Monday, February 28, 2011

Denver, Parker and Elbert County Birding

February 26, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I again birded around "Denver" in the afternoon. Winds were 14+ mph; temperature only reached the high 40s!

We received a text message about the Long-tailed Duck at Smith Lake, Washington Park and headed over that way. I spent an hour scoping the lake, never saw a Long-tailed Duck.

We then headed toward Kiowa where I had a meeting tonight. A stop at the Twenty Mile Pond in Parker found the pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes swimming at the eastern end of this small water treatment pond.

Another text message that the Long - tailed Duck was at Smith Lake. What the heck, I scoped the lake for a good hour, missed the bird on this not very large lake? The Common Goldeneyes were feeding constantly, under water more than on the surface. I guess the Long-tailed Duck was doing the same.

Therefore, I turned around and headed back to Washington Park. This time, I found the Long-tailed Duck and Jerry Petrosky in less than two minutes. We carpooled to Kiowa! I was the speaker so that fact that we were 15 minutes late was unfortunate.

We did obtain some very valuable information about owls and other birds in Elbert County. One rancher had a pair of Yellow-billed Cuckoos nest on his property last summer! Another had found a Common Poorwill nest/with bird and eggs! We plan to check on them next summer.

At around 11:00 pm, Jerry, Bryan Ehlmann and I went owling around Kiowa and Elbert (both in Elbert County). With the great help of our new friends, we found a Barn Owl at an old barn. A Western Screech-Owl at another ranch. Most exciting, we saw 2 Long-eared Owls at a third ranch. Long-eared Owl sightings are quite uncommon in Kiowa County!

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