Monday, November 15, 2010

Northeastern Colorado Again

November 5-6, 2010

Richard Stevens:

Friday, 5th

Bryan Ehlmann and I went to Jackson Reservoir (Morgan County) just for the day. Well, we ended up staying overnight.

Jackson Lake State Park was pretty quiet. Several Bonaparte's Gulls flew over the lake (observed from the dam accessed from CR 2).

We walked to the eastern end of the dam in search of Snow Buntings and whatever. No Snow Buntings were found. A Merlin was in the tall cottonwoods around the ponds below the dam.

An adult Bald Eagle flew by probably scared up from the same cottonwood grove.

Next, we drove east to Brush Wildlife Area (Morgan). A male Red-bellied Woodpecker was found; however, no screech owls could be enticed to make an appearance after civil twilight.

Saturday, 6th

We birded several of the "State Walk-In" areas with little success in finding interesting birds. There areas are quite interesting if visited at the right time of year. I will write more about them at a later date.

The best and only uncommon bird was an Eastern Screech-Owl warming him/herself. Opened her eyes briefly, figured we were not a threat, and went back to "sleep".

Bryan needed to be home by 2:00 pm and we returned to Denver. After dropping Bryan off, I headed up to Fossil Creek Reservoir (Larimer) where an Eurasian Wigeon had been reported the day before.

Once at Fossil Creek Reservoir, I walked the Sandpiper Trail twice; without success. Scoped from the observation deck, and then walked the Cattail Flats Trail.

The Sandpiper Trail was not very interesting. However, that is where the Eurasian Wigeon had been reported the day before and possibly earlier this day.

From the Observation platform, I was able to see a White-winged Scoter. I watched the duck for 15 minutes or so, before it stretched it wings, providing an accurate ID.

A Pacific Loon could be seen from the Cattail Flats bird blind! Fossil Creek Reservoir held hundreds of ducks, the search for the Eurasian Wigeon was definitely like looking for a needle in a large haystack.

When I arrived at the top of the hill at the extreme eastern end of the Cattail Flats trail, I set up my scope. The very first bird in the center of the scope was the male Eurasian Wigeon! The duck was swimming away from me; however, the gray sides stood out among several dozen American Wigeons (with brownish sides). When it turned toward me, the reddish brown head and Bufflehead crown stood out well.

On the walk back to my car, a Grasshopper Sparrow popped out of the tall grasses south of Cattail flats trail. It was an added bonus to the trip.

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