Wednesday, January 15, 2014

A Superb "Gull Day" at Aurora Reservoir

January 13, 2014

Richard Stevens:

I was at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County) today from 2:04 pm to 4:40 pm.  While I was parked at the east end of the dam, eventually I walked to the western side and sat for two hours at the dam where the steps turn into rough, non stepped concrete.  Winds were 16 mph above the dam, but quite calm at the lowest step just above the water.  The hundreds of gulls were quite close and ignored me.  Over 350 photos were taken which need to be examined.

Probably the worse time to arrive would have been 60 minutes before sunset (4:58pm).  75+ percent of the gulls took off and flew toward DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site).  I did not stay until dark (around 5:30 pm) to see if they returned).

Gulls I am sure of included:

Slaty backed Gull.  sat in one position for 1.5 hours, and then took off toward DADS.  I wanted to get a look at the wingtips in flight.  They looked quite good for a Slaty backed Gull.

Iceland Gull: at least one 2nd cycle.  A possible second was mostly hidden by other gulls.  When they took off, I was more interested in the Slaty backed Gull.

Lesser Black-backed Gull: two adults, one first cycle

Glaucous Gull: four 1st cycle

Thayer's Gull: at least one adult, two first year

Many Herring Gulls, Ring-billed Gull, two+ California Gulls

When I initially popped up over the dam (from the parking area), a Ross's Goose was among 2000+ White-cheeked Geese.  They flew northeast to feed somewhere.

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