Saturday, February 5, 2011

Birding in Adams County

February 4, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I joined ENAS (Evergreen Naturalists Audubon Society) trip to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal Repository. It is the country's "warehouse" of confiscated illegal animal goods and dead eagles. They process 2000 dead eagles a year for distribution to native American tribes. The tour was informative and interesting.

Afterwards, I stopped at the Visitor's Center where one of the Harris's Sparrows was in the brush 6 or 7 feet behind (north) of the eastern feeder. It never approached the feeder perhaps because of the many Red-winged Blackbirds also visiting.

More interesting was a group of three Western Meadowlarks that huddled under the feeder. When the Red wings flushed, most birds left except for this little group of colorful meadowlarks. Several vehicles passed by the feeder and the birds flushed often. I waited around; the Harris's Sparrow did not return in 30 minutes.

After some business in Brighton and a late lunch in Westminster, I needed a place to walk the last two hours of daylight. The South Platte River at 88th avenue was chosen. Skies were overcast; however, temperatures were in the high 40s with calm winds.

My 3/4 mile hike took about 2 hours as I scoped the banks closely. I made it south to the railroad trestle without seeing the Dunlin. A pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes was below the green/white tower. Another male and 2 females were 50 yards south/upstream of the tower.

On the return trip, I finally picked the Dunlin out of the wet rocks on the east bank below the green/white tower. Where was it on my trip upstream? There is a little stream where offers some refuge behind an island that is not visible from the west bank vantage point, perhaps?

I almost did not look at the northern West Gravel Lake since the Long-tailed Duck had not been reported in a week or so. Changing my mind at the last moment, I hopped the hill at the south end of the open water (north end of lake). The Long-tailed Duck was with a raft of Common Goldeneyes just off the eastern shore!

I not only enjoyed a nice after lunch/dinner hike, but a productive one as well!

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