Red-headed Woodpecker
Red-naped Sapsucker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Olive-sided Flycatcher
Western Wood-Pewee
Willow Flycatcher
Hammond's Flycatcher
Gray Flycatcher
Dusky Flycatcher
Cordilleran Flycatcher
Eastern Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Cassin's Kingbird
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
American Pipit
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Cedar Waxwing
Rock Wren
Canyon Wren
Bewick's Wren
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Northern Mockingbird
Sage Thrasher
Brown Thrasher
Curve-billed Thrasher
Mountain Bluebird
Townsend's Solitaire
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
Juniper Titmouse
Loggerhead Shrike
Gray Jay
Steller's Jay
Blue Jay
Western Scrub-Jay
Pinyon Jay
Black-billed Magpie
Clark's Nutcracker
American Crow
Chihuahuan Raven
Common Raven
European Starling
House Sparrow
White-eyed Vireo
Bell's Vireo
Gray Vireo
Plumbeous Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Cassin's Finch
House Finch
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch
American Goldfinch
Orange-crowned Warbler
Virginia's Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
American Redstart
Worm-eating Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Wilson's Warbler
Yellow-breasted Chat
Western Tanager
Green-tailed Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Canyon Towhee
Cassin's Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Brewer's Sparrow
Field Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Black-throated Sparrow
Sage Sparrow
Lark Bunting
Savannah Sparrow
Grasshopper Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
McCown's Longspur
Chestnut-collared Longspur
Northern Cardinal
Rose-breasted Grosbeak
Black-headed Grosbeak
Blue Grosbeak
Lazuli Bunting
Indigo Bunting
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Common Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Baltimore Oriole
Bullock's Oriole
Orchard Oriole

Final note: any geographical inaccuracies in this report are my own, as I wrote this report without the benefit of the Holt guide or the Colorado road maps, which are still with Peter in Colorado.

Rob Batchelder
Alexandria, Virginia

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