Monday, October 15, 2012

A Slow Day Around Denver

October 14, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca and I went out to breakfast and started early enough to look for Short-eared Owls at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  No Short-eared Owls flew around this morning. 

We spotted a large white (non-pelican bird) at the swim beach and headed over there.  The large bird turned out to be a Swan.  It appeared to be a Trumpeter Swan.  When it took flight, it bent its neck.

The Trumpeter Swan Society in Idaho writes:

"Trumpeter Swans, following the takeoff run and just as they become airborne, will pull their necks into a shallow "S" curve. This is seen only for a very brief time during their first wing beats to stay airborne.

Tundra Swans hold their necks straight the entire time of the takeoff run and initial flight. This characteristic applies to both land and water takeoffs. "

Later in the afternoon, we went for dinner with the plan to drive the DIA Owl Loop after dark to test Rebecca's new Ipad Constellation app.

On the way, we passed Tower Road and 56th avenue.  A Short-eared Owl was flying over the field at the southwest corner.  Two years ago I found a Short-eared Owl chasing pigeons under the overpass just west of here (at 3:00 am).  Since, then I have driven by now and then after dark.

This area is under construction for new homes.  The riparian area is being destroyed as trees come down.  We found a Barn Owl a few weeks ago.  Any Short-eared Owls that roosted in the area will soon have to move elsewhere.

Have to love the Ipad; we studied constellations and stars for several hours.  Rebecca also has seven years of "Colorado Field Notes" and the whole CoBus website on the Ipad.  It is a great reference, just a little too big to carry in the field when birding!

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