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).

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I was surprised to read about the Northern Cardinal in Douglas County! I've always wanted to see one. Because of your entry, I went to to learn more. Turns out I've heard the Cardinal at dusk in my own yard in Parker! Thanks for the posting.

Ed in Parker, CO.