Monday, May 23, 2011

Birding Along the Foothills

May 23, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I decided to bird southwestern Denver area today. Temperatures reached the low 70s; it rained off and on all day. Staying dry was a challenge.

The negative cannot be proven; if the Tricolored Heron is still around the Plum Creek Delta area at Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) I could not find it. A Plumbeous Vireo was found south of the Plum Creek footbridge. A Northern Waterthrush was north of the footbridge.

A two hour search south of Kingfisher Bridge and west of the S. Platte River did not turn up the White-eyed Vireo. Once a mecca for migrating warblers, only an American Redstart was found (just south of the paved path). A few Western Wood-pewees required special attention in case an Eastern Wood-Pewee lingered among them. Several female Broad-tailed Hummingbirds worked on building a nest. House Wrens filled the air with chatter.

The eastern side of the S. Platte River added a pair of Least Flycatchers, a pair of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Spotted Towhees, Black-headed Grosbeaks, several Cedar Waxwings and a Yellow-breasted Chat.

At the southern end of the park, Gray Catbirds, Common Yellowthroats, Lincoln's Sparrows, a Green Heron and 6 species of swallows provided much to identify. Another American Redstart was east and south of the Discovery Pavilion area.

None of the uncommon birds appeared during a 1.5 hour stay at Red Rocks Park (Jefferson). The Curve-billed Thrasher was last reported on 5/16.

My daylight birding ended at Golden Gate Canyon State Park and White Ranch Open Space (Jefferson). Both a Dusky Grouse and American Three-toed Woodpecker were added to my day list. I doubt either could be relocated as I wandered around in the woods (chasing a possible Northern Pygmy-Owl, which was never found).

A Rose-breasted Grosbeak was observed along the Belcher Trail at White Ranch (Jefferson). It was just up from the trailhead.

After dark, I made about 8 stops playing owl recordings. A Flammulated Owl was recorded in Golden Gate Canyon Park. A Northern Pygmy-Owl at White Ranch. The Flammulated Owl was most surprising. In my experience, during or after a thunderstorm, Flammulated Owls usually do not call.

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