Sunday, December 26, 2010

Birding Mostly in Douglas County Today

December 22, 2010

Richard Stevens:

I took advantage of the full moon last night and walked around 4 hours before sunrise searching for owls around Franktown and Castlewood Canyon State Park, Douglas County. Two Northern Saw-whet Owls were found. One was found in the park between the waterfalls and first parking area to north. The other was on private land.

After sunrise, I drove down Castlewood Canyon Road. Not one bluebird was found. Wonder where they are this year?

I spent about 3 hours at Tomichi Gulch this morning. The temperature at sunrise was 27 degrees. Fortunately, there was no wind and my walk was quite pleasant.

The majority of Spotted Towhees were twice the distance east of where I saw them and the Eastern Towhee on my last visit. No Eastern Towhee was found this morning.

I also hiked down to the open area east of the "working ranch" and scoped feeders north of creek. No Common Redpoll found this trip.

Plenty of birds moved about. Three species of jays (Steller's, Western Scrub and Blue Jays). Three species of nuthatches also, I always enjoy watching the little torpedo shaped Pygmy Nuthatches flutter about, seldom stopping!

Downy Woodpeckers, a pair of Hairy Woodpeckers, a Red-tailed Hawk, Dark-eyed Juncos, White-crowned Sparrows, Song Sparrows, Red-winged Blackbirds, and a Brewer's Blackbird were added to my day list.

A quick stop found the Walker Pit 100 percent ice covered. The nearby Great Horned Owl nest had a Red-tailed Hawk on it.

A stop at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) found it surprisingly to be 99 percent ice covered. Eight Bald Eagles kept sharp eyes on the Common Mergansers and geese swimming in a small open water area.

Three interesting gulls stood on the ice edge. A 1st or 2nd Glaucous Gull with its black tipped pink bill. The possible Iceland Gull with its all black bill; could it have been a Thayer's Gull? The third Gull looked much like a young Glaucous-winged Gull. I lean toward the belief that all Glaucous-winged looking gulls in Colorado are hybrids. At least the large majority are.

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