Sunday, November 29, 2015

Search for Snowy Owls In Arapahoe County

November 29, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I drove eastern Arapahoe County in search of Swans and Snowy Owls this afternoon.  I Snow Bunting would have been nice.

No Swans were at Aurora Reservoir.  A good collection of gulls included a Thayer's Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull (scuba beach) and Mew Gull (swim beach).  An adult Bald Eagle was eating in one of the tall cottonwoods below the dam.

No Snowy Owls found.  We did receive a report of a Snowy Owl that stood on the sprinkler system on the east side of the East Quincy Energy Park yesterday afternoon.  It was not around today.  This is not the same Snowy Owl reported by Tony Hake yesterday).  The Energy Park is on CR 30 (Quincy Avenue) about a mile east of CR 97.

A detour down the Range View Campus road found a Ferruginous Hawk and dark morph Red-tailed Hawk.  Two Lapland Longspurs were in a flock of 100-150 Horned Larks.

Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, American Kestrels were along E. Yale Avenue between CR 97 and Smith Road.

One or two Lapland Longspurs along CR 30, east of CR 139 accompanied another flock of Horned Larks.

The few times I stepped out of my car into the 21 degree temperature, it felt quite cold.

Search for Snowy Owls in Adams County

November 28,, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I drove around Adams County today in search of Snowy Owls and Snow Buntings.  Neither was found in about four hours.

Nothing uncommon came to the feeder area at the Barr Lake Visitor's Center.  A Lesser Black-backed Gull was observed flying off the boat ramp.

Highlights of the afternoon were a Short-eared Owl along 112th Avenue, east of Trussville and a Prairie Falcon on the wind sheer monitor along 120th avenue, just west of the DIA fenced runway.

A late Lincoln's Sparrow was found in brush along 138th Avenue while I was searching for Great-tailed Grackles.

Six Great-tailed Grackles were at the town of Barr (just south of the railroad tracks on Lake Street).

Adams to Arapahoe to Adams County

November 27, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I stopped by Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) and relocated the Common Loon and male Barrow's Goldeneye on Lake Ladora.  I could not find the Winter Wren that spent several days along the south side of Marys Lake.

Few birds other than Western Grebes were seen on Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe). 

While searching for shorebirds along the shore at the West shades picnic area, I observed a Snow Bunting walking along the sandy shore.  Eventually it flew up, circled overhead and then landed in the median of the road south of the picnic area.  When it flew up again, I left.

Thousands of White-cheeked Geese were on LakeCrest (Adams).  One Greater White-fronted Goose was among the horde!

No Short-eared Owls appeared along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams) tonight.

Search for Snowy Owls in Weld County

November 26, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I drove around southeastern Weld County and Adams County to see if the recent snowstorm had brought a Snowy Owl.  None was found.

Shortly after sunset, we watched a Short-eared Owl flying over the field west of Gun Club Road at 2.7 miles south of 112th avenue.

Colorado Eastern Plains Trip

November 23-25, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Bryan Ehlmann and I returned to the eastern plains for three days.  Weather was fair, partly sunny skies, temperatures in the 50s.  It did get cold at night.

November 23

We drove up I76 skipping some nice birding spots (Jackson Reservoir, Prewitt Reservoir).  Our first stop at sunrise was Sterling Reservoir.  We found a Barn Owl and relocated the White-winged Scoter reported the day before.

Much time was spent at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan County).  Highlights were a Winter Wren and Harris's Sparrow.  Resident birds spotted included 24+ Eastern Bluebirds, 2 Northern Cardinals, 7 Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a Field Sparrow and 2 Long-eared Owls.  Eastern Screech-Owls called at two locations.  A late Orange-crowned Warbler and Hermit Thrush were  somewhat a surprise.

Our birding day ended at Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick).  The previously reported Black Scoter was a Sedgwick County highlight!  Ten Greater White-fronted Geese, two Ross's Geese and 25+ Bonaparte's Gulls were also found.

No Short-eared Owls appeared after sunset.

