Friday, May 15, 2015

Aurora Sports Park and Rocky Mountain Arsenal

May 15, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I decided to hike a loop through Aurora Sports Park this morning.  The park has erratic hours, beware when entering the park.  The supervisor of the park told me that even if the entrance gate is close, I could drive in through the exit gate.

This gate is locked at 6:00 pm each evening.  Several times in the past, I birded the park this way.  Many people park outside the gate and walk in.  This would only add 0.3 miles to a hike and probably is safer.

A few days ago, I was locked in the Cherry Creek Reservoir Shooting Range when the manager decided to close early (4:00 pm instead of the listed 7:00 pm).  With this in mind, I parked outside the gates of Aurora Sports Park this morning.

I hiked the eastern side of the riparian area along Sand Creek 1.3 miles to the end of the park, and then returned along the western side of Sand Creek through the woods.  Bring waterproof boots, it was quite wet.

The woods were quite birdy today; although most were common birds, many American Robins, House Wrens and Red-winged Blackbirds.  Half a dozen House Wrens were scattered in the bushes along the Creek.

Several flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers were scattered along the trek.  A female Tennessee Warbler and an Orange-crowned Warbler were among one flock.  A Cassin's Vireo was loosely associated with a second flock (300 yards south of the bend in Sand Creek (flows north then turns west).

The only thrush along the route turned out to be a Hermit.  A Yellow-breasted Chat was near the western end of the park.

After receiving a text message about a Townsend's Warbler in downtown Denver (18th & Grant), I drove down and walked around the small greenway plaza.  Unfortunately, the Townsend's Warbler was not found.

On the way home, I stopped at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County).  Nothing uncommon was on Lake Ladora; however, a Plumbeous Vireo fluttered about the riparian area at the southwest corner.

My plan to hike the 4 mile round trip to the Rod and Gun Club Pond was canceled when Rocky Mountain Arsenal was hit with a downpour of rain and quarter sized hail.  That ended my birding day.

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