Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Search for Tufted Duck in Boulder County

January 18, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I arrived home early Monday morning and headed up to Boulder County. Arrived in Longmont at 6:30 am, way too early to search for the Tufted Duck. At first light, I walked around Golden Ponds in Longmont for about 2 hours. No one found the Tufted Duck as most of the ponds were ice covered. A pair of Hooded Mergansers and a Northern Shrike were at Pond 4.

I spent the next 4 hours driving around searching for open water in Boulder County. Lakes checked included: Boulder Fairgrounds, McIntosh Lake, Ish Reservoir, Terry Lake, Highline Reservoir, McCall Lake, Pella Crossing, Clover Basin, Lagerman Reservoir, Dodd Lake, Boulder Reservoir, North Teller Lake, a few others. Most were completely ice covered while a few had only small open water holes.

The most promising for the Tufted Duck to show up is the Valmont Reservoir Complex. There was quite a good deal of open water, no Tufted Duck. The Tundra Swan continues here, in the southeast corner this day.

On the way back to Denver, I stopped at the Parkside Center Pond (Broomfield). I took some great photos of the Glaucous Gull (Plage, 1/15).

Next, I stopped at 88th avenue and Colorado Blvd and walked the Platte River (Adams County) down (west side) to I270 and back (east side). Target bird was the possible Iceland Gull reported the day before. Gave the Dunlin another chance at showing up, which it did not. All gulls observed had dark wing tips, no Iceland Gull found.

The Long-tailed Duck was still on the northern West Gravel Lake. Two pairs of Barrow's Goldeneyes were on the S. Platte River around the green/white tower. Many waterfowl for photographers or birders to see.

My next stop was Barr Lake (Adams). A White-throated Sparrow was under the bushes south of the Visitor's Center. It never approached the feeder area. An interesting Gull was at the boat ramp when I arrived. Unfortunately, it flew west before I got a proper ID.

No sparrows were found around the Old Stone House area (where a Harris's Sparrow was reported last week). Only a few Great-tailed Grackles were at the Picadilly Tree Nursery feedlot. However, 100+ were along Harvest Road at 0.6 miles north of 160th Avenue (along with many Bison)!

At sunset, I drove the DIA Owl Loop looking for Short-eared Owls and several birders who had missed them yesterday. I did not any this evening. Northern Harrier count was 17! The roads southeast of Trussville Road and 114th were quite muddy and I did not attempt to drive them.

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