Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Birding In Adams County, Third State Royal Tern and a Buff-breasted Sandpiper

July 29, 2012

Richard Stevens:

After getting back in town, I hoped the Little Blue Heron was still at Lowell Ponds Wildlife Area (Adams County) and headed over there.  Noon was not the best time to bird, however gave it a try anyway.

I ran into Bob Canter who birds the area several times a week.  He gave me a tour of "his birding turf".  Unfortunately, the Little Blue Heron was not found.  As a side note, several birders found it about 2 hours after we left.

As I was returning home, the text message that a Royal Tern was at Barr Lake (Adams) was received.  I was driving along I76 and decided to first stop at the Old Stone House, north side of the Reservoir.

I decided to walk the north shore as a group of gulls/terns? was 500 yards west of the dam.  This group consisted of Ring-billed Gulls, a few Franklin's Gulls and one Forster's Tern.  A larger tern was observed flying around the reservoir in the distance, so I continued west along the shore.

The larger tern eventually flew back and forth and came within the northern 1/3 of the lake.  It was the Royal Tern!

Farther west, I could see a large group of shorebirds and of course had to check them out.  It turned out to be a good choice.  The prize among the 81 shorebirds, 10 species of shorebirds was a Buff-breasted Sandpiper!  I took several photos and hope to look them over in a day or two (my new computer does not read my old digital memory cards, quite a problem).

Also included in the shorebirds were 2 Willets, 2 Sanderlings, 1 Pectoral Sandpiper, Western Sandpipers, Semipalmated Sandpipers, 1 Least Sandpiper, Baird's Sandpipers, 2 Long-billed Dowitchers and 5 Spotted Sandpipers.

My cell phone battery had died and I had to drive home to call Bryan Ehlmann.  Eventually I contacted him and we returned to Barr Lake.  This time we parked off 144th avenue, which greatly reduced our walk (the shorebirds were about 1.4 miles west of the dam where I had parked earlier).

Bryan was able to see the Buff-breasted Sandpiper.  He scoped the Royal Tern, which appeared to be halfway between the southern and northern shores.

Weather deteriorated with high winds and rain.  We had hoped to set up a couple of "listening stations" at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld).

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