November 24

Our birding day started at the town of Ovid (Sedgwick County) today.  Definite highlight was a Purple Finch in the southern Ovid Woods.  It eventually flew into town where we could not relocate it.

A Red-bellied Woodpecker and White-winged Dove were at the northern Ovid Woods.

A short walk over to the Ovid Sewage Ponds added a Harris's Sparrow and White-throated Sparrow to our day list!

A second highlight of the day occurred when we headed south to Holyoke.  A Rusty Blackbird walked along the canal along the south side of Holyoke Fishing Pond.

The other birding spots usually visited in Holyoke (Cemetery, Washington Golf Course pond, City Park) had few birds.

About 30 minutes before sunset, we drove Yuma County Road 45 in search of Greater Prairie-Chickens.  None was found today.  A Short-eared Owl was observed flying east of the intersection of CR 45 & CR PP.

November 25, 2015

Earlier in the morning, a walk around Sandsage Wildlife Area (Yuma) found a Harris's Sparrow and Eastern Screech-Owl.

Another Harris's Sparrow and Northern Cardinal were encountered at Wray Fishing Unit.

Before heading back to Denver, Bryan and I spent the morning birding Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area (Yuma).

About an hour before sunrise, an Eastern Screech-Owl called north of Hale Ponds.  Two hours earlier, we found an Eastern Screech-Owl along the Republican River at 600 yards east of Highway 385.

A Northern Cardinal and two Long-eared Owls were found around Foster's Grove Campgrounds.  A Red-bellied Woodpecker was found along the gated road on the south side of the old reservoir.  Another Long-eared Owl was also in the area!

We worked our way back toward Kansas and found another Red-bellied Woodpecker below the Bonny Reservoir dam (near Hale).  Four Eastern Bluebirds were also here (sometimes referred to Pipit Hill area).

An attempt to see the Eastern Screech-Owl that called north of Hale Ponds early in the morning was not successful.  Two Red-bellied Woodpeckers were in the general area.

Two highlights of the day were the result.  A red form of Fox Sparrow popped up from the brush near the only ranch house south of CR 4 (just southwest of Hale Ponds)! 

A Northern Saw-whet Owl was found at an undisclosed location.  I hope that it was stay around for our Christmas Count!

We stopped at Flagler Reservoir (Kit Carson) on the drive home.  No owls were found this evening.

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rocky Mountain Arsenal to Cherry Creek Reservoir to DIA Owl Loop

November 22, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I motored over to Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams County) this afternoon to search for the three Tundra Swans reported yesterday.  Unfortunately, I never found any Swans.  The temperature never quite reached 60 degrees today; but it did come close.  Winds were calm to 5 mph; it was a pleasant day to bird.

While searching for the previously reported male Barrow's Goldeneye, which was on Lake Ladora, I also spotted a Common Loon.  The many geese on Lower Derby Lake included three Snow Geese.

Looking for a place to relax and watch the sunset, Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) was chosen.  Regrettably, I forgot that weekends are not great for relaxing here.  Dozens of people including three couples with a couple of dogs each walked the swim beach. 

As a result, the gulls stayed out on the water, quite far from the swim beach.  I was again not able to find the Mew Gull reported by Glenn Walbek yesterday.  A Thayer's Gull was picked out of the hundreds of gulls between the dam tower and beach. 

Scoping the lake from the east shades picnic area; I did find the Red-throated Loon in the most eastern quadrant of the lake and a Common Loon, which stayed in the western half.  At least a dozen Bonaparte's Gulls flew around; no Little Gulls appeared to be among them.

Frustrated with all the dog walkers, I drove the DIA Owl Loop north of the airport.  No Short-eared Owls appeared tonight.  Raptors included two Ferruginous Hawks, two Red-tailed Hawks, two American Kestrels and a Rough-legged Hawk.  No unusual birds were found in the two large flocks (100+) of Horned Larks encountered.

