Friday, April 19, 2013

The End of a Grouse Tour and Winding Down at Rocky Mountain Arsenal & Cherry Creek Reservoir

April 18, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Rich and Ellen Bozelli and I started our last day of the Grouse Trip.  Driving around yesterday in Weld County looking for Mountain Plover and longspurs (in a snowstorm and 31 mph winds) was not too productive.  We did find two McCown's Longspurs and one Chestnut-collared Longspur (along Highway 14).

Today, skies were clear; however, winds were 23 mph, gusts to 31 mph.  Roads were still snow covered and/or icy.  We again found a McCown's and Chestnut-collared Longspur or two. 

No Mountain Plovers were found.  The Pawnee National Grasslands and area were snow covered.  The roads/dirt tracks on my two favorite Mountain Plover fields were deep in snow.  I would not have known there were roads if not for previous visits.  We did not try to drive down those roads.

Many of the Weld County gravel roads had 12 inches plus of snow.  We were glad to have a 4-wheel drive vehicle.  Thousands of Horned Larks searched for food along the highways and any bare fields (few) they could find.

We returned to Denver about 3:00 pm and ended the tour.  As the DIA Owl Loop was passed, we found Burrowing Owls:
Picadilly Road between 128th and 120th.
112th, west of Quency Street
3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th Avenue

No Burrowing Owls appear to have returned to the Prairie Dog town 0.2 miles north of Tower Road and 56th Avenue.

Rebecca Kosten and I went out for supplies and drove through the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County).  We found a Greater Scaup on Lake Ladora and Lower Derby Lake.  Quite a few species of ducks were found on both lakes.

The highlight was that the herd of 78 Bison were right along the road at 6th Avenue.  We were provided superb views of the massive animals!

The feeders at the Contact Station were full; however, the only birds that visited in 30 minutes were Red-winged Blackbirds.

We ran into Jerry Petrosky at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).

Thousand of gulls were on the sand spit at the southwest marina.  A few interesting gulls were in the mix.  These included a 1st/2nd year Glaucous Gull, two adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls, a 1st cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull and a 2nd cycle Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Other species represented included, Herring, California, Franklin's and Ring-billed!

No shorebirds were found at the Prairie Loop mudflats.  A Virginia Rail ran across below the cattails and allowed us good looks.

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