Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Wray and Tamarack Ranch Christmas Counts

December 29 and 30, 2008

As soon as I finish writing the report for "Colorado Field Notes" I will post it here also.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Some Douglas County Birding

December 27, 2008

Bryan Ehlmann;

Gary Weston, Richard Stevens and I did some owling along Deer Creek Canyon Road, Foxton Road, Decker Road, South Platte River Road and Platte Canyon Road this morning. We did get responses to our playback tapes at two locations. Both Northern Pygmy-Owls were heard along Decker Road. One just after the paved road turns to gravel. The other was just west of the town of South Platte.

We did not find any Lewis's Woodpeckers, Red-headed Woodpeckers, or American Three-toed Woodpeckers around the entrance to Cheesman Reservoir. I believe they were last reported in early summer, but maybe no one has searched since then?

Returning toward Denver, we found many Pine Siskins at several feeders. Our count was over 210. American Goldfinches numbered about 40-45. Black-billed Magpies and a few Western Scrub-Jays were also seen.

Afterwards we relocated the Dunlin on the South Platte River about 100 yards south of the C470 bridge. Access it from the dog walking area of Chatfield State Park, Douglas County.

We ran into several other birders. Ray Simmons and Dave King didn't relocate the Northern Pygmy-Owls at Reynolds Park, Jeffco. They did find an adult male American Three-toed Woodpecker along the Strawberry Jack trail about 300 yards east of the Buck Gulch trail in Pine Valley Ranch Park, Jeffco. A husband and wife who I am sorry I misplaced your name, found Barrow's Goldeneyes on the Blue River Water Treatment Plant north of Silverthorne, Summit County.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Search for Gulls

December 26, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I met Bill Cryder at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County) early in the morning. We sat and scoped the reservoir for several hours (from a point south of the west side and south end of the dam).

No uncommon gulls could be picked out when we arrived. However, about 45 minutes later 2 adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls flew in from the north (direction of DADS, Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site). About 30 minutes later a 1st cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull flew in with a group of 80-90 Ring-billed Gulls.

During our stay we also saw 7 Herring Gulls and 1 California Gull. The adult Mew Gull observed on 12/24 was never picked out. We hiked down to the swim beach and halfway across the northern end of the dam.

We did not hike around to the southeast corner because there did not appear to be any gulls down there. The Barrow's Goldeneye and Greater Scaup 12/24 were probably missed because of the lack of that hike.

In the afternoon I drove up to the South Platte River and 88th avenue area hoping to get photos of the gulls observed yesterday. There were many Ring-billed Gulls and several Herring Gulls on the ice near the open water. No Glaucous Gulls were found.

I scoped East Gravel Lake from the dirt mound outside of the fence on the north side. Only Ring-billed Gulls and a male Barrow's Goldeneye, Common Mergansers, American Coots, Northern Shovelers, Mallards, and Gadwalls were found.

I scoped the northern West Gravel Lake from the northwest corner. Again only Ring-billed Gulls and one Herring Gull were here.

My birding day ended at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) hoping that the Glaucous Gulls had moved down there. The reservoir is completely iced over and no birds were on the ice. I thought the warm 41 degree winds would have opened up a little water; they did not.

I hung around to see if the Short-eared Owl would put in an appearance; it did not. No uncommon birds were at the south end of the 12 mile Beaver Pond. Great sunset however!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Adams County Birding on Christmas Day

December 25, 2008

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I looked for a walk to take advantage of the 50 degree temperatures today. We started at Lowell Ponds Wildlife Area (Adams County). The American Dipper found by Bob Canter on 12/20 was about 30 yards downstream from the Lowell Blvd Bridge. Thanks much to Bob for finding and reporting the Dipper! I have only observed one other American Dipper in Adams County.

After watching the Dipper for 30 minutes we drove to nearby South Platte River at 88th avenue. We walked the east side of the Platte River from 88th avenue to the green and white tower about a mile South. The pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes was on the river just below the tower. However, the highlight was a 1st year Glaucous Gull standing with 42 Ring-billed Gulls by the river about 40 yards south of the tower! When a dog walked came by, the gulls flew east to Tani Reservoir.

Most of the lakes in the area were ice and snow covered. About 5 percent of East Gravel Lake was open water. No Long-tailed Ducks or scoters today, another male Barrow's Goldeneye was with 14 Common Goldeneyes. A few Common Mergansers and dozens of Northern Shovelers were also counted. The 51 gulls appeared to be all Ring-billed Gull except for 2 Herring Gulls.

