Friday, December 20, 2013

An Enjoyable and Successful Winter Day on the West Side of Denver

December 19, 2013

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I made a quick trip through the DIA Owl Loop (as I took him to the airport).  After not seeing any owls for a few days, one of the Short-eared Owls was observed flying along the fence line east of the Prairie Dog Town located at 3.4 miles east of Tower Road & 96th avenue.  See map on Colorado Birding Society's website for recent additional locations that it has been seen (

I enjoyed birding Jefferson & Arapahoe Counties today.  Temperatures were slightly cooler than yesterday (mid 40s); winds were mostly less than 5 mph.

I walked around the various Campgrounds at Chatfield State Park (Jefferson/Douglas) looking unsuccessfully for the Brant.  Then met up with Robb Hinds and we hiked the mile or so down the Highline Canal searching for the Winter Wren reported on Sunday.  Directions were vague and we do not believe the correct location was ever found; the Winter Wren was not found.

After returning to the parking area, Trudy (sorry I do not know her last name but am quite grateful), informed us that she had found the Brant (possible gray bellied?) in Campgrounds A.  Robb and I hurried over and relocated the Brant below the hill, north of the Campgrounds.

Eventually the Brant and 60+ White-cheeked Geese flew to the parking area for the handicapped fisherperson's dock.  We rushed over and were able to get nice views of the geese.  The geese were last observed walking south up the asphalt path leading back to Campgrounds A.

On the way home, I stopped at nearby South Platte Park Reservoir and scoped the lake for about 30 minutes.  Two or three Long-tailed Ducks had been reported there and I wanted to try to confirm the report of three.  Unfortunately, I only found two; they were quite a ways off (along the northern shore of this rather large reservoir).

Then I scoped nearby (to the east) Blackrock Lake and relocated two of the seven previously reported Greater Scaup.  My hike did not continue to Eaglewatch Lake (just north of Blackrock) where the remaining Greater Scaup may have been.  Both lakes were ice free.

My final stop was Red Rocks Park (Jefferson).  I threw out seed and the Golden-crowned Sparrow along with three Song Sparrows appeared within five minutes!  Many Dark-eyed Juncos also came out.  The weather was quite nice and no Rosy Finches were flying around (better viewed on inclement days).

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