Monday, October 28, 2013

Rocky Mountain Arsenal Finally Reopened!

October 27, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Rocky Mountain Arsenal finally opened after closing for over a month due to flooding and then the government shutdown.

After getting a few chores done, Rebecca Kosten and I went over to the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County).  It was colder than yesterday (mid 60s, winds 10 mph, gusts to 14 mph).

Our target bird was a Swamp Sparrow.  Several have been reported along the Front Range in the past month.  Several were found at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal last year (just about this time of year).

Lake Ladora contained many Ring-billed Gulls, a few California Gulls and two Franklin's Gulls.  None gulls included two American Coots; that was all.

Hundreds of waterfowl were on Lower Derby Lake.  This included a dozen or so Redheads, 70-80 Canvasbacks, Bufflehead, American Coots, American Wigeons, Mallards, one Western Grebe and one Eared Grebe.

The highlights were a Surf Scoter and Black Scoter.  It took quite awhile (45 minutes) to identify the Surf Scoter.  It would stay under water a good amount of time and only surface for 3-5 seconds.  Each time it surfaced, its tail was pointed toward us.

We walked the park of Marys Lake boardwalk that was not destroyed during our heavy rains last month; no Swamp Sparrow.

Finally, a Swamp Sparrow emerged from the cattails along the south end of Lake Ladora.

I really wanted to hike to the Rod and Gun Club Pond and Bird Blind.  Recent sightings of Sedge Wrens and Winter Wrens could open the possibility of an uncommon wren around the cattails there.  I broke a couple of toes a month ago and re-injured them last week.  Walking is no fun; I had to pass on that idea.  Perhaps someone else can make the 3-4 mile round trip?

We passed the Tower Road flooded field (north of 96th avenue) on our way home.  The Red Phalarope was still there along with an American Avocet and many Killdeer.

A Great Horned Owl was heard and seen behind the Old Stone House at Barr Lake (Adams).  We could not see the Pomarine Jaeger from mile 6.0 (northwest corner of the dam).

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