Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pine Valley Ranch Park and Aurora Reservoir

February 19, 2014

Richard Stevens:

The day started out rising to a high of 65 degrees with winds less than 8 mph.  By late afternoon, a front came over the mountains and temperatures dropped to 42 degrees in less than an hour.

Joyce Thompson and I visited Pine Valley Ranch Park (Jefferson County) this morning.  An adult female American Three-toed Woodpecker was just east of the Buck Gulch Trail at 400 yards south of Pine Lake.

Three species of nuthatches and a small flock of Pine Siskins were encountered.  A White-crowned Sparrow was around Pine Lake.

The highlight was a calling Northern Pygmy-Owl in the rocky ridge area along Strawberry Jack Trail, south of the Parkview Trail.  This is in Pike National Forest just south of the Pine Valley Ranch Park boundary.

After dropping Joyce off, I stopped at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  Unfortunately, most of the gulls were at an ice shelf at Senac Cove.  I was not willing to walk the 2.5 miles along the bike path to get a better look. 

Instead, I drove to the dam and scoped the ice-covered reservoir from there.  A Glaucous Gull, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and an adult Thayer's Gull were found scattered across the ice.

It was by no means a good count as Senac Cove was too far away to identify the hundreds of gulls down there.  By 5:12 pm, most of the gulls flew off toward DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site) or toward Cherry Creek State Park.

I drove the outside perimeter of DADS looking unsuccessfully for Short-eared Owls (until too dark to see).

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