On the way to Barr Lake, we noticed 3000+ White-cheeked Geese along I76 (south side, west of mile marker 16). We only stopped briefly and did not pick out any uncommon geese.

Our final hike was at 3:00pm at Barr Lake (Adams). When we stepped out of the car, the noise made by thousands of geese filled the air. However, we could not see any geese and decided to walk toward the west down to the bird blind about 0.8 miles west of the parking area.

At least 6,200 Canada Geese stood on the ice in the cove west of the blind. It only took seconds after setting up the spotting scope to find a Greater White-fronted Goose among the Canada Geese. No White-cheeked Geese that could be called a Cackling Goose were found.

After further scoping a lone white goose (Ross's Goose) was also found. The noise was tremendous. Interesting though, when 3 adult Bald Eagles flew by (a good 200-300 yards off shore) the geese stopped calling. We could almost hear a pin drop for about 30 seconds.

Our birding day ended with a drive around the DIA Owl Loop in search of Short-eared Owls. No owls tonight, we did count 5 Northern Harriers, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, and a Ferruginous Hawk along the way.

Great Day at Aurora Reservoir

December 24, 2008

Richard Stevens:

My birding day started at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County). About 45 minutes before sunrise I searched for the Short-eared Owl reported on 12/5 by Glenn Walbek. I was able to relocate the owl on 12/6. On 12/12, I was real fortunate to find it along the 12 mile Beaver Pond trail. It was not found on Wednesday.

I met Gary Weston and Bill Cryder just after sunrise at Aurora Reservoir. In the next 6 hours we circled the 8.0 bike trail. We went for lunch and returned to end our day there.

We started our hike near the northwest corner of the reservoir. About 400 gulls were along the shore at the southwest end of the dam. An adult Mew Gull allowed us great looks. This was approximately mile marker 7.0.

Bill had said that 90 percent of the lake was frozen on Saturday. Strong southern winds today had opened up about 60 percent of the reservoir.

At around mile marker 4.5, we found a female Greater Scaup and male Barrow's Goldeneye swimming among 38 Common Goldeneyes and 2 Common Mergansers. (The swim beach is mm 7.7 and 0.0 as numbers increase counterclockwise).

We counted many White-cheeked Geese and a few more Common Goldeneyes and found few uncommon birds until we returned to the northwest corner of the dam (mm 6.8).

At a little after Noon, many gulls flew in from DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site) to the northwest. First one adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was observed landing on a small island of ice south of the dam's tower. Then a second adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, and finally a third adult Lesser Black-backed Gull also came in. Eventually we also observed a 1st year Lesser Black-backed Gull come in from DADS.

Other gulls counted included 17 Herring Gulls, hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls, and 2 California Gulls. The only additional waterfowl were Mallards, Gadwalls, and at least one Cackling Goose.

Owling Trip

December 21 & 22, 2008

Bryan Ehlmann:

Rich Stevens and I tested some camping equipment for a friend and combined that with a few nights of owling.

Saturday night we camped out in Pike National Forest at a "cool" 8 degrees. Winds were surprisingly calm. For several hours we walked Forest Road 560, playing Northern Pygmy-Owl tapes, but not getting any response.

Early Sunday morning, we did get a response at nearby Reynolds Park also in Jefferson County. Shortly after one owl responded a second owl also joined in for about 10 minutes along the Oxen Draw Trail.

Returned to Pine Valley Ranch Park after sunrise, but didn't have additional success. A search for American Three-toed Woodpeckers was also not successful.

In the afternoon we received a text message about the Dunlin at Chatfield State Park and shuffled off to southwest Denver. A short 5 minute walk from the dog walking area below the Chatfield Reservoir dam and we saw the Dunlin and a Killdeer. Both were on the mudflats about 200 yards south of the C470 Bridge.

Afterwards we searched for owls in Deer Creek Canyon. Again a Northern Pygmy-Owl answered our recordings!

Sunday night we camped near Golden Gate Canyon State Park. The temperatures only reached 10 degrees, warm?

Monday morning we were up early and searched for owls in Golden Gate Canyon State Park and the White Ranch area. Bingo, we found our fourth and possibly fifth Northern Pygmy-Owls of our excursion!

Monday night my warm bed was heaven! I bet Richard felt the same way!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

South Platte River, North of Chatfield Reservoir

December 21, 2008

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I took time out of our Owling quest and stopped by Chatfield Reservoir (Douglas County).

