Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Aurora, Cherry Creek, Chatfield Reservoirs & Elbert Road

September 7, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I had quite a full day of birding. We started out at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) hoping to find a jaeger or uncommon Gull before the gulls flew to DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site) for the morning.

We quickly scoped the swim beach and below the dam, only finding 2 Common Loons.

Then on to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). The Long-tailed Jaeger and 2 Sabine's Gulls were flying around off the Mountain Loop.

Next, we wanted to check for Sabine's Gulls at Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas). As we entered the park, we received a text message that Glenn Walbek had found a Little Gull. We scoped the lake from the parking area at the top of the dam. Both the Little Gull and 2 Sabine's Gulls were relocated.

Our next stop was Elbert Road (Elbert County) where Jerry Petrosky had found a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Cassin's Vireo and Dickcissels yesterday. Winds were 14+ mph with gusts to 21 mph. The fields south of Highway 86 were scoped for about 1.5 hours without finding any of the three target birds.

Many sparrows were found including 28 Brewer's Sparrows, 5 Vesper Sparrows, 1 Savannah Sparrow and a Grasshopper Sparrow. A lone Eastern Kingbird caught insects in the high winds, quite impressive.

Back at Aurora Reservoir, we scoped the lake for another hour. This time we saw one Sabine's Gull and the 2 Common Loons. A good 20 percent of the lake cannot be seen from the swim beach or end of the dam.

We made it back to Cherry Creek Reservoir at sunset. The Long-tailed Jaeger was flying around again. Five Common Nighthawks were seen from the parking area near the dam's tower. Another seven Common Nighthawks were counted over the Cottonwood Creek Wetlands Pond.

We passed Quincy Reservoir twice during our day. There were no Sabine's Gulls or jaegers there. A Burrowing Owl was seen about an hour before sunset just east of the Great Plains Park.

I have passed this park many times this year; it is the first Burrowing Owl found at the park in 2010 (by me). Since they put in a dog walking area on the north side of Jewell Avenue, Burrowing Owls have been scarce.

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