Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Return to Clear Creek and Arapahoe Counties

November 26, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I managed to get another 5 birders up to Guanella Pass to see White-tailed Ptarmigan this morning. Our count was 11 birds! Winds were moderate and temperatures in the 20s.

In the late afternoon I returned to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). Thousands of gulls were spread across the lake as there were no boats. Boating closes on Sunday for the winter.

However a couple of kayaks approached the delta off the Bird Observation Platform and the only birds still there were 3 Killdeer.

So I walked to the end of the road below the dam (from the southwest marina). Several thousand gulls stood on the sandbar north of the marina. Among the gulls were 7 Bonaparte's Gulls and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull!

From the north end of the road which dead ends before meeting with its counterpart coming from the north I observed another Lesser Black-backed Gull. This Gull appeared to be a first year Lesser Black-backed Gull.

The Goldeneye count was 4 times more than previous visits this week. I counted 96 Common Goldeneyes and 1 male Barrow's Goldeneye. By the time I got around to scoping the ducks (photographing the Lesser Black-backed Gulls was the priority) it was well after sunset. A female Goldeneye had the head posture of a Barrow's Goldeneye. Since I was unable to see color in her bill, I left the duck unidentified.

Just a little south and east of the sandbar a scoter species swam rapidly away from me. It was definitely a scoter but light was too poor to identify. It appears to be a Surf Scoter (no white on sides) but? Perhaps someone will be able to relocate it tomorrow?

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