Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Birding Around Denver Again

May 18, 2009

Richard Stevens:

After owling all night, I decided to head over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) to see if I could relocate the Rose-breasted Grosbeak reported yesterday by Steve Kennedy.

I arrived at 6:00am. There was much noise south of the parking area for the 12 mile Beaver Pond. Dozens of birds were singing. I did pick out a Rose-breasted Grosbeak among several Black-headed Grosbeaks.

Eventually I was able to see a male Rose-breasted Grosbeak for a minute or two. He and a male Black-headed Grosbeak were just south of the parking area. They both flew deeper into the western woods when an unidentified female grosbeak flew by and west. The area is quite wet and I could not follow.

I walked down to the southern end of the Beaver Pond and continued to the larger cottonwoods farther south. Birds observed included: Gray Catbird, Yellow Warbler, Orange-crowned Warbler, American Goldfinches, Pine Siskin, 2 Lesser Goldfinches, Common Yellowthroat, and Marsh Wren.

I heard a Virginia Rail but never found it. American Avocets and Killdeer walked the mudflats. Quite a few Cinnamon Teal were joined by Blue-winged and Green-winged Teal. Never found any Green Herons.

On the way back to the parking area, I may have discovered why the male Rose-breasted Grosbeak was there. A female Rose-breasted Grosbeak popped out of the willows and gave great looks.

Grosbeak count in total: 7+ male and 2 female Black-headed Grosbeaks; 1 male and 1 female Rose-breasted Grosbeak.

While walking back to my car, I observed two Broad-tailed Hummingbirds but also a male Black-chinned Hummingbird. This gave me the idea to check behind the ranger's office for hummingbirds.

Two Black-chinned Hummingbirds were southeast of the office. They preferred the two taller (10 foot) trees southeast of the back fence. One always faced south when he landed, the other north. The south facing Black-chinned Hummingbird appeared to have priority? If my photos come out, I will put a few on the CoBus photo library before I leave for my next trip.

I walked along the eastern fence line to get a look at the southern field. Last week's Bobolinks appear to be long gone. If the hummingbirds are not on their perch, check the five hummingbird feeders in the subdivision to the east.

Later, I walked the woods east of the Mountain Loop. Bird count was different than last Saturday. The pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers were still there. Yellow-rumped Warblers were up to 57. There was a unidentified thrush that in 30 minutes I could not put my binoculars on for more than 2 seconds.

At the southeast end of the Lake Loop a Yellow-billed Cuckoo flew (would have missed him it he had not moved). He was moving toward the cottonwoods at the bird platform, Cottonwood Creek Loop.

Few birds were at the Smoky Hill Group Picnic area and the small pond northwest of the swim beach.

I drove to Louviers and looked for Northern Cardinal and Green Heron. Without any directions I had little to go on as to where to search and did not find them.

Swung by Castlewood Canyon Road and saw at least 2 male and a female Bobolinks 200 yards or so south of the entrance to the Winkler Ranch. Western and Mountain Bluebirds, Lark Sparrows, Vesper Sparrows, and one Savannah Sparrow along south of Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas).

Then finally went home for some sleep around 4:00pm.

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