Friday, November 21, 2008

Some Denver Area Reservoirs

November 21, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I decided to return to several Denver lakes today. It was sunny but felt cold. Temperatures reached 64 degrees; again it felt cold.

At stopped at Barr Lake (Adams County) first thing in the morning. A Ross's Goose and several Snow Geese (white and blue phases) were among thousands of White-cheeked Geese. I could not relocate the Greater White-fronted Goose.

Next I hiked the east side of the South Platte River from Highway 224 to the Tani Reservoir outlet and back. The male Barrow's Goldeneye was still near the north end of the reservoir. There did not appear to be any female Barrow's Goldeneyes around.

It took an hour at the southeast Dahlia Pond but I finally relocated the Long-tailed Duck. First I missed it while scoping from 88th avenue. Then I scoped the lake from Dahlia. The duck swam out of view to the north just after I set up my scope. Back at 88th avenue I was able to finally obtain decent views of the Long-tailed Duck.

My birding day ended at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). I only scoped the lake from the bird observation platform at the Cottonwood Creek Loop; so some birds were missed.

The male Barrow's Goldeneye was accompanied by a female Common Goldeneye both swimming just off the east side of the Lake Loop. After an hour I found the Long-tailed Duck among a group of swimming gulls in the center of the reservoir.

All three times I have seen the Long-tailed Duck this week, it has been among swimming gulls and not the rafts of Western Grebes or Common Goldeneyes. Today there were two distinct rafts of Common Goldeneyes (21 birds and 17 birds, quite far apart and in the eastern corner).

The only loon seen today was one Common Loon. Hundreds of Western Grebes, 2 American White Pelicans, 1 Double-crested Cormorant and a small group of Ruddy Ducks were also out there. Only 7 Bonaparte's Gulls ever stopped off at the Cherry Creek inlet delta.

I walked along the south shore hoping to find a Swamp Sparrow; without success. One Virginia Rail again walked the mudflats north of the inlet bridge.

With an hour of daylight before sunset, I hiked to the 12 mile Beaver Pond. It is a good location for a stray Rusty Blackbird (but not today). Another Virginia Rail was along the shore (mudflats) below the most southern bench. I heard a Wilson's Snipe while checking out the Russian Olive Tree grove and cottonwoods south of the pond.

I almost forgot to mention the highlight of my trip to Cherry Creek Reservoir. I relocated most of the birds observed all week at the reservoir. The highlight however was a lone Barn Swallow that was hawking insects above the 12 mile Beaver Pond!

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