Sunday, April 22, 2012

Search for a Tricolored Heron

April 21, 2012

About 30 minutes before sunrise, I visited Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  My first stop was the southwest marina.  No black headed gulls stood on the logs around the marina.  Several Bonaparte's Gulls and a black headed Gull with no white in its wingtips flew below the dam and not far from the marina.  It certainly appeared to be an adult Laughing Gull.

Next, I circled the Cottonwood wetlands in search of yesterday's reported Tricolored Heron.  Two White-faced Ibis and a male Yellow-headed Blackbird were the highlights.

I worked my way south to the new Belleview wetlands (south of the Cottonwood Creek wetlands).  A Cattle Egret was at the northeast corner.  No Tricolored Heron was found.  The three species of teal were represented in about equal numbers.

Next, I searched at the bird platform area of the Prairie Loop.  A Black-crowned Night-Heron was along the creek.  A Long-eared Owl was west of the platform.  It would have gone undetected except that it called.

After abandoning a search for the Tricolored Heron, I drove to Pleasant Valley (Weld) to bird at a new friend's ranch (one of the bonuses of the Roggen Snowy Owl searches).  The Black-and-white Warbler and Long-eared Owls were still around.  At a nearby ranch, yesterday's Northern Parula was not relocated.

In the late afternoon, I returned to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Repeating the morning's searches, I never found the Tricolored Heron.  A Virginia Rail came out of the cattails at the southern side of the Cottonwood Creek wetlands.

The two White-faced Ibis appeared to move to the Belleview wetlands.  I walked from the wetlands to the Peoria Pond (about 1.3 miles south) and back.  A Great Blue Heron was the only heron found.  A Swainson's Hawk stood on one of the telephone poles along Peoria Avenue.

At sunset, I drove over to the southwest marina.  Not one Gull stood on the logs bordering the marina.  They appeared to be hunting for food over the lake.

At the Lake Loop, I found 6+ Bonaparte's Gulls, 7+ Franklin's Gulls and the Laughing Gull.  I was able to watch it for 20 minutes before dark.  It had an extensive black hood, no white in its wingtips (unlike the Bonaparte's and Franklin's Gulls).

The day was a fantastic Colorado Spring day!  Weather and birding were superb!

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