Araphoe County Reservoirs to the Adams County DIA Owl Loop

November 21, 2015

Richard Stevens:

What a beautiful fall/winter day after receiving 8 inches of snow last night.  Temperatures reached 44 degrees (high 30s by noon); winds hovered around 6 mph.  Partly sunny skies and little wind made for a pleasant birding day.

I entered Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County) from the south side and hiked down to miles 1.5 to 3.5.  Most of the gulls were on the shore at Lone Tree Cove (mile 3.0).  Lately thousands have been at Senac Cove (mile 2.0); only a few hundred were there today.

Uncommon gulls included a Mew Gull first reported by David Dowell on 11/14/2015.  Also, found were the Lesser Black-backed Gull, which has been around since at least 11/12/2015.  I scoped 3-4 thousand gulls, could not find the Thayer's Gull of 11/9 & 11/19/2015.

The Common Loon (Michaels 10/15) was swimming around near mile 4.0.  A Bald Eagle perched on the tall cottonwoods below the dam.

Next, I visited Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).

Oops, yesterday during the snowstorm I saw a loon rather close to the handicapped fishing dock.  I was lazy, did not scope the bird and thought it was the Pacific Loon that had been around 10/25 to 11/19.  Fortunately, I took photos and looked at them this morning.  The Red-throated Loon reported today by Glenn Walbek was on the lake yesterday afternoon!

I scoped the gulls at the swim beach; however, did not relocate the Mew Gull reported this morning by Glenn Walbek.  Five Bonaparte's Gulls walked around the swim beach along with Ring-billed, California and Herring Gulls.

When leaving the park, I noticed from a distance a rather large "Hawk" at the northern end of the dam road.  Closer views showed it to be a crow.  Even closer views found it to be a large Common Raven (calling from time to time).  Common Ravens are rather uncommon at Cherry Creek Reservoir and Arapahoe County.  They have been found in the past.

I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams County) about an hour before sunset.  While parked along Gun Club Road at 1.2 miles south of 112th avenue, I observed a Short-eared Owl flying about 50 yards west of the road!  It was a nice ending to a superb birding day!

Friday, November 20, 2015

Unsuccessful Search for "Myiarchus flycatcher" and Tundra Swans

November 20, 2015

Richard Stevens:

After not finding the mysterious Chatfield Botanic Gardens flycatcher, I scoped several reservoirs on the way home.  Perhaps the missing Boulder County Tundra Swans had stopped?

The morning started with temperatures in the low 40s; winds were 3 mph from 6:00 am to 11:00 am.  Shortly after 11:00 am, anemometer readings jumped to 20 mph with gusts to 39 mph.  Wow!

My approach for a search of the "Myiarchus flycatcher" at the Botanic Gardens was to scope the riparian area from sunrise (6:50 am) to 9:00 am when the Gardens opened.  Then I walked the area quickly in the next two hours.  Before setting out, I set up a "feeding station" of mealy worms and crickets.

The flycatcher did not appear.  The only guests at my feeding station were two Blue Jays.  It was worth a try.  The mini-storm front shut down my search.

I drove across Wadsworth to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas) hoping the flycatcher had made the short trip to the east.  It was not found around the balloon launch area, the swim beach or the old nature center.

A brief scope of the lake from above the dam found two Red-necked Grebes and a Common Loon.  Wind gusts produced some high waves limiting waterfowl identification a bunch.

Winds at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) were 13 mph, gusts to 23 mph; temperatures hovered around 35 degrees.

The Pacific Loon was slowly cruising along near the eastern shades area, north side of the lake.  Several Bonaparte's Gulls fought the high winds and drove for food.  The Barrow's Goldeneye was off the Lake Loop.  Hundreds of Western Grebes, some Common Mergansers and Eared Grebes bobbed up and down below the dam.

Aurora Reservoir was my final shot/hope to find the "missing" Tundra Swans.  None was found.  A Common Loon swam below the dam.  Most of the gulls stood on the shoreline at mile 2.5.  Steadying my scope was difficult, but there was no desire to walk that distance in the high winds.  A Lesser Black-backed Gull was the only Gull that could be definitely identified.

