Sunday, March 18, 2012

Fiels Notes 3.17.12

In Search of Rosy Finches

We normally don’t go out into the field with the intention of searching for only one type of bird. However, knowing that rosy finches are in the Creede area for only a couple of months in February and March, we decided to head west and then north to the old mining town of Creede to see if we could spot any rosy finches. We felt that our odds of seeing a rosy finch were increased by the fact that Creede hosts three types of rosy finches – gray-crowned rosy-finch, brown-capped rosy-finch and black rosy-finch – which tend to flock together.  After turning up Hwy. 149 we stopped at Coller State Wildlife area, which runs adjacent to the upper Rio Grande. There we saw a Stellar’s jay and a Clark’s nutcracker. We also observed crows and ravens feeding on a deer carcass. Once in the town of Creede we scoped out a couple of small parks and drove through a residential neighborhood. No rosy finches. John Rawinski’s bird guide also suggested looking for rosy finches along Deep Creek Road south of Creede.  We saw horned larks and bunches of western bluebirds, but no rosy finches. Most of Deep Creek Road is lined with private property but at the east end of the road we were able to park, get out of the car and posthole through the snow to a conifer forest. We were tantalized by call notes and cheeping and thought perhaps our efforts were about to be rewarded. We patiently waited for the sweet chirpers to appear – not rosy finches but pine siskins.  By this time, our geriatric cat was due for his next dose of medication so we reluctantly ended our quest for the rosy finch and headed back to Alamosa. On the drive home we consoled ourselves with the knowledge that any day outside in the beautiful San Luis Valley is a good day.

Later during our prevening walk in town we stopped at the Rio Grande levee adjacent to Riverwood Drive and saw a great blue heron along the river bank. 

By the way, our bird count for our one-year SLV birdwatching odyssey is up to 62 species.

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