Sorry for posting without any geographical specifics in the title. This report
is for a come-what-may day trip "out east". Good birds, good weather, good
John Vanderpoel and I started out early this morning to track down the
Dunning/Kellner/Lawrence mega-numbers of Wilson's Warblers at Norma's Grove
(Weld, WCR 100 X 57). Well today there were a few plus a few Yellow-rumps and
a starling with a killer Sora imitation. Cassin's Kingbirds (2) were still
here (and at least one at Crow Valley and a fourth along WCR 86 between
Briggsdale and New Raymer), but not a whole lot of other nifty stuff.
On to Crow Valley where the best sightings were....Steve Mlodinow and Nick
Moore! Good to catch up, but there seemed to be more cub scouts than birds
around. We did have a few birds up the creek to the north beyond the gate.
There is a little pond out there at which there was lots of activity for us
(and for Steve and Nick, too) including Green-tailed Towhee, White-throated
Sparrow, Cedar Waxwing, Townsend's Solitaire, etc.
John and I continued pushing east in order to make a lunch stop at the Pawnee
Station Restaurant in New Raymer (really worth the visit if you are out that
way). At that point John saw Kathy M.D.'s message relayed from David Dowell
at Jumbo---Jaeger! We were less than an hour away, so we figured, what the
hay. Called David up (we didn't do stuff like this in the '90s) and he said he
was still on the bird and would keep at it; so off we went.
We got to Jumbo less than an hour later and after a quick Marbled Godwit stop
found David at the SE campground by the old boat ramp. "It just flew, but you
can still see some sort of bird in my scope." We decided to go back to the
center point and try our luck there. Lo and behold we found TWO jaegers and
after a lot of work pieced together an ID of 2 adult Parasitic Jaegers
interacting and spending a lot of time together on the water and in the air.
Both were light morphs and at one point they merged into one bird, in front and
in back (i.e., exactly the same size). More capped than hooded, stub tailed,
single underwing flash and lots of white shafts on the primaries on the upper
wing. (See David's pics on his Jumbo-Sedgwick eBird list if you want to look
We got bored eventually and started looking at the terns right in front of us
2-3 Black, 1 Forster's and 4-5 Common, oh, and at least one, maybe 2 or more
Sabine's Gulls flying around. Then David brought us back to jaeger
reality-there is a THIRD one out there! We all got on the bird which gave the
impression of slightly larger; and then one of the first two drove it off (I
think, we were suffering from TMJS-Too Many Jaegers Syndrome). We packed up
and went back to the SE campground and never did make a definitive ID of the
3rd jaeger (probably another Parasitic), but we did have one fly in so close I
thought it was going to try to make John throw up his lunch. Eventually it
tracked down a Franklin's and bullied that poor gull into giving up its lunch
It's days like this that make me wish I didn't have a job (or 4 jobs as I seem
to have right now). We lashed ourselves to the mast and headed home while the
siren of the birds called us to stay.
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