Sunday, May 10, 2015

Barr Lake and Cherry Creek Reservoir

May 10, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I returned to Barr Lake (Adams County) today after some of last night's snowstorm melted.  It was disappointing after yesterday's great birding day.  No new sightings were found.

The highlights were relocating the Northern Waterthrush hidden in the bushes south of the Niedrach Trail and the Cassin's Vireo, which was now at mile 8.4, north of yesterday's location at the banding station.

Spotted Towhees numbered eight, Green-tailed Towhees four, Common Yellowthroat two, Bullock's Orioles five, Warbling Vireo one, Western Kingbirds many.

Misses: I could not relocate the Hooded Warbler and Black-throated Gray Warbler from yesterday.  I forgot to mention yesterday, that while walking the main trail I Mississippi Kite flew over.  One was reported yesterday morning at Cherry Creek State Park; no way to know if this was the same bird late in the afternoon (the two sightings were 20 miles apart).

On the way to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe), I observed three Burrowing Owls along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams).

The main road at Cherry Creek Reservoir was flooded at Lakeview Drive and Cherry Creek.  I first entered from the western entrance and drove the road to the shooting range; without seeing the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher.  Many of yesterday's sparrows, kingbirds and shrikes were now along the shooting range road.  A male Ring-necked Pheasant walked along the western fenceline.

I stopped at the trailhead to the Bellevue wetlands and walked over to see if any shorebirds were there.  Water level was too high for any shore; however, I did see the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher southeast of the pond.

Next, I left the park and reentered from the eastern/northern entrance, then drove to the Smoky Hill Group Picnic Area.  Finding few birds, mostly Chipping and White-crowned Sparrows there, I decided to walk over to the pond northwest of the swim beach.  Green Herons once nested here.

No Green Herons were around the pond filled high to the brim from snowmelt.  Hundreds of birds flew around the cottonwoods, willows and gooseberry bushes.

Among these birds were:

Sixteen Black-capped Chickadees, thirty seven Yellow-rumped Warblers, two Orange-crowned Warblers, twenty Western Kingbirds, two Green-tailed Towhees and White-crowned & Song Sparrows.

Highlights were a Palm Warbler (perhaps the same one that Loch Kilpatrick had found early in the day at the Group Picnic Area).  A Red-eyed Vireo fluttered about on the edge of the Yellow-rumped Warbler flock.  I would have missed a Blackpoll Warbler if not for trying to count the Black-capped Chickadees.

Empidonax Flycatchers were represented by a Cordilleran Flycatcher (with its tear drop eye ring) and a Dusky Flycatcher (pumping its tail downward).  Both called twice and allowed comparisons and positive identification!

On the way back to my car at the group picnic area, I ran into nine Say's Phoebes, another half dozen Western Kingbirds, one Cassin's Kingbird and three Loggerhead Shrikes!

No shorebirds could be found on the limited exposed shore (too much water).  Two Bonaparte's Gulls, an adult Bald Eagle and an Osprey flew by during my visit.

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