Monday, May 25, 2009

Return to Barr Lake & Welchester Tree Park

May 22, 2009

Richard Stevens:

After owling all night, I decided to hit Barr Lake (Adams) before getting some sleep. When I arrived at 6:00am winds were calm and skies cloudy (until around 9:00am).

The park was quite birdy this morning. I walked from the Visitor's Center Footbridge left (south-southwest) for a mile, then reversed and walked to the boat ramp (mm 7.5). Highlights follow:

A Rock Wren was picking insects of the picnic tables next to the Visitor's Center footbridge. Several Blue Jays flew around the same area. Three pairs of Wood Ducks swam just off shore.

As I walked across the Niedrach little red footbridge which is just west of the Visitor's Center footbridge, a Cassin's Vireo flew around the taller cottonwoods. This bird stayed very high in the cottonwoods at 6:15 AM.

Not as many birds were in the Niedrach boardwalk circle. Many Bullock's Orioles and Western Kingbirds appear to have set up territories here. A pair of Orchard Orioles also hunted for insects on the willows here.

Black-and-white Warbler was again in the thick cottonwoods at mile marker 0.6 which is just west of the Niedrach Boardwalk. It came out briefly as I watched a male Blue Grosbeak singing from the top of one of the taller trees.

It was quiet until I reached the lone tree at mm 8.5 (the clearing is north of the old banding station). A Gray-cheeked Thrush was under the lone tree. Eventually the thrush flew along the west side of the next tree line to north-northeast. Four pairs of Eastern Kingbirds were observed between mm 0.0 and 8.5.

At mm 8.3 I found an interesting Oriole. She appeared to be a female Baltimore Oriole. It will be interesting to see if another birder runs into this bird!

When I turned the corner at mile marker 7.8 a Northern Waterthrush was below the trail. This was the spot the Mourning Warbler was first observed on Monday, May 16th. My first Warbling Vireo at Barr Lake was also here.

At mm 7.6 a Swainson's Thrush and another Western Wood-pewee were found.

I walked down the Pioneer Trail and found another male Blue Grosbeak. This bird took food to a female Blue Grosbeak. She carried nesting material away on several occasions. Will keep an eye on the possible nesting attempt! A male Lazuli Bunting was singing at the north end of the trail.

A pair of White-breasted Nuthatches and a pair of Black-capped Chickadees were observed carrying food. I followed them back to trees where they disappeared with the food. They carried food in several times and were apparently feeding young. At the Black-capped Chickadee "nest" I could hear the young beg for food when the adults came close.

On the return to my car, a Olive-sided Flycatcher was observed at mm 8.2.

I drove around to the Old Stone House and searched the trees south. Nothing uncommon was found. Continuing west, I parked in the town of Barr and hiked to mile marker 2.5 and back. The "best action" was at the tall cottonwoods around mm 3.0. A male Townsend's Warbler and male Tennessee Warbler worked the trees here.

On the way home, I drove the DIA Owl Loop. Burrowing Owls were found at the site 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue; along Powhaton Road between 128th & 120th Avenues; south of Powhaton Road and 112th Avenue; and along Tower Road at 0.4 miles north of 56th Avenue.

Unfortunately someone had plowed the field at 112th and Trussville where a pair of Burrowing Owls had been nesting. I hope the birds escaped to another location! Just north of there, a pair of Ferruginous Hawks were walking along the field in search of food!

In the afternoon, I picked up Rebecca Kosten and we headed over to Welchester Tree Park. It is a small but beautiful park with really nice old growth cottonwoods and underbrush (of choke cherries, goose berry bushes, and other plants).

It only took about 15 minutes to relocate the Chestnut-sided Warbler reported earlier by Peter Plage. We continued around to the east side of the park and observed a singing male Western Tanager, singing male Blue Grosbeak, and singing male Lazuli Bunting.

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