Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Great Afternoon at Aurora Reservoir

September 3, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I rode our bikes the 8.7 miles around Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County) after lunch. Quite an interesting day for birds. At mile marker 3.5, the point into lake had 458 gulls. Ninety three California and the rest Ring-billed Gulls. While scoping two quite dark California Gulls, two Caspian Terns lifted their heads. Witness photos but probably not great.

On the water at mm 3.5, we counted 4 Eared Grebes, 3 Pied-billed Grebes, Redheads, a pair of Canvasbacks and 27 American Coots. Fourteen Double-crested Cormorants and two Great Blue Herons were around the Heron Rookery.

At mile marker 4.5, a Sage Thrasher stood on the eastern fence line. An adult Eastern Kingbird was at the small tree here. What looked like a baby Eastern Kingbird lay dead on the bike path.

At the shore at mile marker 5.0 twenty three shorebirds included 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, 1 Least Sandpiper and rest Baird's Sandpiper. At mile marker 5.8, a lone shorebird was watched for 35 minutes before it stretched its wings. We knew it was slim chance, so waited to confirm a White-rumped Sandpiper. It showed its nice white rump for us!

Below the dam, 2 Common Loons. Later we found a 3rd Common Loon and a Pacific Loon back at cove mile marker 2.0.

At mile marker 7.0, Rebecca took the cement path while I decided to take the gravel path south to get better look at the shore. After fixing a flat tire, one for Rebecca on her choice of routes to miss the thorns, I noticed many shorebirds flying on the east side of trees at mile marker 7.4.

Two hundred plus shorebirds included 1 Stilt Sandpiper, 3 Wilson's Phalaropes, Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, Lesser Yellowlegs, Greater Yellowlegs and the majority Baird's Sandpipers. I had to bushwhack through trees to get view of shore.

Two Western Kingbirds were around the swim beach area. Dozens of Red-winged Blackbirds and a Song Sparrow were at the cattails south of the swim beach.

A pair of Redheads swam on the small isolated pond at mm 0.5. Three American Coots were at the second pond along the path leading south out of the park at mm 0.5.

Note that reservoir is closing an hour earlier than August times."

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