Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Another Search for Sparrows on the Eastern Plains

April 24, 2011

Richard Stevens:

After visiting two Greater Prairie-Chicken leks in Yuma County this morning, Bryan Ehlmann and I returned to Denver. One of the leks was the Yuma County Road 45 lek after we visited a new one suggested by a Denver/Yuma County landowner. Thirteen Greater Prairie-Chickens at the new lek and Twelve observed displaying at the CR 45 lek.

We stopped briefly at two friend's homes in Wray and added 2 male and 1 female Northern Cardinal, a Harris's Sparrow and eastern Fox Sparrow to our trip list. Our biggest miss, but a long shot, we found no Baird's Sparrows.

After dropping Bryan off in Brighton, I went over to Barr Lake (Adams County). I wanted to check the feeders at the old stone house at the northeast corner of the park. Only White-crowned Sparrows were seen there. However, a flock of 21 Yellow-rumped Warblers caught my attention in the trees along the trail, west of the building, below the dam. A Palm Warbler accompanied the loose flock, which also included 2 Black-capped Chickadees.

From the north end of the dam, I counted 6+ Bonaparte's Gulls and dozens of Franklin's Gulls.

Two+ Great-tailed Grackles continue at the Picadilly Tree Nursery Feedlot. Burrowing Owls were relocated at the site 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th Avenue. Another two Burrowing Owls were at the site 0.3 miles north of Tower Road & 56th Avenue.

Two Ferruginous Hawks hunted along Tower Road, north of 104th avenue. I was surprised by the number of hawks flying around the DIA Owl Loop today. Besides 3 Ferruginous Hawks (including one dark morph), 11 Red-tailed Hawks (2 dark morph), 6 Swainson's Hawks (1 dark morph), 4 Northern Harriers and at least 3 American Kestrels were counted.

While replenishing food supplies, I stopped off at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). Three Willets, three Greater Yellowlegs, two Lesser Yellowlegs and over a dozen American Avocets were on the mudflats off the bird observation platform (Prairie Loop).

The Neotropic Cormorant was off the southwest marina! At least 3 Bonaparte's Gulls were among dozens of Franklin's Gulls flying below the dam. Dozens of Western Grebes swam farther off the marina. I could not pick out a Red-necked Grebe. Plenty of American White Pelicans were scattered around the reservoir.

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