Saturday, December 8, 2012

Odds and Ends Around Denver

December 8, 2012

Richard Stevens:

While doing chores Rebecca Kosten and I followed up on several bird reports sent to us.

We received a report of eight or so Barrow's Goldeneyes at the southwest pond at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  This pond is reached by parking at Cherry Creek High School and walking 500 yards east down the path running along the southwestern border of the park.

The pond did indeed have several dozen White-cheeked Geese and eight Goldeneyes.  Unfortunately, the Goldeneyes were all Common Goldeneyes.  The five males were first year Common Goldeneyes and females appeared to be Common also.

At around 1:00 pm, we visited the trio of lakes in Eastern Denver County.  To our surprise, there were few geese on any of the lakes (Lakecrest, Emerald Strand Park & Green Valley Recreation Center Pond). 

Usually, the geese "rest" on the ponds from 10:00 am to about 3:30 pm.  They leave in late afternoon to feed and do not return until dusk.  Could they sense the predicted snowstorm is coming in after sunset?

We stopped at Barr Lake State Park (Adams) to see if the Harris's Sparrow reported last month was still around.  When we arrived, an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk was standing on the water fountain near the feeders behind the Visitor's Center. 

Unlikely any sparrows were going to show any time soon, we decided to drive back to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) and scope the lakes (report of a possible adult male Black Scoter).

Waterfowl were few on both Lake Ladora and Lower Derby Lake.  Again, do they know/sense a coming storm and have flown south?

While we scoped the southern end of Lake Ladora, a Harris's Sparrow popped up from under the few willows next the road at the southwestern end of the lake.  It looked much like one of the two Harris's Sparrows that came to the feeders near the Contact Station last month (the one I called two stripes, for the two black stripes on its breast.  The other had one solid stripe).

For another question that may not be answered, if it does snow tonight and enough to cover the ground, and if this is one of the two Harris's Sparrows from last month, will this Harris's Sparrow remember the food supply back about 1000 yards to the northwest?

We plan to return if there is heavy snowfall in the next couple of days.

No comments: