Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Day to Cherry Creek Reservoir

September 13, 2014

Email to cobirders listserve Richard Stevens:

Hello cobirders;

Bryan Ehlmann and I spent the last couple of weeks driving around mostly northern Colorado.  I took advantage of the great late, cool summer day to circle Cherry Creek Reservoir on foot.  While enjoying birding with others, the solitude today was a refreshing treat.

I started at the Dam Tower parking area and headed south.  The few gulls flying around were Ring-billed and California Gulls (in lesser numbers).  A few Snowy Egrets hunted for food at the base of the dam.  A Common Tern and two Black Terns flew around the south side of the lake (resting several times of the buoys.

A Western Kingbird and Say's Phoebes hawked insects around the southwest marina.  I scoped the lake often during the trek.  While eyes were kept open for a possible phalarope, However, I did not see the two Red-necked Phalaropes reported by Glenn Walbek sometime during the day.

Probably the highlight of the day was a male Hooded Warbler deep in the thickets just east of the Mountain Loop Parking Area.  A thrush stayed hidden most of the time in the willows and remained unidentified.

Many Chipping Sparrows and four Yellow-rumped Warblers fluttered around the Lake Loop.  Several Song Sparrows and a Common Yellowthroat sang from the cattails between the Lake and Prairie Loops.

The tall cattails at the Bird Observation Platform made scoping the lake from here quite frustrating.  A Virginia Rail walked the shore below the rocks.

The Eastern Phoebe reported yesterday by Schrab around the Cottonwood Creek Footbridge was not relocated.  Two Great Blue Herons and three Black-crowned Night-Herons waited patiently for prey to swim by north of the footbridge.

A few Barn Swallows flew over the Cottonwood Creek Wetlands.  No Green Herons appeared among the cattails.

A Plumbeous Vireo flew about the southern end of the Pipeline Trail.  While a Black-crowned Night-Heron and a Great Horned Owl hunted along Cherry Creek just south of the Pipeline Trail.

Tall cattails at the southeastern end of the lake made seeing any shore (if there was any) at this end.  Two dozen American White Pelicans were seen through the foliage as it was blown by the wind.

I scoped the reservoir from the northeastern end and found no uncommon gulls or the phalaropes.  A few additional Song Sparrows and a Lincoln's Sparrow popped out of the willows along the picnic area west of the boat ramp.

Finally reaching the Smoky Hill Group Picnic area, many birds were observed flying around.  The best location was the small group of trees at the south end of the swim beach.  It was here that a Tennessee Warbler, six Orange-crowned Warblers, two Wilson's Warblers, one Yellow Warbler and dozens of Chipping Sparrows were observed.

Four additional Orange-crowned Warblers, a Wilson's Warbler and Cassin's Vireo were in the evergreen trees closer to the picnic pavilion.

Hundreds of people scattered on the swim beach limited gulls to less than two dozen Ring-billed.  A dozen Chipping Sparrows and a young American Redstart moved around the trees at the northwest corner of the swim beach.

Dozens additional Chipping Sparrows, two Song Sparrows, a Spotted Towhee and two Orange-crowned Warblers popped out of the willows along the shore at the Dixon Grove Picnic area.

Finally, many birds were found in the willows along the lake edge from Dixon Grove to the Dam Tower.  These included another five Orange-crowned Warblers, half a dozen Yellow-rumped Warblers, and a Green-tailed Towhee.

I drove through the Campgrounds but did not stop.  No additional interesting birds came out.

Continued Good Birding!

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