Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Winter Wren at Barr Lake

October 4, 2010

Richard Stevens:

What a beautiful day. Winds were calm and temperatures were in the low 50s in the morning. A Winter Wren was reported a Barr Lake (Adams County) yesterday and I went over to try to relocate it.

I drove the DIA Owl loop at civil twilight and there was a Short-eared Owl perched on the DIA northern fence! A Great Horned Owl was perched on a telephone pole along 128th avenue. I got this idea to make it a four owl morning and stopped by a friend's ranch. His Barn Owls were of course in his barn.

At Barr Lake, I quickly walked to the banding area before sunrise. About 5 minutes before sunrise (6:56 am), I noticed a small bird moving around the thick bushes along the canal (southeast of the banding station). After getting only glimpses of the bird for 15 minutes, I played a Winter Wren recording. The wren responded immediately (less than 5 seconds). The Winter Wren called for a good minute and popped out of the brush for 10 seconds. Great looks and I was able to record his song. Later, a sonogram matched a Winter Wren, which is what I thought it was. Quite different from the song of the "newly split" Pacific Wren.

I then walked back along the main trail/road to the Neidrach Boardwalk. At sunrise, the whole area was quite birdy (even around the banding station). A few Wilson's Warblers, dozens of White-crowned Sparrows, 2 Lincoln's Sparrows, 2 Hermit Thrushes and an unidentified vireo.

At mile marker 8.8, there is a fall down cottonwood still with green leaves (will not be for long as roots are completely out of the ground). A female/young male Blue Grosbeak sang near the trunk. A Nashville Warbler briefly came out of the underbrush below the tree. Another dozen White-crowned Sparrows and a Lincoln's Sparrow also flew back and forth from the tree to the canal. Another Hermit Thrush skulked around.

Only a few birds were observed from here to the Niedrach Boardwalk. Only three birds were around the boardwalk, 2 Wilson's Warblers and a colorful Cassin's Vireo.

Later I hiked below the dam and encountered few birds. Then I drove around to mile marker 2.5 and walked to mile 4.0. Dozens of White-crowned Sparrows were along the west side of the reservoir. One White-throated Sparrow was with them! A quite late migrating Townsend's Warbler was high in the cottonwoods at mile marker 3.0.

Nothing uncommon was found on the lake. There were many birds: American White Pelicans, Western Grebes, Double-crested Cormorants, Ring-billed Gulls, California Gulls, Ruddy Ducks, etc.

As an Editorial Note: I amazing me that I seldom run into other birders at sunrise. The woods were full of bird activity. The airwaves full of songs and calls. Best time of the day!

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