Friday, September 23, 2011

Search for the Red Phalarope, Cherry Creek State Park

September 22, 2011

Richard Stevens:

I had to checkout the possible Red Phalarope report at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County). The day was another fantastic "fall" day in Colorado. Mild winds and temperatures in the low 60s again.

It took several hours to scope the lake from the Lake Loop (no birds), eastern sand spit (Ring-billed Gulls, several Sabine's Gulls, many American White Pelicans, 8+ Great Blue Herons, 6 Snowy Egrets). No phalaropes.

Nothing seen from the northeastern boat ramp, my last try was the parking area below the dam's tower. Here we were able to see two phalaropes quite far off the shore. Eventually they flew giving us good looks at the white wingbars.

They swam closer and I could see the white transects on the back. Two Red-necked Phalaropes. The Red Phalarope was never found.

After lunch, chores "forced" me again pass through Cherry Creek State Park. Of course, I was not really "forced" :-)

This time I scoped the reservoir from the lake loop. Five phalaropes were close to shore. Unfortunately, by the time I set up my scope, I was only had good looks at four of them. As my scope hit the fifth bird, a boat came by and the phalaropes flew to the extreme southeast corner of the lake.

The fifth phalarope was much lighter than the first four. However, I am inclined to believe that all five were Red-necked Phalaropes.

A flock of warblers fluttered about the cottonwoods at the lake edge as I returned to my car. The flock included 11 Yellow-rumped Warblers, 2 Wilson's Warblers and a Townsend's Warbler.

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