Friday, August 17, 2007

Trip Report Part 4: Temple Canyon Park (Aug 6)

Continued from Part 3

After our marathon of travel and trekking in souteast Colorado, Shawn and I spent some much-needed, but all too short, R&R in a hotel in Pueblo Sunday night. Before dawn, we drove west from Pueblo to Canon City, where we birded Temple Canyon Park, in the foothills of the Wet Mountains. Lots of birds and relatively few pictures accompany this morning excursion. I'll start with some habitat. These foothills contain a lot of juniper, pinyon pine, and gambel oak. I just happened to take photos of all of them:

Gambel Oak (Quercus gambelii)
Juniper (species unknown, I'm still learning my Eastern trees)
Pinyon Pine (wikipedia informs me that there are actually many pinyons, so species unknown)

And here are just a few of the birds we saw along the way up the hills.

Spotted Towhee
Western Scrub-Jay
Sage Thrasher (although it looks like a Canyon Towhee from this angle)
Gray Flycatcher (lifer for both of us!)

Finally, since I'm tired out from the exhaustive detail of the past several posts, I'll delight you with a series of scenery photos in lieu of commentary.

(Previous 6 photos by Shawn Billerman)

We birded Temple Canyon until mid-morning, racking up many new birds for me. Pretty much every time I stopped the car we saw some new lifer. However, by 10am we decided to head out for loftier goals. We drove north through the foothills of the front range, passing such military highlights as Fort Carson and Cheyenne Mountain, and we caught sight of my first fourteener, Pikes Peak. We turned briefly back south, and hiked through some lowland riparian forest searching the cottonwoods for Lewis's Woodpecker.

No luck with them, and we hurried on northward. We had to get to Mt. Evans with enough daylight left to find our ultimate goal bird, the Brown-capped Rosy-Finch.

Lists for this portion of the trip. My lifers are in caps. X's indicate no counts. TMTC = too many to count




ROCK SQUIRREL (Spermophilus variegatus) - 1


Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) - 6
Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) - 1
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) - 6
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) - x
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) - x
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri) - 1
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus) - x
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus rufus) - 3
Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) - 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) - 1
GRAY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax wrightii) - 6
Say’s Phoebe (Sayornis saya) - 1
Western Kingbird (Tyrannus verticalis) - 1
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus) - 1
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) - 15
CLARK'S NUTCRACKER (Nucifraga columbiana) - 6
BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE (Pica hudsonia) - 4
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina) - 2
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) - 2
Juniper Titmouse (Baeolophus ridgwayi) - 5
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) - 2
Canyon Wren (Catherpes mexicanus) - 5
Bewick’s Wren (Thryomanes bewickii) - 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) - x
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) - 3
SAGE THRASHER (Oreoscoptes montanus) - 2
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) - 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - x
VIRGINIA'S WARBLER (Vermivora virginiae) - 4
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Dendroica nigrescens) - 1
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) - 15
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculatus) - 14
Canyon Towhee (Pipilo fuscus) - 3
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) - x
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) - x
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus) - 7
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) - 20
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) - x

Part 5: Mt. Evans

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