BIRDING IN COLORADO AND KANSAS with Larry and Martha Ballard
A 19 day trip (August I to 19, 1976), yielded a trip list of 179 species, with 19
lifers for Martha and 18 for Larry.
Texas, Pedernales Falls State Park—Black-capped Vireo.
Colorado, Plains areas—poor birding at Cherry Creek Rec. area, Denver area, Briggs-
dale and Fort Morgan regions. Lake Brainerd area, good—many birds, including the
Hammond's fIycatcher. Pine Grosbeak, and Northern Three-toed Woodpecker. Rocky Mt.
National Park area, very good—many birds, including Broad-tailed and Rufous Hummingbirds, three species of nuthatches. Brown Creeper, Dusky and Hammond's Flycatchers, Evening Grosbeaks, Dippers, Townsend's Solitaire, Golden Eagle, California
Gulls, Blue Grouse, Brown-capped Rosy Finches, hundreds of Water Pipits, Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees, and White-tailed Ptarmigan. Walden area, good birding
—especially good at Arapaho Wildlife Refuge—many birds including Mallard Ducks,
Sage Grouse, Yellow-headed blackbirds, Sage Sparrows, and Brewer's Sparrow. Laramie,
Wyoming area, Martha finally found her Great Horned Owl. Canon City area, Colorado—
at Temple Canon Park, Gray Flycatcher. Monte Vista Refuge—many birds, including
Prairie Falcon, Swalnson's Hawks, Canada Geese and many species of ducks. San Isa-
bel Rec. area and vicinity, good—many birds, Including Blue Grouse and Peregrine
Falcon. Lake Henry (Ordway, Colorado area), good birding—Western Grebes among
Kansas, Quivera Wildlife Refuge, many birds, especially Ring-necked Pheasants.
We used Jim Lane's and Harold Holt's A Birder's Guide to Eastern Colorado on the
Colorado portion of our trip, suggestions from the manager of the Arapaho Wildlife
Refuge, and a park ranger at Pedernales Falls State Park.
The high point of the trip was our two-morning search for the White-tailed Ptarmigan
on the tundra at Rocky Mountain National Park. We had looked for the Ptarmigan on the
Toll Nature Trail and part of the Old Quarry Road unsuccessfully the first morning.
On the second morning we decided to follow Lane's advice and follow the Old Quarry
Road to the quarry. We started hiking about 10 yards, stopping and sweeping the
area at a range of about 25 to 50 feet with our binoculars. After about a half mile
of walking, we suddenly heard a clucking noise. Less than ten feet away we found a
Ptarmigan hen and four downy chicks.
We would be glad to share information with anyone planning to go to Colorado between
July 15 and August 30 next year. But one word of caution if you plan to use Lane's
book in the Denver area: there is an urjmajrked minimum speed restriction on the road
paralleling the south side of the Denver Arsenal of 25 m.p.h. We were ticketed for
driving 15 m.p.h.!
A NIGHT ON BOLIVAR FLATS by T. Paul Jones
On Friday afternoon (Sept. 24th) Margaret and I provisioned The Avian Surveyor (our
wonderful bird blind on wheels) and set out for High Island via Galveston and Bolivar.
In exploring Bolivar in the area near the base of the North Jetty we saw a Vermillion
Flycatcher In interesting plumage. He had a slate gray head with some jet black on
top, his mantle and upper back was also slate gray, and the tail was black. The upper
wing coverts were slate gray, while the pinions were jet black. His throat was whitish and shaded Into a pink-red breast, the color becoming a brilliant red on the belly
This was a great beginning to our week-end of birding.
We arrived at High tslandwith enough daylight remaining to make a quick look Into
Smith's Woods. Our sightings included a Whip-poor-will, a Blue-winged Warbler, several Redstarts, Black-and-white Warblers and Hummingbirds - most likely Ruby-throats.
The beach at High Island was like, camping on a freeway. There was traffic all night
long on Hwy 87, and on this Friday night many fisherfolk spent the night using their
vehicular headlights to illuminate their efforts In seining up bait.
Saturday morning while on the way to Anahuac NWR we saw many flocks of White-faced
Ibis coming up out of the fields - my estimate is that there must have been 3000-4000
of them. On the gravel road into the refuge we saw two Ring-necked Pheasants after
being alerted by David and Jan Dauphin. Another pheasant was seen crossing the coad
behind us after we had parked at the refuge entrance. Overhead were one flight of
Canada geese, many of Pintail, and of other waterfowl. The rail buggy trips are told
about in another article in this issue. How fortunate we are to have access to this
means of observing Rails! We are indeed grateful to Russ Clapper for his generosity
to the OG and other groups. Where else can five species of rails be seen in a matter
of 2 to 3 hours, or less.