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!

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