Monday, February 12, 2007

Search for a Black-throated Sparrow in Parker

February 11, 2007

I promised my feet yesterday that I would not wear hiking boots today. No boots, no computer for a day. Why do I bother, it seldom happens :-) All worked out okay; what a beautiful winter day. Temperatures reached into the 50s; winds were mild.

Bryan Ehlmann received a report of a Black-throated Sparrow in Parker (Douglas County). Black-throated Sparrows have been reported in Douglas County in the past. Most are reported in April and May. There is a February 10, 1974 record of a Black-throated Sparrow in Pueblo.

Bryan, Sue, Rebecca, and I hiked around the Stonegate neighborhood for about 3 hours. We parked at the Stonegate Village Community Park (on Stonegate Parkway a little south of East Lincoln Avenue and about 2.0 miles west of Parker Road, Hwy 83).

We hiked around the neighborhood and also hiked the bike path from the community center to the east to Jordan Road. The open space has several small groups of willows for cover. Many of the houses had bird feeders. We peeked over the fences hoping to see the elusive Black-throated Sparrow skulking around under them.

However, we did not find the Black-throated Sparrow. It was enjoyable to get outside on such a fantastic winter day (the first weekend in 8 weeks without snow)!

We did meet some friendly people in the neighborhood and handed out about two dozen copies of “Colorado Field Notes”. If we nudge someone toward becoming a birder, it would be an added bonus.

Not far from Jordan Road, the bike path converges with another path coming from the northwest. There was a fair size marsh here with some taller cottonwoods. I counted 7 Black-capped Chickadees; the most I have seen together in quite awhile. A Brown Creeper walked up and down the cottonwoods.

A couple of Song Sparrows were in the willows. Northern Flickers searched for food on the small bare spots under the taller trees. Most of the ground (and bike path) is still covered with snow. A flock of 8 House Finch took refuge in one clump of willows.

Thanks for the report! We enjoyed our search!

After an early dinner, Rebecca and I drove the county roads east of Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe). Four Bald Eagles were perched in the cottonwoods along the first creek east of the Reservoir (along East Quincy Avenue). While driving to the Denver Research Center and CR 129 (which is labeled Bennett, CO), we also found a Ferruginous Hawk, 5 Red-tailed Hawks, and 2 American Kestrels. Unfortunately, no owls, but a great sunset!

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