Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Aurora Reservoir to DIA Owl Loop

February 10, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Returning from visiting friends in Aurora, I stopped by Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  Winds were 8+ mph; temperatures reached the high 50s today.

About 300 gulls stood on the ice off the western fisherman's parking area.  Aurora Reservoir is unusual.  It is the last reservoir/lake to freeze (Cherry Creek Reservoir & Chatfield Reservoir froze a month earlier); however, it is the only one mostly ice covered (Cherry Creek & Chatfield are mostly open).

I watched the gulls for an hour before most took off north toward DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site).  Quickly I was able to pick out two Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  A large dark Gull stood out as being larger than the Herring Gulls standing next to it.  The dark breast and flanks and checkered back indicated a 1st winter Great Black-backed Gull. 

At least one Thayer's Gull stood among them (pink legs, rounded head).

No Short-eared Owls appeared at sunset around the DIA Owl Loop.  Raptors included: 5 Northern Harriers, 2 Red-tailed Hawks, 2 Ferruginous Hawks and a Prairie Falcon.

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