Sunday, January 25, 2015

Five Owl Day Around Denver

January 25, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I enjoyed the beautiful Colorado winter day by birding around Denver.  The high temperature was 64 degrees; winds were recorded from 4 mph to 9 mph.  Fantastic!

My third attempt to find the Fox Sparrow reported below the Chatfield State Park dam was again a bust.  Using GPS, in two hours I only got within 0.1 miles of the site.  High fences and closed areas limited the search.  An Eastern Screech-Owl looking out of his hole in an old Cottonwood Tree was a nice consolation!

Eaglewatch Lake was 90 percent ice free due to the recent warm spell.  The result, the Greater Scaup (8+) that spent last week on the nearby South Platte River were on the lake today.  Only one female remained on the South Platte River near the C470 Bridge.

The previously reported Barrow's Goldeneye on the S. Platte River was on South Platte Park Reservoir (west of Eaglewatch Lake).  Only a few dozen gulls were on the limited ice, South Platte Park Reservoir was about 90 percent ice-free.  The best was a Glaucous Gull, which stood on the Jefferson County side of the ice.

My trek continued north.  It took only 10 minutes to find the Golden-crowned Sparrow that has been behind the Red Rocks Park trading post for almost three months now.

My luck at the Denver West Office Complex was not quite as fortunate.  The Pine Warbler, which has been there for about two months, was not found by me.  Although, my search only lasted about 30 minutes as no flocks of birds were found when I circled buildings 3,4,5,6, and 7.

Closer to home, I walked the trail at Barr Lake (Adams County) and found an adult male Barn Owl in the nesting box near the banding station.  A Thayer's Gull was on the ice just north of the banding station.  Many of the gulls were northwest of the banding station, however quite close to the shore.  At least one Lesser Black-backed Gull was with many Ring-billed and some Herring Gulls.  I did not see the previously reported Glaucous Gull.  A Great Horned Owl was seen near the Pioneer Trail!

Close attention was paid to the wigeons hoping to find a possible Eurasian Wigeon that was reported last week.  The several dozen scoped were all American Wigeons.

My five owl birding day ended long the DIA Owl Loop.  A Long-eared Owl was found at an undisclosed location along the DIA Owl Loop.  Finally, shortly after sunset, a Short-eared Owl was observed flying along the creek/drainage along Gun Club Road, south of 96th avenue.

The area at the dead-end of Gun Club Road, from 114th avenue, has been quite good for Short-eared Owl sightings (this is the same field that is bordered by Quency Street to the east; 3.4 miles east of Tower Road and 96th avenue.

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