Sunday, May 19, 2013

Search for Pygmy Owls and Return to Wheat Ridge Greenbelt

May 18, 2013

At first light, I was standing at the parking area for Reynolds Park (Jefferson County).  Neither of my target birds (Northern Pygmy-Owl and Common Poorwill) was making a sound. 

Later, I walked the Narrow Gauge Trail at Pine Valley Ranch Park (Jefferson) with the same results.

Having found American Three-toed Woodpeckers many times at both Reynolds Park and Pine Valley Ranch Park, I found no reason to hike the steep trails today.  I am sure that the opportunity and task will come again soon.

A text message stated that a Bobolink had been found at Prospect Park, Wheat Ridge Greenbelt.  Since I could not remember if it was a new Jefferson County bird for my list, I headed back toward Denver and the Park.

As I crossed the Prospect Park footbridge, a flock of 61 Yellow-rumped Warblers caught my attention.  One bird was dropping his tail quite often.  It turned out to be a Palm Warbler.

A lone Plumbeous Vireo worked the trees along the south side of Clear Creek, west of the footbridge.

As I turned onto the Tree Bridge Trail, a Northern Cardinal was heard singing.  Unfortunately, he was deep in the woods south of the trail (between the two wooden footbridges).

Continuing west, I finally reached the area southeast of West Lake where the Bobolink was reported earlier in the day.  Regrettably, it was not found. 

A male Blue Grosbeak between Bass Lake and Clear Creek was a small consolation for missing the Jefferson County Bobolink.

Circling back to the east, yesterday's Rose-breasted Grosbeak was not relocated.

Since my trek was 25 miles from home, I took the opportunity to visit a friend up the hill from the Tree Bridge Trail.  He put me onto an Eastern Screech-Owl!  In recent years, photographers had bothered the owls along this riparian strip.  There Locations will be unadvertised.

This stretch of Wheat Ridge Greenbelt was once a birding gem of Colorado.  The drought, which has lasted for many years now (6+), has taken its toll on the area.  While some vegetation has returned, the area is still quite dry (as well as short on birds).

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