Friday, November 21, 2014

Search for Northern Pygmy-Owls, White-tailed Ptarmigan and Return to Cherry Creek Reservoir

November 21, 2014

Richard Stevens:

I enjoyed this beautiful fall day (61 degrees, calm winds except for Guanella Pass) with Bryan Ehlmann, Jacob Washburn and Ray Simmons.

We departed Denver at 3:00 am with the intention of going to Park County Road 58 in search of Northern Pygmy-Owls.  We did not make it to CR 58.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl was found along Sugar Creek Road at approximately 1-1.5 miles south of Deckers Road (Douglas County).

All enjoyed the hike around Guanella Pass Road (Clear Creek).  Beautiful weather, fantastic scenery and eight White-tailed Ptarmigan.  For those wanting to attempt, as Bruce Neuman wrote yesterday, going from Georgetown is a better choice.  We accessed from Grant and had some problems with road conditions.  Bruce indicated that even with nice weather, the road will be closed on December 1.  After that date, a hike/snowshoe trip of 3.5 to 4 miles round trip will be required.

I ended my birding day back at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) for the three evening in a row.  Practice helps; I was able separate the uncommon birds from the hundreds of Eared Grebes, Western Grebes and Common Mergansers with less frustration than the last two days.  It took about 5 minutes to find the White-winged Scoter when I walked the Cherry Creek dam trail (about halfway to the dam tower).  The Long-tailed Duck was quite far off the dam (just as far from the Lake Loop).  I picked it out in another 10 minutes!  Thanks again to Alec Hopping for mentioning the Long-tailed Duck on Wednesday.

Gulls included three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, 12+ Bonaparte's Gulls, a Thayer's Gull, dozens of California Gulls and hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls.  The three Common Loons were also out there.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Rich, Thanks for taking Ray and I along today. Great views of the Northern Pygmy-Owl and the White-tailed Ptarmigan. Thanks for all the hints for our birding trips! Ray and I stopped by Red Rocks Park on the way home. We saw Golden crowned, Fox and Harris's Sparrows. Jacob