We made the short walk north from the dog walking area down to the C470 bridge. The Dunlin was with 2 Killdeer on the shallow mudflats several hundred meters south of the highway.

We watched the shorebirds for 30 minutes and drove through the State Park looking for additional birds. Most of the reservoir is frozen and there were only a few birds around. Nothing uncommon turned up.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Friday, December 12, 2008

Another Great Afternoon at Cherry Creek Reservoir

December 12, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I drove down to Franktown to visit a friend. Both the male and female Northern Cardinal came to her feeders on several occasions! Quite a few Dark-eyed Juncos including one White-winged Junco also flew under her feeders.

A drive through Castlewood Canyon State Park was uneventful. No Bluebirds were observed. A Northern Shrike was on telephone wires along Castlewood Canyon Road, south of the Winkler Ranch (Douglas County).

I was not going to stop at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe), at the last moment changed my mind and was happy I did.

Most of the gulls and waterfowl were again quite far from shore. However I did enjoy some nice highlights.

The male Barrow's Goldeneye was again in the cove northwest of the swim beach.

When I stopped at the picnic tables northeast of the handicapped fisherperson's dock a large white Gull was swimming about 20 yards offshore. It turned out to be an adult Glaucous Gull! It was not the same Glaucous Gull reported on Wednesday as that one was a 1st cycle Gull.

It allowed me to watch it through binoculars, but the minute my scope was pointed at it, the Gull took off toward the Cottonwood Creek Loop.

When I arrived at the Bird Observation Platform at the Cottonwood Creek loop, the adult Glaucous Gull stood on the mudflats with 3 Bonaparte's and many Ring-billed, California, and Herring Gulls.

The minute I put my scope on the Gull it took off this time toward the dam tower. I scoped the snow covered mudflats for the Dunlin; they were not found. I could see 2 Common Loons through a scope (toward northeastern boat ramp). Also took a couple photos of a nearby Great Horned Owl.

Many ducks and geese were just off the picnic area whose coverings look like spread Gull wings. I scoped the lake from here. Two Red-breasted Mergansers were among hundreds of Common Mergansers. The Long-tailed Duck was on the closest edge of the large raft of waterfowl.

Many gulls stood on the ice just offshore. Among them were an adult and 1st cycle Thayer's Gulls, adult and 1st cycle Herring Gull, an adult California Gull, and many Ring-billed Gulls. As I was trying to take photos, an adult Bald Eagle flew over and most of the gulls took off toward the dam tower.

Since the Dunlin have not been reported since last weekend, I decided to walk to the south end of the 12 mile beaver pond. A pair had wintered at the southern mudflats in 1993 (well until one of them died, the other stuck around for another 3 weeks).

There were no Dunlin and few birds at the beaver pond. A Virginia Rail walked along the shore as I stood at the southern bench. An interesting sight was 5 waves of Common Mergansers. Each wave was about 500-1000 yards apart and had 40-70 birds each. All of them were males, not one female or immature among them.

I saw the Short-eared Owl twice for 10-20 seconds. I believe it to be a female. It was quite orange underneath with a darker breast. It had the bold buffy patch on the upper wing (lacking the orangish color expected on a Long-eared Owl).

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Return to Cherry Creek Reservoir

December 11, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I returned to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) around 3:00pm. Unfortunately most of the birds were in the center of the lake today; also light was poor. Many of yesterday's birds were still around. Identification of many of the gulls was left open. I did have a few highlights but could not relocate the Glaucous Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull or Long-tailed Duck.

The male Barrow's Goldeneye was just off shore from the first picnic area east of the parking area for the dam tower.

An adult Thayer's Gull was with many gulls off the handicapped fisherperson's dock.

Off the Bird Observation Platform at the Cottonwood Creek Loop were 5+ Bonaparte's Gulls among many Ring-billed, some California, and some Herring Gulls.

From the end of the Lake Loop I could see two Common Loons.

Great afternoon at Cherry Creek Reservoir

December 10, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I enjoyed a long day of birding as the weather improved with calm winds and temperatures near 50. That is nice thing about Colorado's weather, snow one day, warm and sunny the next!

My first stop today was a return to Overland Pond Park (Denver County) to give the Pine Warbler another shot; again without success. Thousands of White-cheeked Geese were across the street on Overland Golf Course. A Greater White-fronted Goose was among them.

A coyote and I watched the geese for 30 minutes and then I headed to nearby Marston Reservoir (Denver). I scoped the lake from the east side (not the best vantage point as the sun was toward the southwest). Three Common Loons were still out there; but I was not able to find the Tundra Swans or Greater Scaup that I found Saturday.

I drove through Fort Logan National Cemetery to find Memorial and Veteran's Lakes slush and ice covered. Very few ducks and geese were on them. A pair of Buffleheads was on Memorial Lake.

My next stop was the Highline Canal at Dahlia. Last year hundreds of Bohemian Waxwings roamed the canal lined with Buckthorn Berry bushes. I have been putting off this trip waiting for more wintry weather, assuming the birds would then come to eat at this huge food source.

As it turned out, I was two weeks late. Local birders said that birds had eaten the berries earlier. About 90 percent of the berries were now gone. However, they had not seen any waxwings in the mix of House Finches and Robins.

The homes just south of the Highline Canal and East Quincy Avenue have feeders which attract many birds. In past years White-throated Sparrows and Harris's Sparrows have been found below their feeders. None were around today.

The highlight of the trip was watching two White-breasted Nuthatches take Pinon Nuts from the feeders and "hide" their bounty in the bark and holes in the surrounding cottonwoods. They worked arduously at their task.

Meanwhile 4-5 Black-capped Chickadees watched from neighboring limbs and would fly over and retrieve the nuts when the nuthatches went back for more! Even a Northern Flicker got into the act and fetched some easy food.

A pair of Spotted Towhees, a Townsend's Solitaire, and a male Red-breasted Nuthatch were also observed along the hike from E. Quincy Avenue to the parking area at the end of Dahlia Street. I even found a flock of 5 Cedar Waxwings not far from Dahlia.

My final stop of the day was Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). Unfortunately I arrived only an hour before sunset; not near enough time to scope the whole reservoir.

Birding was great as many gulls and waterfowl had arrived since the snowstorm. I never made it to the east end to scope the hundreds of gulls there and to see if last weekends Dunlins were still around; perhaps tomorrow?

When the sandbar at the southwest corner was scoped, I found a Glaucous Gull among dozens of Herring, California, and Ring-billed Gulls. I had planned to return later and walk down the road below the dam and take photos; unfortunately I never made it back before dark. Jerry Petrosky had shown up and I pointed out the Glaucous Gull to him before we headed over to the Bird Observation Platform at the Cottonwood Creek Loop.

From the Bird Platform we found 9+ Bonaparte's Gulls and an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull among dozens of Herring, California, and Ring-billed Gulls standing on the ice just off shore. We checked the snowy mud flats for the Dunlin; they were not there.

It appeared that the Long-tailed Duck was across the lake below the handicapped fisherperson's dock. Later I drove pass there and found it diving there!

Jerry had to leave and I headed over to the dam as thousands of gulls and ducks were just off shore. There must have been a large school of fish for hundreds of Common Mergansers, other ducks and gulls circled below the parking area.

At least 2 Red-breasted Mergansers were among them. A strange duck whose silhouette looked somewhat like a female merganser but half the size was also found. There were so many mergansers that getting clear looks at it or any bird was difficult.

The light was bad as I was on the north side looking into the southwest setting sun. Also I only got 2 looks for about 4 or 5 seconds. The bird easily could have been a Red-necked Grebe. It was not an Eared or Horned Grebe. Guess I will never know.

While watching the hundreds of swimming and flying gulls, I noticed a small Gull. At first I thought it could be a tern as it was quite small. It did not look like a Bonaparte's Gulls, but rather a Little Gull. I watched it until the light was so poor that identification was impossible. Hopefully someone will find this bird tomorrow.

Snowy Day at Washington Park

December 9, 2008

Richard Stevens:

Denver area received 4-6 inches of snow overnight. Because temperatures have been rather warm, the snow was melting rapidly. This did not stop the many accidents that usually occur after such a storm. I did not want to drive around in the mess and decided to take a City RTD bus from the Pena Park n Ride near the airport over to the Washington Park area.

A homeowner in the area had reported Bohemian Waxwings along the West side of the park so I decided to give it a shot. As any birder who chases waxwings knows, they are quite difficult to relocate even the day after the report. This report was 3 days old and I did not hold much hope of success. I have several friends who live in the area and if nothing else planned to visit them.

There were plenty of American Crows and a few Northern Flickers in the park. A Ruby-crowned Kinglet fluttered about the evergreen trees at the north end, no waxwings however.

A two hour walk around Washington Park and the streets west did not find any waxwings, typical. I did find many Hackberry bushes along South Marion Street (site of previous report). Took some great photos of snow covered Washington Park, visited my friends and hopped on a bus back to my car about 12 miles east as the Waxwing flies.

Denver and Adams County Birding

December 8, 2008

Richard Stevens:

Jerry Petrosky wanted to see an Eastern Screech-Owl so at 7:00am I took him to the Highline Canal. Fortune was good; we found an Eastern Screech-Owl in about a 15 minute walk!

Afterwards we walked the perimeter of Wellshire Golf Course. In past years Yellow-bellied Sapsuckers have been reported here; unfortunately we did not find any today.

Next we decided to go north to Denver West Office Complex. Pine Warblers have been reported here in the past; none were found today. Ironically, Mike Henwood found a Pine Warbler at Overland Pond Park today. I would never have thought to search there; however we were only 4 miles away as the Pine Warbler flies.

We continued north from the Denver West Office Complex and stopped at the South Platte River at Colorado Blvd. We had intended on walking the Platte from 88th avenue to I270 and back. However, winds were 18+ mph and it was cold.

Instead we scoped Tani Reservoir, East Gravel Lake, and Dahlia Pond from Dahlia Street. That advantage did not give us complete coverage, but probably 90 percent. We did not find the previously reported White-winged Scoter. We did find a male Barrow's Goldeneye at the south end of East Gravel Lake. The previously reported Long-tailed Duck was at the south end of Dahlia Pond.

It started to lightly snow and we headed for home.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Warm Winter Day in Southwestern Denver

December 7, 2008

Richard Stevens:

Did anyone hear/mention what day this is? The day that will live in infamy. I did not hear or see anything about it. But it should not be forgotten; the great sacrifice that so many people made for our freedom. Thanks to all of them!

I started a long day of birding at 4:30am by walking a mile of the Highline Canal. A local landowner had turned me on to Eastern Screech-Owls in her neighborhood. It only took 10 minutes to find one! Unless it moved, a second Eastern Screech-Owl answered my recordings and the first owl.

I stopped by Fort Logan National Cemetery to see if the Greater Scaup were still there. The only Scaup found on Memorial Lake were a male and 2 female Lesser Scaup. There were thousands of White-cheeked Geese on the property. Quite a few of them were Cackling Geese. It amazes me how small many of them were. Some looked smaller than Mallards.

At Veteran's Lake (the western lake) a small Ross's Goose was with hundreds of Cackling Geese. The Cackling Geese were almost as small as the Ross's Goose. They eventually flew across Sheridan Blvd to the Pines Golf Course. Hopefully they returned to the cemetery after eating.

My next stop was Marston Reservoir (Denver County). I scoped the lake well from the east side. A raft of ducks included 9 Redheads, 5 Lesser Scaup, and 2 Greater Scaup. Common Mergansers, a couple of Red-breasted Mergansers, Western Grebes, and 2 Clark's Grebes were also found.

From the western side of Marston I found 2 Tundra Swans close to the shore. Definitely Tundra Swans, they eventually swam back to the middle of the lake where Tina Jones saw them later.

My next stop of the day was a long one. I went brain dead in the beautiful weather (calm winds and temperatures that reached into the middle 60s) and decided to circle Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas).

For those familiar with the reservoir, it is a pretty long walk. I was up for that, but had not considered that the only bridge across Plum Creek is quite far south of the lake. My GPS unit said that I hiked 10.5 miles (it seemed much farther hiking up and down the hills).

It was a beautiful day though. One downside was the lack of birds. I counted 48 birds on the water and the surrounding woods only added another 21 birds. Sixty-nine birds were the total! The highlight was a Common Loon below the Heron Viewing Area.

I guessed the recent snowstorm had moved out most of the birds. I suppose if I had stayed until dark, White-cheeked Geese and gulls would have returned from their daily foraging. I only saw 9 gulls (all Ring-billed) the entire hike.

My day ended with a "cool down hike" at South Platte Park (Arapahoe). I walked the 0.5 miles south from the Carson Visitor's Center to the Duck blind to see if I could relocate the Harris's Sparrow. When I arrive at the blind there were no sparrows to be found. Not even the couple of Song Sparrows observed previously in the surrounding cattails. A male Belted Kingfisher rattled at me constantly during my search.

Great day for December! The warm weather won't stay forever.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Great Day at Cherry Creek Reservoir

December 6, 2008

Richard Stevens:

I drove over to Cherry Creek Reservoir at about 6:00am. As I was driving to the west of Cherry Creek, I saw a bird with the unmistakable fluttering of a Short-eared Owl in the field east of Cherry Creek and north of the main road.

