Saturday, April 21, 2012

Birding Eastern Denver Area

April 20, 2012

Richard Stevens:

What a fantastic spring day in Colorado!  Temperatures reached into the 70s; winds were mild most of the day.  I enjoyed a full day of chasing birds.

Tyler Donovan and I visited a couple of private ranches on the eastern plains.  Migration is starting to reach the Denver latitude.  Our best bird was a Northern Parula at a private ranch in Weld County.  At another ranch, we found a pair of nesting Long-eared Owls and a Black-and-white Warbler.

On the way back to Denver, we stopped at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area.  The northern sections are closed until July 15; however, birders can still wander around the southern sections (south of highway 52).

Best bird was a male Hooded Warbler with an Orange-crowned Warbler and 8-10 Yellow-rumped Warblers at the western windbreak.

The two Harris's Sparrows came by the feeders at the Star K Ranch Open Space (Adams).  A few Eurasian Collared-Doves and Mourning Doves offered an opportunity to see how much bigger the Eurasian Collared-Dove are in relation to the Mourning Doves.

After dropping Tyler off at his motel, I drove to nearby Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Six Bonaparte's Gulls and eight Franklin's Gulls were swimming off the Lake Loop.

Misses: I did not stop at survey the Cottonwood Creek wetlands where a Tricolored Heron was found earlier in the day.  Neither did I bother to check the southwest marina.

After receiving a phone call about a Laughing Gull at the southwest marina, I circled back (I was looking at Chipping Sparrows in the Campgrounds) to the marina.

A black headed Gull (photographed) was an adult Franklin's Gull.  During a 2 hour sit, no additional black headed gulls appeared.  The photos taken by Tom Bunker show that an adult Laughing Gull was there about 20 minutes before I was.

A lone male Yellow-headed Blackbird walked around the grass near the marina.  A male Say's Phoebe sang from the pole at the top of the marina office.

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