Friday, May 22, 2009

Chatfield Reservoir!

May 21, 2009

Richard Stevens:

Again we went owling all last night (Wednesday) in Boulder County.

After catching a few hours of sleep I drove south to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) to search for Glenn Walbek's Least Tern. At 3:00pm the Least Tern was not on the southeast sand spit. The only Gull there turned out to be an adult Laughing Gull! Not a bad consolation prize!

A walk along Plum Creek Delta was uneventful. A couple of Yellow Warblers and many House Wrens sang.

I decided to check the old White-eyed Vireo spot south of Kingfisher Bridge. The woods were surprisingly quiet. Again Yellow Warblers and House Wrens were about the only birds singing. Occasionally a Northern Flicker would drum on a hollow limb.

Finally another species, a male American Redstart fluttered about 10 yards south and 20 yards west of the paved path. Yellow Warblers and a Gray Catbird were the only birds at the White-eyed Vireo spot (the thickets along the S. Platte River and 60 yards south of the paved Kingfisher Bridge path (west side of the Platte).

While doing my terrible imitation of a White-eyed Vireo a vireo answered back. It was not a White-eyed Vireo or Warbling Vireo. Separation of the Solitary Vireo complex by voice is beyond my ears. It took 20 minutes to see the Plumbeous Vireo that was deep in the cottonwoods about 15 yards south of the above White-eyed Vireo spot.

I continued south on the main path until a fork where the western fork returns north at 215 degrees northwest. This path runs along the east side of a long and narrow cattail field. Just southeast of the cattails a medium size flock of birds were found.

The flock was feeding on insects on some medium sized willow trees underneath large cottonwoods. There were 9 Yellow Warblers, 1 Orange-crowned Warbler, many House Wrens, 2 Western Wood-pewees, and a Downy Woodpecker. A male Black-throated Green Warbler was also in the mix!

As I returned to my car, I thought of the misses. Not one Chickadee was found in the 1.5 hours of the trek.

According to the radio, traffic on the major highways was a mess, so I returned to the southeast sand spit for another search for the Least Tern. Another birder was scoping the spit where the adult Laughing Gull was still there. Also on the sand spit were 2 Spotted Sandpipers, and 2 Killdeer.

He said that the Least Tern had been there 45 minutes ago but now was nowhere to be seen. However within five minutes the Least Tern returned! The yellowish bill and white spot on the forehead were unmistakable for the small tern.

With Traffic still bad I drove out the south entrance of Chatfield Reservoir which led me past Louviers. Forgot to mention that is was raining ever since my trip to Kingfisher Bridge. I walked around for an hour in Louviers in the rain. Kind of a favorite thing of mine next to walking in the dark (great reason to go owling).

Many Lesser Goldfinches (green and black backed) were observed at 4th Street and Elm. I would never have known where the male Northern Cardinal was visiting except the woman who has it visit her backyard came out to talk to me (First Street, across from the Library).

She said that the Northern Cardinal usually visits her feeder around 3:00pm most days. It then flies to the taller trees north of her house. I made another circuit of the small town and found the Northern Cardinal in the short trees south of the lime green house on 2nd Street (just behind or east of the above home).

This small town has an Eurasian collared-Dove problem. In the hour of the visit I counted way over 100 of them.

We still had not decided whether to return to Boulder County for owling in the rain.

We cut our owling short tonight (Thursday) as the rain appeared to quiet the owls. We only found 1 Flammulated Owl while hiking through the wet woods.

1 comment:

Chris Dixon said...

Hi, I do not know if this should be reported or not.
I was unfortunate enough to witnessed two owls being run over Saturday night at about 10:20pm or so, just north of the Wadsworth entrance. As I was heading south from C-470, I saw the one in time, swerved to miss it, but the next guy, who by the way could have done the same, just ran him over. I circled back around the median and found the second had also been hit.
I assume they were hunting and one was caught by a Jeep headed northbound when it flew in front of her and hit the windscreen or grill. That person did come back to check. If she calls, tell her I am sorry for growling at her, as I was still upset at the vehicle that had been behind me, and di not relize taht she had hit the first bird.
I have taken and collected them, and placed them in line with the park entrance station on Wadsworth, as you face east, about 100 or so feet north of the light. They are about 4 feet from the road bed.
I moved them so we do not have a fox or coyote casualty as well.
I am concerned as to whether they were nesting and had chicks.

Thanks, Chris Dixon