This was 6:28am and it was quite dark. However the silhouette was that of a Short-eared Owl. The Owl eventually landed in the trees overlooking the marsh along the Shop Creek trail. I took 5 silhouette photos of the bird and waited for better light.

Unfortunately, two joggers came along before significant light and the Short-eared Owl flew west into the trees. I parked on the west side of Cherry Creek where the owl was first found yesterday by Glenn Walbek; it never appeared.

My next stop was the bird observation platform at the Cottonwood Creek Loop. I wanted to check and make sure that the Dunlin reported yesterday by Glenn Walbek had not moved to the mudflats here. The only birds around were White-cheeked Geese. From this point, I noticed hundreds of gulls on the ice below the handicapped fisherperson's dock on the north side of the lake.

When I arrived at the dock, I scoped the gulls from 20 feet or so. Among the hundreds of birds were an adult Mew Gull and an adult Thayer's Gull. Eventually the gulls flew to the middle of the lake to search for food.

I was ready to walk the east side of the reservoir and look for the Dunlin. Once I reached the inlet canal and found no Dunlin and few birds except for additional hundreds of gulls. The canal is too deep and the only choice was to bushwhack around the inlet to a bridge that crosses it at the Shop Creek trail. Careful on the rickety bridge when crossing it!

After hiking to the south side of the reservoir, I could see the two small Dunlin among 3 or 4 Killdeer. I hiked through the neck high cattails and got within 20 feet of the Dunlin, took 400+ photos and made 6 one minute movies of the shorebirds. Surely a few of them will come out.

While photographing the Dunlin, I noticed a Swamp Sparrow walking along the cattails only about 15 feet to the west of me!

The shorebirds stayed close to another 300 gulls. Among the gulls was the adult Mew Gull which I also digiscoped again.

Returning to my car, I found a better way to get there than bushwhacking through the woods. Park at the Shop Creek parking area. Walk north about 100 yards or so to the first trail leading west (signed Wetlands Preserve. Hike west, past the first large clearing on the right (north). Once past the first line of trees, pickup a trail heading toward the lake. This will go through the woods and reach another small clearing. From here, head west through the cattails for about 300 yards to another small stream going into the lake. The area appears to be a favorite place for gulls and other birds as few people make the effort to reach it. I would say it is about halfway between the inlet creek at the bird observation platform and the southeast corner of the Reservoir.

After returning to my car, I headed to Franktown to check on an uncommon bird report.

Thanks to a cooperative landowner I was able to see a male Northern Cardinal! They also have seen a female Northern Cardinal, but it did not show up during my stay. Perhaps the pair is or will nest in Douglas County!

Late in the afternoon, I had occasion to pass by Quincy Reservoir. The reservoir is closed until March, but can be scoped from outside the fence (park at school on north side of Quincy).

Several thousand White-cheeked Geese stood along the shore at the east end of the reservoir. While there were no Brants, one Greater White-fronted Goose was among the horde. About 30 minutes before sunset most of the geese flew up for a final feeding for the day. It appeared that most of them went either to the fields north of the school or over to the Northern Experimental Plains Park to the northeast.

All said it was a beautiful day to bird! Thanks much to Glenn Walbek for the wonderful birds to pursue.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Colorado State Forest, Jackson County

December 1 through 5

Gary Weston: I was joined by several birders off and on through the week. We cross-country skied and snow shoed through the Colorado State Forest.

Our main goal was to flag a couple of Boreal Owls for two birders, one going for an ABA big year, the other going for a Colorado big year.

On Monday (12/1) we found 7 Barrow's Goldeneyes on the Blue River Water Treatment Plant in Summit County. Green Mountain Reservoir, Wolford, and Windy Gap didn't have any birds of note.

The highlight was a Gyrfalcon along Highway 125. It was about halfway between the entrance to the main office for Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge and the road heading west to the self driving auto tour of the Refuge.

Tuesday morning we found 2 Greater Sage-Grouse walking Jackson County Road 26, about 0.6 miles north of CO Hwy 14.

With much effort we found 3 Boreal Owls during the week. These were not near a road. Early Thursday morning we saw a Boreal Owl near the top of Cameron Pass!

Later Thursday (12/4) a flock of 60 Rosy Finches (4 Brown-capped, 2 Black Rosy) was seen at the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.

Friday we searched unsuccessfully for the Iceland Gull reported at Horsetooth Reservoir. We also stopped at Union Reservoir but saw nothing unusual. The Jim Hamm Park Swamp Sparrow was not relocated in a 15 minute search.