Sunday, January 21, 2007

January 20, 2007

I joined the Boulder Bird Club trip to Valmont Reservoir. The temperature reached about 30 degrees; fortunately winds were mild.

I arrived about an hour before the noon start time and chose to walk down 63rd avenue. I photographed three Eurasian Collared-Doves which were on the telephone wires near Arapahoe Road. They also flew into the few fir trees in the area.

At the two fir trees along the Power Plant Entrance Road I heard a Yellow-rumped Warbler. A White-breasted Nuthatch also flew out of the same trees.

Passerines were few once inside the restricted area. We did find a few Song Sparrows. A Northern Shrike flew to telephone wires above our heads. The group included 83 birders so we had to split into 6 groups. One group did find a Brown Thrasher at the north end of the property. It was not relocated later in the day when several of us went to search for it. Several American Robins and Black-billed Magpies were in the area. Several American Crows and a Raven flew over.

Three Black-crowned Night-Herons (2 juveniles, 1 adult) and many Great Blue Herons were found.

The highlights of course were the gulls. We found at least the following:

Glaucous Gull (2)

Great Black-backed Gull (2 adults)

Lesser Black-backed Gull (adult, 1st year)

Thayer's Gull (2 juvenile)

Herring Gull (hundreds)

California Gull (6+)

Ring-billed Gull (over 5000)

A few other gulls offered some interesting possibilities. A 4th year Lesser Black-backed Gull? Adult Thayer's Gulls. A couple of hybrids which produced much discussion.

Raptor’s were represented well:

Golden Eagle (3)

Bald Eagle (3)

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Northern Harrier (2-4 if not the same birds showing up in different areas)

Red-tailed Hawk (8)

Ferruginous Hawk (1)

Rough-legged Hawk (outside of property at park)

American Kestrel (2 males, 2 females)

Waterfowl also was represented well:

Pied-billed Grebe, Western Grebe, Double-crested Cormorant, Canada Geese, Mallard, Gadwall, American Wigeon (1), Northern Shoveler, Canvasback, Redhead, Ring-necked Duck, Lesser Scaup, Common Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser, Common Merganser, Red-breasted Merganser, and American Coot.

Notable misses:

I went in hopes that the possible Iceland Gull would show up. Perhaps the Iceland Gull reported at Green Ridge Glade Reservoir was formerly here? Or the Pueblo gull?

This reservoir was usually good for my first Greater Scaup every year. They have been absent the past two years however. Every Lesser Scaup was scrutinized, but no luck on a Greater Scaup. By the way, Sibley’s “Sibley Guide to Birds” has a great discussion on how it is easier to identify scaups when they are “sleeping” rather than swimming around. (p. 93).

No Dark-eyed Juncos, we thought a little odd. The north end has plenty of thickets and a marshy area. No birds flew about it?

Even with the two misses, it was a great if not “nippy” day to walk around this area that is only open to the public one day a year. Birders can still scope for gulls by entering the Boulder Open Space accessed from 75th avenue. See CoBus website for directions:

In all a rewarding birding day; and not to forget meeting many nice fellow birders!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks to the Boulder Bird Club for putting this trip together, Suzi Plooster for coordinating logistics, and to Ted Floyd and his assistant leaders for conducting a great trip. Amazing turnout- over 1oo people (the count of 83 entries on the sign-in contained many couples & families.) Can't remember another local bird club trip of this magnitude.