Saturday, February 24, 2007

Eleven Mile Hike Down the South Platte River

February 23, 2007

Another beautiful winter day in Colorado. Temperatures almost reached 60 degrees.

I first searched for the Lesser Black-backed Gull reported earlier by Terry Michaels at Aurora Reservoir; without success.

On the way to the South Platte River, I passed Mt Olive Lutheran Church and School. A white goose caught my attention. A Ross's Goose was with 118 Canada Geese and 1 undetermined goose between Canada and Cackling in size. I am uncomfortable calling the difference between a Lesser Canada Goose and a Taverner’s or Richardson’s Cackling Goose.

Once at the South Platte River (at Evans Blvd), I first hiked south to the Arapahoe Power Plant and then turned around and walked to I70. The wind (5-10mph) was out of the south and most of the day I had this nice cool breeze on my back. Total distance was about 11 miles.

I kept an eye out for the Pied Crow that I saw at Pasquinel’s Landing a few weeks ago. Just read this morning that the Crow was found a Washington Park yesterday afternoon. It has been between there and Ruby Hill Park for a few months now.

I was also looking for the Greater Scaup reported at the same time I saw the Pied Crow. A third target bird was a pair of Cinnamon Teal reported last week. None of them were found, however it was an enjoyable hike in the winter sun. Calm before the storm, it is snowing this morning.

At Evans Blvd, I found 10 Lesser Scaup; no Greater Scaup.

Throughout the day I found 17 Hooded Mergansers, dozens of Common Goldeneyes, Mallards, Gadwalls, Northern Shovelers, Buffleheads, Lesser Scaups, Ring-necked Ducks, Green-winged Teal, and American Coots.

Strange misses were Common Mergansers and no woodpeckers.

An albino Rock Pigeon was under the bridge halfway between Florida and Mississippi Avenues. True pink eye and all.

The only raptors found on the trek were 2 Red-tailed Hawks.

The area has great potential and I hope to hike it again during spring migration.

My birding day ended back at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). I was only going to drive the south side of the reservoir; however a strange phenomenon seemed to occur. I could only find one gull on the drive around the lake. The lone Ring-billed Gull flew over the southwest marina.

Two adult Bald Eagles still stood on the ice at 5:30pm. I thought that a little late in the day (lost sunlight at 5:35pm, due to clouds, not sunset which should have been around 5:45pm. I searched for owls after sunset; without success.

No comments: