Friday, March 5, 2010

Another hike South Platte River at 88th Avenue

March 5, 2010

Richard Stevens:

I needed a place to get some exercise, returned to the South Platte River at 88th avenue. It is one of the few places to see some birds during a hike. The lakes are unfreezing quickly, still most are snow and ice covered.

Northern West Gravel Lake was about 90 percent open water. Two Long-tailed Ducks were among dozens of Redheads, American Coot, and a few Common Mergansers.

I walked from 88th avenue to highway 224 and back. A pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes was again on the South Platte River. This time north (downstream) of the green and white tower. Most common waterfowl can still be found on the Platte.

East Gravel Lake was only 40 percent open. Hundreds of ducks including Common Mergansers, a pair of Red-breasted Mergansers, American Coot, a dozen Canvasbacks, etc.

Tani Reservoir was 25 percent open with hundreds of Redheads and dozens of Common Mergansers. Several hundred gulls here were mostly Ring-billed Gulls. I saw 4 or 5 Herring Gulls. No black backed or large white gulls were in the mix.

Sparrows were again scarce. Two American Tree Sparrows and two Song Sparrows were the total.

A Prairie Falcon and juvenile Bald Eagle were just north of 88th avenue.

Colder than yesterday, no wind helped, another nice winter day!

The Great-tailed Grackle count at 3:30 pm at feedlot at the first house south of the Tree Nursery at 152nd avenue and Picadilly Road was 60+! Actually, they were in the tall tree just west of Picadilly, just west of the feedlot.

Just before sunset, I parked at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area and walked along Highway 52 to the western end of the property. About 5 minutes after sunset, a Short-eared Owl flew a hundred yards or so north of me.

Later, I listened for Long-eared Owls from the northern parking area. None called or answered my recordings. It is quite a distance to where I have seen them in the windbreak west of Pond 7.

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