Monday, January 28, 2013

The Last Bird Count

Total Birds Identified – 169

During our one-year Birding Odyssey we criss-crossed back and forth across the beautiful San Luis Valley – from the arid Valley floor to pinon-juniper habitats to higher mountainous areas. We drove across highways, county roads and U.S. Forest Service trails. We hiked countless trails in all kinds of weather. We even mucked through a flooded cow pasture wearing knee-high irrigation boots. We tromped through the snow, we swatted mosquitoes during the summer and we caught our breath as we crested mountainsides covered with golden aspen. We got up at the crack of dawn and we stayed out on the trail until the sun dropped behind the San Juan Mountains. We returned to favorite birding areas many times during the year and we explored areas we had never before visited. By the time our one-year Odyssey was completed on December 31, 2012 we had recorded 169 species of birds. Some we had seen before, others were new birds on our life list and a few are considered rare sightings in the Valley.

Below is our San Luis Valley Birding Odyssey list.  When we saw a particular species only once or twice we noted the location.  That doesn’t mean it is an unusual bird for the Valley, just that we had only one opportunity during the year to observe and record it. The highlight of our Birding Odyssey was on July 19, 2012 when we identified and photographed a black phoebe perched on a willow along the Rio Grande . Each and every bird we saw, however, brought us joy and excitement and even a little regret that we are unable to join these exquisite creatures in flight.

Greater White-fronted Goose – Home Lake
Snow Goose
Ross’ Goose – Alamosa Riverwood Pond
Cackling Goose
Canada Goose
American Widgeon
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Dusky Grouse – Rock Creek
Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe – Smith Reservoir, Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge
Western Grebe
Clark’s Grebe
American White Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant – Home Lake
American Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Snowy Egret
Black-crowned Night Heron
White-faced Ibis
Turkey Vulture
Osprey – Big Meadow Reservoir, Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
Bald Eagle
Northern Harrier
Cooper’s Hawk – John James Canyon
Swainson’s Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Ferruginous Hawk – Alamosa County Road 104
Rough-legged Hawk
Golden Eagle
American Kestrel
Merlin - Alamosa
Peregrine Falcon
Prairie Falcon
Sora - LaSauses
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
Snowy Plover – Blanca Wetlands
Black-necked Stilt – Johnson Lake at Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area
American Avocet
Spotted Sandpiper
Greater Yellowlegs
Willet – Home Lake
Lesser Yellowlegs
Western Sandpiper
Baird’s Sandpiper – Alamosa Ranch
Long-billed Dowitcher – flooded farm field east of Splashland, Home Lake
Wilson’s Snipe
Wilson’s Phalarope
Franklin’s Gull
Bonaparte’s Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Black Tern – Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
Forster’s Tern – Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared Dove
White-winged Dove – Medano-Zapata Ranch
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Burrowing Owl – Colorado Highway 15 south of Monte Vista
Common Nighthawk
Black Swift – Zapata Falls
White-throated Swift – South River Road
Black-chinned Hummingbird – Underwood feeder
Calliope Hummingbird – Underwood feeder
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Lewis’ Woodpecker – Keen’s Grove in Rio Grande County
Downy Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
American Three-Toed Woodpecker – Big Meadow Reservoir
Northern Flicker
Western Wood Pewee
Willow Flycatcher – Conejos River near LaSauses
Cordilleran Flycatcher – trail to Zapata Lake
Black Phoebe – Rio Grande State Wildlife Area
Say’s Phoebe – San Luis Lakes, Fort Garland
Western Kingbird
Eastern Kingbird – Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
Loggerhead Shrike
Plumbeous Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Steller’s Jay
Western Scrub Jay
Pinyon Jay
Clark’s Nutcracker
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Bank Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
Bushtit – Zapata Lake Trail
Red-breasted Nuthatch – Great Sand Dunes National Park
White-breasted Nuthatch
Rock Wren – John James Canyon
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet – Big Meadow Reservoir
Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Townsend’s Solitaire
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
Sage Thrasher – San Luis Lakes
European Starling
American Pipit
Cedar Waxwing – Rio Grande River near Adams State University
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat – LaSauses
Wilson’s Warbler
Western Tanager
Green-tailed Towhee – Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge
Spotted Towhee
American Tree Sparrow
Chipping Sparrow
Brewer’s Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow – Costilla County
Lark Sparrow – Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge
Black-throated Sparrow – John James Canyon
Sage Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow – Cumbres Pass area
Song Sparrow
Lincoln Sparrow – Cumbres Pass area
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Black-headed Grosbeak
Blue Grosbreak – Pike’s Stockade
Lazuli Bunting – Pike’s Stockade
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer’s Blackbird
Common Grackle
Great-tailed Grackle
Bullock’s Oriole – Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge
Brown-headed Cowbird - Alamosa
Pine Grosbeak – Summitville Road
Cassin’s Finch
House Finch
Pine Siskin
Lesser Goldfinch – Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow

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