Sunday, December 11, 2011

Return to Denver from Northeast Colorado

December 4, 2011

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I wandered around Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) about an hour before sunrise. Two Eastern Screech-Owls were heard calling (between sections 6-7 East).

As birds "woke up" in the morning, we were able to find a Northern Cardinal at Tamarack Pond. Two Field Sparrows were around the windbreak at section 7 East. Red-bellied Woodpeckers were found on both the eastern and western sides of CR 55.

There was no sign or additional reports of a Snowy Owl. We headed back to Denver. A quick stop at Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington) found little not expected. The highlight was a Snow Bunting at the southeastern end of the dam.

Bryan Ehlmann and I returned from a great four days of birding on the Eastern Plains. We were avoiding driving back to a snow covered Denver; also, we searched several days for a reported Snowy Owl; without success,

Then, I hopped on the E470 toll road and drove down to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas). In spite on cloudy skies and temperatures in the teens, my afternoon was quite enjoyable and successful.

I looked for the Brants at the Heron Rookery Overlooks, below the northwestern Campgrounds and from the Fishing Pier. While at the Fishing Pier (labeled on Chatfield Reservoir map as such), the 1st/2nd cycle Glaucous Gull flew over my head (which figures as I left my camera in the car to keep it warm).

Then I saw many geese on the swim beach and headed that way. It was too cold to search for the Rusty Blackbirds at Plum Creek Delta. On the way over, I scoped many geese in the field south of the model airplane runways. The two Brants were there (in Douglas County).

At least one (I thought two) Lapland Longspurs were mixed in with dozens of Horned Larks along the model airplane entrance road.

Having missed the Pomarine Jaeger at previous stops, I decided to drive up to the top of the dam. It is still my favorite location to scope Chatfield Reservoir and it did not disappoint.

The Pomarine Jaeger was chasing gulls along Massy Draw and the northern boat ramp. Hundreds of gulls swam and circled over the bay (below me)! One of the gulls was a 1st cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull.

While making a "rest stop" back at the swim beach, many geese started flying into the area. The two Brants were among them (Jefferson County)!

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