We awoke at 7:30 AM later than we wanted, but still early enough to make it while it was still cool out. We gathered our things, wrote down detailed directions and headed out of town. We were driving along looking for the junction to our exit when we started to feel we'd been driving too far. I was gazing out the front window wondering if we should turn around when suddenly a large billboard loomed ahead, Welcome to Utah it said!
|This here, according to google maps, it Mcphee Reservoir.|
|Mesa Verde at sunset|
|We've got the scopes on cavity in a riverside that is supposed to have a Barn Owl in it. We never saw it though.|
|Still lookin for the Barn Owl|
......We had gone too far, way too far. We turned around and started on our way back to cortez hoping again to find out junction. We decided to pull up an app Jordan has on his phone called Nokia Drive. We usually don't use it because it often flips the map and orients it backwards, but we were desperate. This time though it seemed to working. North was North and South was South. We drove about 30 minutes, continuously watching the map, and we found our exit! From this point we followed the google directions i'd written down. We turned onto county road 23 and followed it to road J, we were suposed to follow road jay until it turned into a forest service road and eventually to the reservoir, but the road on the map ended and our road, which continued, turned into private property.
At this point it was about 10AM, it had been a long dissapointing drive full of wrong turns and confusing directions. We drove back to the main highway and continued towards the distant water and voila! There is was, a nice large sign stating Mcphee Reservoir...about 1 miles ahead of our original turn off on CR 23...finally, we had made it. We parked and found the nearest hiking trail and just started walking.
I had hoped to find Grey Flycatchers, Gray Vireos, Black-throated Grey Warblers and Juniper Titmice here. but no luck. We did manage to see a few things before a large storm front blew in and we rushed down the trail and back to the cars. We were exhausted, i was bitter about our poor navigational skills and Jordan had a headache, we were both looking forward to Owling later in the evening. We arrived back in town around 1 and decided to stop for lunch. We found a delicious sandwhich shop which served a quesadilla with sweet potatos, black beans, and cheese...my three favorite foods! It was fantastic. Jordan got a boring ol cheeseburger...but it was equally delicious. We finished lunch slept the rest of the afternoon, both exhausted from driving and being lost.
We awoke to our alarm at 6:00PM later that evening and gathered our stuff for Owling. Owling is when a person or a group of people go out at night and play tapes of different owls calling in hopes of a response. We drove 20 or so miles out to mancos and up a mountain through scrub oak, aspen forests, and finally some douglas fir. We stopped at each and played the appropriate owl for that habitat. Northern Pygmy Owl, Northern Saw-whet Owl, Long-eared Owl, and Flammulated. We may have gotten a response, from a Long-eared or a Flam, but they were so distant it was difficult to hear. We did hear one Common Poorwill, a bird in the nighthawk family.