Monday, November 12, 2012

Unsuccessful Search for Murrelets

November 11, 2012

Richard Stevens:

Today Bryan Ehlmann and I went searching for Murrelets.  The large majority of Murrelet sightings in Colorado have been between 11/2 and 11/14.  They have been found during or the day after a snowstorm (which we had yesterday).  Our final Murrelet count was zero.

We stopped at many of the lakes along the foothills.  At Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas), we scoped the reservoir from above the dam (great view of the lake).  Perhaps we should have driven to the south side of the lake.  We found 5 Common Loons and several Bonaparte's Gulls.  Others found a Rusty Blackbird, Red Phalarope, Lesser Black-backed Gull and Pacific Loon.

Our focus was on the tiny Murrelets however and we probably missed some uncommon birds.  Marston, McLellan, Bear Creek Lake, Arvada, Ralson, Standley were scoped.

We stopped at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) on the way to Barr Lake.  Winds were steady at 17 mph with gusts to 28 mph.  The Harris's Sparrows were not found below the Contact Station feeders today.

Lake Ladora and Lower Derby had many waterfowl, nothing uncommon was found.

I dropped Bryan off at his Brighton home and drove over to Barr Lake (Adams).  The Harris's Sparrow was still behind the Visitor's Center.  Winds again were over 15 mph while I hiked the shoreline.

Highlight was a Black-bellied Plover; however, there were Long-billed Dowitchers, a Sanderling, and Least Sandpiper.  A Bonaparte's Gull flew by.  The biggest surprise was two male Red Crossbills (type undetermined).

My birding day ended with a drive around the DIA Owl Loop.  No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.  Raptors included: Ferruginous Hawks (2), Prairie Falcon, Red-tailed Hawk (3), Rough-legged Hawk (2) and American Kestrel (2).

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