Thursday, February 17, 2011

Birding Around Adams County

February 16, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I returned to Rocky Mountain Arsenal this morning and waited for the Harris's Sparrows to show. Only the adult appeared and then only briefly from 7:32 to 7:34 am. The number of Red-winged Blackbirds doubled from Sunday creating much disturbance of noise and movement at the feeders.

I then went on their bus tour. Half a dozen Ferruginous Hawks and several Bald Eagles were photographed. Not as many raptors flew around as my last trip two weeks ago.

Afterwards I hiked the South Platte River from 88th avenue to 74th avenue. Three male and two female Barrow's Goldeneyes were just upstream of the green and white tower about 0.5 miles south of the parking area at 88th avenue and Colorado Blvd.

The Long-tailed Duck was still on northern West Gravel Lake. She was difficult to see. First, she fed constantly, on the surface for only seconds and staying under water for up to a minute at a time. Second, she stayed in the extreme northeast corner. I could only see her by walking down the eastern fence line to where it bends west, then scoping back north.

Barr Lake was my next stop. I could not find the possible Great Black-backed Gull reported yesterday by Bob Righter. There was a Swan species in the middle of the lake at mile marker 4.5. Heat waves made identification impossible.

My birding day ended by sitting behind the Visitor's Center and watching the feeders. The Harris's Sparrow stayed in the tall brushes in the tall grasses west of the building. He never approached the feeders. The White-throated Sparrow never appeared.

Only about two dozen Great-tailed Grackles were at the Picadilly Tree Nursery feedlot. No Short-eared Owls were found along the DIA Owl Loop this evening.

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