Sunday, May 17, 2009

Three Warbler Day!

May 7, 2009

Richard Stevens:

No time to rest after spending all night owling, I hoped the Grace's Warbler at Matthew Reeser Bird Sanctuary in Estes Park would still be there.

Fortunately it was and many of us were treated to great looks! The bird spent most of the time along the western edge of the small pond at the Bird Sanctuary.

I walked around a bit and also found a male MacGillivray's Warbler, House Wrens, a Northern Waterthrush, an Eastern Kingbird, and many Chipping Sparrows. Spotted Sandpipers walked the shore line.

On the trip back to Denver I detoured to Twin Lakes Open Space to search for the Worm-eating Warbler previously reported. The secretive warbler is always difficult to find and conditions at the Open Space looked dismal. The willows were quite thick.

I search the general area for about 20 minutes; without success. Then decided to walk a bit and continued east to a wildlife area east of Twin Lakes Road. A hundred yards up this trail I walked a Warbling Vireo gathering nesting material.

Turning back west I notice motion under the two tall cottonwoods just west of Twin Lakes Road. It turned out to be a Northern Waterthrush!

Back at the most recent Worm-eating Warbler sighting (huge log fallen down across the canal) I was there only about 2 minutes before noticing the Worm-eating Warbler! It allowed about 4 minutes for me to watch the plain but colorful warbler and then buried itself in the thick willows.

As I returned to my car, I ran into another birder (Dee). The Worm-eating Warbler was a lifebird for her (see was searching in the wrong area) so I backtracked to try and relocate the warbler.

As most birders know, finding the bird once is difficult enough, relocate a bird even more so. After about 20 minutes, the Worm-eating Warbler jumped out of the willows exactly where I had watched it dive into. Dee was able to watch the bird for a good 6-8 minutes before it again disappeared.

Two for two on target birds, I decided to test my luck and continue south to Belmar Historic Park (Jefferson) and search for the Prothonotary Warbler found this morning.

It was 2:00pm when I arrived and it did not look good. I walked completely around Kountze Lake four times and twice around all the other trails; without success. I was heading back to my car and stopped to say "hi" to Tim Smart.

Tim had not seen the bird either (in 20 minutes) and as I started to leave, he shouted its behind you. It took a few minutes to decide that he was not pulling my leg. Sure enough, the Prothonotary Warbler was less than 10 feet from me! Thanks Tim!

Not a bad day, being three for three on difficult target birds.

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