Sunday, November 30, 2008

Birding Around Denver

November 30, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I started for Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) at first light. It was snowing and the streets were icy and partially snow covered. Temperatures were in the low 30s; winds averaged 14 mph.

Several stops were made on the way down. The Greater Scaup are still at Memorial Lake, Fort Logan National Cemetery. A 15 minute stop at Marston Reservoir found one Pacific Loon and one Common Loon; there may have been additional loons? No swans were found.

I only spent 20 minutes at the Bird Blind south of South Platte Park (Arapahoe). While a flock of 5 White-crowned Sparrows and 2 Song Sparrows were located; no Harris's Sparrow was observed.

My jinx with the Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) loons continued. A Common Loon was all that was observed while scoping from the dam. Cold and 15+ mph winds made my decision easy not to walk further.

In late afternoon I circled Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). Birds in order observed included:

From the dam tower pullover:
The male Barrow's Goldeneye was in a raft of associated ducks including 35+ Common Goldeneyes and a female/immature Surf Scoter. This may have been the scoter I first observed on Wednesday (11/26).

Two Red-necked Grebes were south of the dam tower. Several Bonaparte's Gulls were flying around below the dam also.

I skipped the swim beach as to not have to walk down in the snow and wind. An adult Bald Eagle was in the cottonwoods along the south side of the campgrounds. The Long-tailed Duck was observed from the handicapped fisherperson's dock.

From the Bird Observation Platform, Cottonwood Creek Loop I observed 120 gulls which included 6 Bonaparte's Gulls. Several Killdeer were also on the mud flats. While I was scoping the lake, a Swamp Sparrow came out of the cattails. It walked around the southern edge of the cattails for about 5 minutes. Two Song Sparrows also did the same thing.

There was a large raft of waterfowl just off the Lake Loop. Hundred+ Common Mergansers, 2 Red-breasted Mergansers, Eared Grebes, Horned Grebes, and American Coots were with dozens of gulls. I also picked out two 1st cycle and two adult Thayer's Gulls.

My last stop was a hike from the southwest marina to the sandbar to the north. Three hundred+ gulls stood on the sandbar. I finally was able to pick out the adult Mew Gull among the many Ring-billed, a dozen California, and 4 Herring Gulls.

I quite pink breasted Gull with its head in its back kept me at the sandbar for an hour. Finally the bird lifted its head; it was a Ring-billed Gull.

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