Saturday, September 1, 2007

Trip Report Part 10: The End

Well, I finally reach the end of my western journey. Shawn, Ben, Scott, and I flew out of Denver on Sunday the 12th, parting ways. Shawn and I would continue birding and herping Long Island for another week before school, but thats another trip report (coming soon). Here I present the total trip list for Shawn and I, from Aug 4-12, followed by overall commentary.

My lifers are in caps. Shawn's lifers are in bold. X's indicate no counts.

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis) - 75
Gadwall (Anas strepera) - 3
Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) - x
CINNAMON TEAL (Anas cyanoptera) - 17
Northern Pintail (Anas acuta) - 3
Canvasback (Aythya valisineria) - 3
GREATER SAGE-GROUSE (Centrocercus urophasianus) - 25
Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps) - 2
Eared Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis) - 10
American White Pelican (Pelecanus erythrorhynchos) - 11
Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus) - 6
Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) - 7
White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi) - 19
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) - 21
MISSISSIPPI KITE (Ictinia mississippiensis) - 9
Northern Harrier (Circus cyaneus) - 3
Swainson’s Hawk (Buteo swainsoni) - 42
Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis) - 17
FERRUGINOUS HAWK (Buteo regalis) - 9
Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos) - 3
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius) - 9
PRAIRIE FALCON (Falco mexicanus) - 2
American Coot (Fulica americana) - 20
Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus) - 12
AMERICAN AVOCET (Recurvirostra americana) - 1
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes) - 2
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca) - 2
Willet (Catoptrophorus semipalmatus) - 5
Wilson’s Phalarope (Phalaropus tricolor) - 3
Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis) - 3
Forster’s Tern (Sterna forsteri) - 7
Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) - x
Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto) - 12
Mourning Dove (Zenaida macroura) – x
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) - 2
Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) - 1
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) - 21
Common Nighthawk (Chordeiles minor) - 18
Chimney Swift (Chaetura pelagica) - 3
WHITE-THROATED SWIFT (Aeronautes saxatalis) - 3
BLACK-CHINNED HUMMINGBIRD (Archilochus alexandri) - 1
CALLIOPE HUMMINGBIRD (Stellula calliope) - 1
BROAD-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus platycercus) - x
RUFOUS HUMMINGBIRD (Selasphorus rufus) - 6
Belted Kingfisher (Ceryle alcyon) - 1
RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER (Sphyrapicus nuchalis) - 2
Ladder-backed Woodpecker (Picoides scalaris) - 1
Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus) - 4
WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE (Contopus sordidulus) - 2
Willow Flycatcher (Empidonax traillii) - 1
GRAY FLYCATCHER (Empidonax wrightii) - 6
SAY’S PHOEBE (Sayornis saya) - 9
CASSIN’S KINGBIRD (Tyrannus vociferans) - 6
WESTERN KINGBIRD (Tyrannus verticalis) - x
Eastern Kingbird (Tyrannus tyrannus) - 4
LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE (Lanius ludovicianus) - 1
PLUMBEOUS VIREO (Vireo plumbeus) - 1
Warbling Vireo (Vireo gilvus) - 4
Gray Jay (Perisoreus canadensis) - 8
STELLER’S JAY (Cyanocitta stelleri) - 16
Western Scrub-Jay (Aphelocoma californica) - 15
PINYON JAY (Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus) - 1
CLARK’S NUTCRACKER (Nucifraga columbiana) - 12
BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE (Pica hudsonia) - 33
American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos) - 10
CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN (Corvus cryptoleucus) - 14
Common Raven (Corvus corax) - x
Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) - x
VIOLET-GREEN SWALLOW (Tachycineta thalassina) – x
Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis) - 1
Bank Swallow (Riparia riparia) - x
Cliff Swallow (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota) - x
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica) - x
Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus) - 2
MOUNTAIN CHICKADEE (Poecile gambeli) - 30
JUNIPER TITMOUSE (Baeolophus ridgwayi) - 7
Red-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta canadensis) - 4
White-breasted Nuthatch (Sitta carolinensis) - 3
ROCK WREN (Salpinctes obsoletus) - 3
CANYON WREN (Catherpes mexicanus) - 9
BEWICK’S WREN (Thryomanes bewickii) - 4
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon) - 2
AMERICAN DIPPER (Cinclus mexicanus) - 3
Golden-crowned Kinglet (Regulus satrapa) - 3
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (Polioptila caerulea) - x
MOUNTAIN BLUEBIRD (Sialia currucoides) - 26
American Robin (Turdus migratorius) - x
Northern Mockingbird (Mimus polyglottos) - 4
SAGE THRASHER (Oreoscoptes montanus) - 17
Brown Thrasher (Toxostoma rufum) - 1
European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris) - x
American Pipit (Anthus rubescens) – x
Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) - x
VIRGINIA’S WARBLER (Vermivora virginiae) - 4
Yellow-rumped Warbler (Dendroica coronata) - 12
BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLER (Dendroica nigrescens) - 1
Wilson's Warbler (Wilsonia pusilla) - 1
MACGILLIVRAY’S WARBLER (Oporornis tolmiei) - 1
Western Tanager (Piranga ludoviciana) - 16
SPOTTED TOWHEE (Pipilo maculates) - 14
CANYON TOWHEE (Pipilo fuscus) - 4
Chipping Sparrow (Spizella passerina) - x
BREWER’S SPARROW (Spizella breweri) - 26
Vesper Sparrow (Pooecetes gramineus) - 14
Lark Sparrow (Chondestes grammacus) - x
LARK BUNTING (Calamospiza melanocorys) - x
BAIRD’S SPARROW (Ammodramus bairdii) - 1
Lincoln’s Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii) - 3
White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys) - 4
Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) - x
MCCOWN’S LONGSPUR (Calcarius mccownii) - 9
CHESTNUT-COLLARED LONGSPUR (Calcarius ornatus) - 16
BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK (Pheucticus melanocephalus) - 7
BLUE GROSBEAK (Passerina caerulea) - 6
LAZULI BUNTING (Passerina amoena) - 2
Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus) - 1
WESTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella neglecta) - 25
YELLOW-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus) - 5
BREWER’S BLACKBIRD (Euphagus cyanocephalus) - 33
Common Grackle (Quiscalus quiscula) - x
Brown-headed Cowbird (Molothrus ater) - 3
Bullock’s Oriole (Icterus bullockii) - 7
BROWN-CAPPED ROSY-FINCH (Leucosticte australis) - 1
PINE GROSBEAK (Pinicola enucleator) - 3
CASSIN’S FINCH (Carpodacus cassinii) - 6
House Finch (Carpodacus mexicanus) - 20
Pine Siskin (Carduelis pinus) - x
LESSER GOLDFINCH (Carduelis psaltria) - 10
American Goldfinch (Carduelis tristis) - 7
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) - x

