Saturday, November 22, 2008

South Platte Park and Cherry Creek Reservoir

November 22, 2008

Richard Stevens:

At 7:00am I arrived at South Platte Park (Arapahoe County). It took about 20 minutes to walk south to the spur trail leading to the bird blind (had to stop and checkout the many ducks on the Platte; hoped for an odd shorebird such as a Dunlin; no luck).

When I started up the spur the Harris's Sparrow was on the path near the cattails and metal circles around small bushes. It first moved into the cattails; later it followed 4 White-crowned Sparrows and a Song Sparrow westward along the shoreline .

Then the loose flock crossed to the north of the path and buried itself in the willows below the bird blind. The photos on the CoBus photo library were taken when the flock flew west of the blind.

About 10 minutes later Bryan Ehlmann and Gary Weston arrived. A couple of additional birders arrived 10 minutes after that and all observed the Harris's Sparrow.

Bryan, Gary, and I then hiked south to the Chatfield Reservoir dam. We found one Common Loon from our vantage point and returned to South Platte Park.

On my way home I made two stops. The Greater Scaup are still on Memorial Lake at Fort Logan National Cemetery.

At Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) I found 2 Common Loons (one at the north end and one the east end of the Lake); one male Barrow's Goldeneye (with 28+ Common Goldeneyes in the southeast corner); and 9 Bonaparte's Gulls on the Delta off the Cottonwood Creek Loop.

Again the lake was only scoped from the Cottonwood Creek Loop Bird Observation Platform. Many birds were missed as they were once again scattered by speed and fishing boats. The Long-tailed Duck was not relocated by me.

One of the two White Pelicans on the delta appears to have a broken wing. With cold weather approaching he could be in trouble.

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

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