I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams) around sunset.  Snow fell lightly with winds clocked at 14 mph.  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

Eastern Arapahoe County Today

November 19, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures hovered around the middle 40s most of the day.  Winds were 5-9 mph also most of the day.

I started out toward the Chatfield Botanic Gardens with a stop at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  Two Common Loons swam around at the 3.0-mile cove. 

I walked down from the south side and scoped the shoreline at 2.5-mile marker.  The Lesser Black-backed Gull was easy to pick out of the three+ thousand gulls there.  A Thayer's Gull was a little more difficult.  If the Mew Gull reported a few days earlier was still there, I could not find it.

Receiving a text message that more than half a dozen birders could not find the "Myiarchus flycatcher" at the Botanic Gardens (Jefferson), I decided to drive the eastern Arapahoe County Roads and skip a drive through traffic to Chatfield Reservoir.

The day was not exciting; however, a drive in the country with little traffic is much preferred to the horrific traffic in Denver now.

A Northern Shrike was found east of CR 97.  I stopped at Box Elder Creek & CR 30, could not entice the resident Eastern Screech-Owl to call.

A couple of Lapland Longspurs were found around the small Pond along Arapahoe County Road 30 (west of Manila Road).

Only Blue Jays greeted me at Comanche Creek & CR 30.  A couple of Gadwalls and Killdeer were at Little Comanche Creek & CR 30.

A pair of Great Horned Owls was found at Bijou Creek & CR 30.  A flock of 200+ Horned Larks at Rattlesnake Creek and CR 38 was accompanied by two or three Lapland Longspurs.  I would have sworn a McCown's Longspur was with them; however, without complete certainty, I did not record it.

I took CR 38 east to Deer Trail, then backtracked along I70 to Strasburg.  Days are too short; daylight is a valuable commodity this time of year.  My birding day ended driving roads north of Strasburg in search of Owls (Short-eared mainly); without success.

El Paso to Douglas to Arapahoe Counties

November 18, 2015

Richard Stevens:

If only, if only Terry and I had heard about the Inca Dove in Colorado Springs, Bryan and I would not have made the trip today.

Fortunately, another birder who did not give his name was looking at the Inca Dove when we arrived.  We were grateful to miss spending hours searching for the dove!

We returned to Denver by way of Highway 83.  A detour and 30 minute search did not turn up the American Three-toed Woodpecker in Black Forest Regional Park (El Paso).

We drove the western side of Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas).  Nothing uncommon appeared.  We did see a flock of four Pine Grosbeaks.

A stop at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) found only a Barrow's Goldeneye and six Bonaparte's Gulls.  No loons were found.  They did "show up" the following day leaving us wondering where they were this day.

Trip Into the Mountains of Park, Chaffee & Gunnison Counties

November 14-17, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I made a short trip to Park, Chaffee and Gunnison Counties.  We encountered a variety of weather as is expected this time of year.  High wind speeds, blowing snow at times while at other times it was calm and sunny.  That is Colorado!

November 14
Terry Michaels and I headed down Highway 285 into Park County.  We stopped at various locations where Northern Pygmy-Owls have been reported in the last month.  Unfortunately, the only uncommon bird found was an American Three-toed Woodpecker at the Kenosha Pass Campgrounds (Park).

Detours to Spinney Mountain Reservoir & Eleven Mile Reservoir were not exciting.  No scoters were found.  A couple Common Loons (one each at both reservoirs) was the highlight.

A few Pinyon Jays were found around the Ruby Mountain parking lot (Chaffee County).

After dark, we set up two of our "owl listening stations" along County Road 300, and then drove north to the Buena Vista Overlook and the BLM Land north of there.  Eventually we found two Northern Saw-whet Owls north of the overlook.

The "owl listening stations" were ineffective.  Northern Saw-whet Owls are usually quiet during migration.  We would have been surprised it one had called.

November 15

Our birding day started late after staying up most of last night owling.  We drove around Buena Vista in search of Lewis's Woodpeckers and such.  Two Lewis's Woodpeckers were found along North Pleasant Street. 

The ice pond was a bust and we turned south.  Eight Pinyon Jays were observed flying around the west side of Highway 285 at approximately 3.0 miles south of Hwy 285 & Hwy 24.

At Hwy 285 & Hwy 50, we headed west to Monarch Pass.  We walked around the eastern side of the summit and found an American Three-toed Woodpecker both on the west and east sides of Hwy 50.  A flock of Rosy Finches (seventeen Gray crowned & four Brown capped) flew around the rest area.

Another flock of five Gray-crowned Rosy Finches flew around the Monarch Valley Ski Resort (Gunnison County).  Somewhere in this area, there probably are feeders that attract them all winter; we could not find it.

Late in the afternoon, we drove Gunnison County Road 804 (road to the Waunita Hot Springs Leks).  Regrettably, no Gunnison Sage-Grouse were found.

 November 16

Terry and I got up an hour before sunrise and drove Gunnison County Road 38.  Unfortunately, no Gunnison Sage-Grouse could be found.

Then we drove up Highway 135 to CR 730 to CR 7.  A snowshoe trip of less than 0.75 miles found two Gunnison Sage-Grouse at the Miller Ranch Wildlife Area.  This is a fantastic snowshoe trip for those birders with energy to burn.  The quietness of no traffic, only the wind blowing through the trees is mesmerizing.

Later we went owling up Highway 135 (along Gunnison CR 742 north of Almont).  Stops at four Campgrounds/picnic areas did not find any owls this night.

November 17

Early in the morning, Terry & I searched unsuccessfully for Rosy Finches in Crested Butte (Gunnison County).  Only a couple flew overhead, not landing anywhere.

The "Rosy Finch spot" north of Gunnison also did not provide looks at Rosy Finches today.

Forecasted approaching snowstorms made our decision to return to Denver an easy one. 

A quick detour to Spinney Mountain Reservoir & Eleven Mile Reservoir did not add new birds to our trip list.

We missed finding the resident American Three-toed Woodpeckers and Northern Pygmy-Owls up Michigan Creek Road.

The Kenosha Pass American Three-toed Woodpecker was not found again today.

We tried to get up Guanella Pass road from the Grant side.  Road conditions were too slippery and snow started to fall.  High winds, cold temps and blowing snow canceled our owling for the night.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Aurora & Cherry Creek Reservoirs

November 13, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I reversed the direction of my chores today (opposite of yesterday) and passed through Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) first.  It was another beautiful day.  Anemometer readings were 8 mph; the temperature reached the high 50s.

I was able to relocate the Red-necked Grebe and the Common Loon at Aurora Reservoir.  Gulls were scattered over the lake.  A quick scoping found no large white gulls or black backed gulls.  No scoters were found today either.

At Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe), I scoped the lake from the three sides of the Lake Loop.  Two Common Loons were in the extreme southeastern corner.  The Pacific Loon was swimming around off the swim beach.  I did not search for Bonaparte's Gulls; however a Lesser Black-backed Gull was swimming near the southwest marina.

Hundreds of Western Grebes continue, a few Eared Grebes & Pied-billed Grebe.  I did not find any scoters or Red-necked Grebes. 

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Birding Arapahoe County Reservoirs and Some Owling

November 12, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Around noon today, I made a brief stop at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  I found nothing from the Mountain Loop or Lake Loop, and then stopped at the northeast boat ramp.

From the boat ramp, I saw the Pacific Loon, one Common Loon and had a flyby Bonaparte's Gull.  No scoters were observed.

Next, I drove out to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) and made the long slow 1.2 mile walk down to mile 2.5.  At least four thousand gulls stood on the shore.  No big white gulls, one black backed Gull too small for a Great Black-backed Gull (it was later identified as a Lesser Black-backed Gull).

