Thursday, September 30, 2010

Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge

September 30, 2010

Richard Stevens:

After leaving Rocky Mountain Arsenal, I remembered that today was the last day that Two Ponds National Wildlife Refuge (Jefferson County) is open for the year. What the heck, who needs sleep?

Two Ponds at 72.2 acres, has to be the smallest National Wildlife Refuge in the country. In addition, it is located in the middle of a busy city. Now and then, an interesting bird does show up there. The western side of the refuge is open year round. Excess is only along the canal, which is lined with tall cottonwoods. However, the trees around the ponds are most productive (and closed to the public from October 1st to April 30th).

When I got to the entrance, a warbler was observed moving above in the tall trees. It took 20 minutes to see it well enough to determine it was a Townsend's Warbler and not a Blackburnian Warbler.

Two Common Yellowthroats were in the cattails around the ponds. I heard a possible Northern Waterthrush however was never able to confirm with a sighting. An unidentified "empidonax" flycatcher was at the southwest corner.

A vireo around the southwestern pond also took a good 30 minutes to identify. It turned out to be a Cassin's Vireo. For the most part, the rest of my hike was uneventful.

On the way home, I stopped off at Bluff Lake Nature Area (Denver County). A Western Wood-pewee was at the northwest corner. A Virginia Rail called from the cattails. Mosquitoes were most prominent.

Burrowing Owls can still be found along the DIA Owl Loop (3.4 miles east of Tower & 96th avenue, 128th avenue & Powhaton, Picadilly Road at 0.5 miles south of 128th avenue). No Short-eared Owls were found tonight.

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