Total Species = 130
Total lifers = 55!

Needless to say, I am going to be very hard-pressed to find another trip of this magnitude of lifers in North America. It's going to have to be Arizona, California, or Alaska. I am, of course, still THRILLED and a little overwhelmed with how much I saw in so little time. Overall though, I got good looks at almost everything I wanted to, and didn't miss too many birds.

Grouse: What can I say? I was pleased to see one Sage-Grouse, thrilled to see almost 30, and well, too! We missed White-tailed Ptarmigan after two tries (Mt. Evans and RMNP), but that just means we'll have to go back.

Hawks: Very pleased to get several lifers. The Mississippi Kites were easy, we saw multiple pairs low overhead in La Junta. Ferruginous had me worried, because my first look was terrible and distant. However, persistance resulted in a bunch more, with plenty of good looks. We even encountered a dark morph bird, and I got to see the dark morph fight with two lights on the ground. Prairie Falcon was my 50th lifer of the trip, and I was lucky enough to see two.

Shorebirds: Did poorly here, but we were almost never in appropriate habitat for most shorebirds. We missed a chance to get to some reservoirs and hopefully see some Snowy Plovers and more. We did get my life Avocet in a small pond near Laramie, but not much else. We also missed Long-billed Curlew, and we missed one of the top trip targets: Mountain Plover.

Owls: My first two lifers on the trip were owls. We had no more new owls after that (except for the Great-horned on campus), but we simply were too tired at the end of each day to get out into the field and hoot.

Hummingbirds: Four lifers, which is pretty much everything I could get in Colorado! The only one I saw very well was Broad-tailed, saw many females and got to see one male with a flashing gorget - a very pretty magenta color. I saw the others less well, but only because of short looks, rather than distance or other factors.

Woodpeckers: Did relatively poorly here. We got two targets: Red-naped and Ladder-backed, but missed Lewis', Williamson's, Three-toed, etc, despite targeted efforts.

Flycatchers: Did well! I was very pleased. Thankfully, the only Empidonax we saw were easily identifiable, including the excellent Gray Flycatcher.

Vireos: I accomplished my goal - I got brief but diagnostic looks at a Plumbeous Vireo. Combined with the Cassin's I saw last year in Mexico, I now have seen every member of the former Solitary Vireo complex.

Corvids: We were one species away from a Corvid Sweep! We missed Blue Jay, of all things, but saw EVERY OTHER species in Colorado and Wyoming.

Wrens, Parids, Nuthatches, Dippers: Did pretty well here. Only regret is that I missed Pygmy Nuthatch. But seeing Dippers at close range makes up for that. What awesome birds.

Sparrows: Did very well. The Baird's was an unexpected hit. We missed a few species in southern Colorado, but otherwise saw nearly everything we could. We got great looks at McCown's Longspur (not-so great on the Chestnut-collared). This means I've seen all four longspurs this year - I chased a vagrant Smith's on Long Island this past winter.

Finches: All I need to say, is ROSY-FINCH!!!

Well, that about wraps it all up. I'm already planning next year's trip. The 2008 AOU meeting is in Portland, Oregon. Oh, the Pacific Coast possibilities!

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