The gulls flew when a person in a canoe decided to dock his boat on the point.  The flight of the gulls was quite impressive, but ended my Gull search.

The highlight of the worthwhile hike was a Red-necked Grebe.  The bird swam next to a Western Grebe and an Eared Grebe; that offered a great comparison of size of all three.

A Surf Scoter swam around in the cove at mile 3.0.   I scoped the lake for an hour looking for additional scoters, without luck.  Thought maybe if there were two additional Surf Scoters, they may have been the three found at Cherry Creek Reservoir on Tuesday.  A Common Loon was below the northwestern corner below the dam.

At sunset, I drove to Coal Creek to do some owling.  I picked this particular area because I have seen Barn Owls flying around under the streetlights at the ranch's buildings.  The area also appears good for Short-eared Owls hunting at the back of DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site), the surrounding hills or along Coal Creek. 

On Monday, I found an Eastern Screech-Owl along Coal Creek.  Tonight another Eastern Screech-Owl responded to my recordings.  This owl was 600+ yards farther north than Monday's owl.

No Short-eared or Barn Owls tonight, perhaps one will show up on my next visit?

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Snowy Day at Cherry Creek Reservoir

November 11, 2015

Richard Stevens:

While out doing chores, I made time for a drive through Cherry Creek State Park (Arapahoe).  I scoped the reservoir from the Lake Loop for approximately an hour.  Then I stopped at the Mountain Loop, southwest marina, northeastern boat ramp and the parking area at the dam tower.

All the uncommon birds encountered yesterday looked to have vanished.  No loons or scoters were observed.  A few Bonaparte's Gulls flew around in the 12 mph winds, gusts to 18 mph.

Last night's snowstorm definitely changed the mix of birds at the reservoir.

No Short-eared Owls appeared as I passed through the DIA Owl Loop on the way home.

Fantastic Fall Day at Cherry Creek Reservoir

November 10, 2015

Richard Stevens:

On perhaps one last nice day before winter comes to Colorado, I drove over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) to see if the Black Scoters first found Saturday were still around.  The Black Scoters were never reported by anyone today.

I scoped the reservoir from the Lake Loop for about two hours.  The Pacific Loon was cruising in the northeastern section.  Half a dozen Bonaparte's Gulls flew overhead during my scoter/loon search.  Somehow, the Common Loons were missed.

Finally, a stop at the Mountain Loop found three scoters.  Were the two Black Scoters joined by a third?  All three kept their heads in their backs for 35 minutes.  Finally, a noisy helicopter flew over and the scoters briefly looked up to the sky.  All three scoters were Surf Scoters!

After a late lunch, I returned to Cherry Creek Reservoir looking for a photo opportunity and hoping the scoters were closer to shore.  By now, the scoters were no longer off the Mountain Loop. 

I again scoped the reservoir from the Lake Loop.  The three Surf Scoters had traveled to the extreme southeastern corner of the lake.  Just north of the trio, three Common Loons swam and dove for food.  Then I noticed the silvery back of the head of a Pacific Loon, just north of the Common Loons!

Regrettably, the birds were farther away than before; there were no photography opportunities.

After dark, I returned to Coal Creek for some owling.  The Eastern Screech-Owl did not respond tonight.  However, the two Great Horned Owls called as they did last night.

My fantastic birding day finally ended.  Winds were 8 mph to calm most of the day; temperatures reached the low 60s.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Birding Around Arapahoe County

November 9, 2015

Richard Stevens:

I returned to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County) in the early afternoon.  Winds were 6 mph; temperature was 52 degrees. 

The waves made it difficult to pick out the waterfowl on the lake.  It appeared that bird numbers were down quite a bit from yesterday.

I scoped the reservoir at least three times.  The Pacific Loon swam in the extreme southeast corner.  He would dive for a minute at a time, surfacing for only a few seconds and disappearing again.

I would not find yesterday's Black Scoters.  Rumors that at least one had been seen around 8:00 am this morning were not confirmed by the couple of birders out with scopes.

