Sunday, November 22, 2015

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!

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