Wednesday, November 9, 2011

South Platte River Bird Area, Adams County

November 8, 2011

Richard Stevens:

On the way to give a PowerPoint presentation to a Scout Troupe in Westminster, Bryan Ehlmann and I stopped at the S. Platte River at 88th & Colorado Blvd (Adams County). A new sign calls this area the South Platte River Birding Area (will now be referred to that in the future).

We walked south on the west side of the River to Highway 224 and back along the east side of the Platte. The gate to West Gravel Lakes was open so we walked into the park (supposedly closed on November 1st).

A few Ruddy Ducks swam at the north end of the lake. A Long-tailed Duck was along the eastern shore at the halfway point. Two dozen California Gulls were on the overflow drains in the lake.

We left the park and walked south along the dirt track outside of West Gravel Lake. Four hundred+ gulls stood on the S. Platte shore, just below the northern West Gravel Lake. These included 461 Ring-billed Gulls, 11 California Gulls and a Mew Gull.

A pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes was on the S. Platte River below the green and white tower (about 0.5 miles south of 88th avenue). A construction truck scared the ducks up and they flew to Tani Reservoir to the east.

Most of the common ducks in good numbers could now be seen on the River. The most uncommon by number was one male Northern Pintail Duck.

The Barrow's Goldeneye pair swam on Tani Reservoir as we returned to our car. Almost no birds were on East Gravel Lake (only a pair of American Coots). Raptors included a female Northern Harrier and an adult Bald Eagle. A few American Tree Sparrows have also shown up now.

After my presentation, Bryan and I decided to go owling at White Ranch Open Space and Golden Gate Canyon State Park (Jefferson). Winds were 10+ mph; temperatures were in the low 40s. We could not conjure up any small owls this night. A pair of Great Horned Owls called in the State Park.

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