Hundreds of American White Pelicans stood on the poles outlining the southwest marina.  A few Bonaparte's Gulls flew around the reservoir and drove often for the many shad in the lake.

After lunch, I headed to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  I stopped and scoped Quincy Reservoir along the way.  The reservoir is now closed until May 2016; a scope is required.  Nothing uncommon was found.

Winds were 8 mph at Aurora Reservoir.  I scoped the lake several times from the swim beach parking area and later from above the scuba beach parking area.  No scoters were found.

My search for scoters was so focused that I did not notice that the whole 45 minutes at the swim beach I see that an adult Red-tailed Hawk stood on a "no parking sign" less than 20 feet from me.  My presence did not seem to disturb him in the least.

A single Common Loon swam below the northwest corner.  If 1500 gulls were at the reservoir last week, the numbers have quadrupled today.  Thousands of gulls stood on the shore at mile 2.5, another thousand at mile 2.0.  Besides the hundreds swimming on the lake, another thousand plus stood at the scuba beach.

I was not able to hike to miles 2.5 & 2.0.  From the far distance at the swim beach, I could only see that no Black backed Gulls or large white gulls were in the mix.

No black backed or large white gulls were at the scuba beach.  Because I was closer to the gulls here, I did pick out a pink legged Gull, which turned out to be a Thayer's Gull.  At least one Bonaparte's Gull flew by as it circled the reservoir.

Hundreds of gulls flew in waves back and forth to DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site) which is perhaps just a mile north of the reservoir.

A drive along the Jewell-East Yale Loop (Arapahoe) found only one American Kestrel, no other birds.

About 30 minutes before sunset, I stopped and walked a section of Coal Creek.  I had planned to search for Screech Owls several times this summer, but never found the time.  The wind had died down by now.  It was calm under a colorful sunset.

I walked about 2 miles, stopped and played an Eastern Screech-Owl recording about every 0.1 mile.  At one stop, an Eastern Screech-Owl responded (location better left undisclosed).

Two Great Horned Owls were also heard and seen calling from one of the old cottonwoods lining the Creek.  Twice last summer Red-headed Woodpeckers were also found in the area (only once by me).  Only Northern Flickers were found today.

As the sun set (beautiful sky tonight), I scoped the horizon for additional owls (Short-eared or perhaps Barn).  A rancher drove by and asked what I was looking to find.  I told him owls.  He invited me back to his ranch and my birding day ended with a peek at a Barn Owl!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Cherry Creek Reservoir

November 8, 2015

My two posts to the "cobirders" listerve today.  What a beautiful fall day.  No/little wind and temperatures in the high 50s!

"Hello cobirders;

Rebecca Kosten and I drove to Cherry Creek reservoir to look at the scoters found by Chris Rukik.

The scoters were in the center of the lake, of course; a scope is required.

One is an adult female Black Scoter; the other is a first year male Black Scoter.

Also there were 14+ Bonaparte's Gulls and three Common Loons and one Pacific Loon.

Contined Good Birding

Hello cobirders;

After leaving Cherry Creek Reservoir, Rebecca and I stopped at Barr Lake (Adams County).  Three Long-billed Doeitchers and two Greater White-fronted Geese were off the Niedrach Boardwalk overlook.  A Common Loon and Bonaparte's Gull were seen from the boat ramp.  We did not find a Lesser Black-backed Gull.

Three Red-tailed Hawks and two Ferruginous Hawks

Just after sunset, we saw a Short-eared Owl flying west of Gun Club Road at 1.6 mles south of 112th aveneue.

Continued Good Birding! "

Brief Drive Through Cherry Creek State Park

November 7, 2015

Richard Stevens:

Back on the birding trail, Rebecca and I drove through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) in the afternoon.  At least eight Bonaparte's Gulls flew around below the dam.

We only scoped the lake for 30 minutes.  No loons or Red-necked Grebes found among hundreds of Western Grebes.

Winds were less than 5 mph; temperature hovered around 50 degrees.