Friday, February 18, 2011

Another Birding Day in Adams County

February 17, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I returned to Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County) to attend the "basic birding tour" around the arsenal. The adult Harris's Sparrow visited below the eastern Visitor's Center feeder only a short time (7:28 am to 7:31 am).

Again, the commotion of the Red-winged Blackbirds chased the Harris's Sparrow and 4 White-crowned Sparrows away. They had not returned by 9:00 am. The juvenile Harris's Sparrow never appeared. I parked so to see both the eastern and western feeders today and therefore got a good count of the birds visiting.

On the tour, raptor count was higher than yesterday. We saw many Ferruginous Hawks and a few Bald Eagles. A couple of Coyotes caught prairie dogs, running away from us with their prize in their grasp. The nesting pair of Bald Eagles was on their nest of five years!

Afterwards, I went to lunch in Westminster. The route just happens to pass by northern West Gravel Lakes area. The Long-tailed Duck was not there today; perhaps because there was much road grading inside the park.

I stopped at Dahlia Ponds, which was about 25 percent open water. A female Long-tailed Duck (and most likely the same one wintering in the area) was with dozens of Buffleheads, Common Goldeneyes and Mallards.

My next stop was Barr Lake to see if the swan species observed yesterday was still there. I scoped Barr Lake from the town of Barr and did not see any swans. By the way, the town is known not to be friendly to birders (small town, too much traffic). However, I was able to make friends with one of the residents and he invited me to scope the lake from his backyard! Being cordial never hurts!

Winds were again quite strong (steady at 14 mph at times, gusts to 22 mph) and temperatures lower than yesterday. I was cold all day. The full moon appeared large over the eastern horizon before sunset. I could not go home, had to hike somewhere. Therefore, I drove over to Banner Lakes Wildlife Area.

My birding day ended with the full moon to the east and a beautiful sunset. One Long-eared Owl was found in the western windbreak just south of pond 7. I hung around to see if any Short-eared Owls would hunt along the ponds; none showed tonight. A Great Horned Owl called from the tall cottonwoods east of pond 11!

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