Monday, April 11, 2016

Search for Missing Trumpeter Swans & Brown Pelican

April 8, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Before civil twilight, I walked the road along the north side of Reynolds Park (Jefferson).  Eventually I heard (only) two Northern Pygmy-Owls along the Songbird Trail.

After receiving a text message that Glenn Walbek had seen two Trumpeter Swans at Columbine Open Space (Douglas) I headed over that way.

At the time I did not know that, the Trumpeter Swans were seen flying over the Park.  Having never been to the park, I walked the mile plus undulating trail both north and south of the parking area.  I thought there had to be a lake somewhere in the park for the Swans to land.

The only body of water found was a small swallow beaver pond north of the entrance road.  East Plum Creek was thickly lined with willows and cattails and offered little open space.

At least I was able to explore a new birding location for me.  The southern trail skirts possible Ovenbird breeding habitat.  Several snags may offer habitat for American Three-toed Woodpeckers, Pinyon Jays or Lewis's Woodpecker.  Although none was encountered today.

The northern trail goes along East Plum Creek lined with willows and cattails.  I plan to return next month when migration is in full swing.

Afterwards I wandered by as many lakes and reservoirs as possible on my way home.  Target birds were the missing Trumpeter Swans, the missing Lake Beckwith Brown Pelican, Greater Scaup and uncommon gulls.

I detoured south to Larkspur and Lower Gulch Road to head east and north toward Highway 83.   Two Lewis's Woodpeckers were on a telephone pole 5.0 miles southwest of Lake Gulch Road.

I took Lake Gulch Road through Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas) to Hwy 86.  All three Bluebirds were encountered along Lake Gulch Road (north of the Winkler Ranch).  Only one Eastern Bluebird was in the mix.

Unfortunately, the Winkler Ranch Bobolink field is cut short and they are running cattle on it.  I do hope that the Bobolink will return and nest nearby.

At the first yard north of Castlewood Canyon State Park (west side road), 32 Wild Turkeys wandered.  Several Toms were displaying for the attention of many females.

No uncommon birds were on McLain Gravel Pit (south of hwy 86) or Walker Gravel Pit (north of hwy 86).  Bar CCC Pond and McCabe Meadows
Pond also had no uncommon birds.  Lesser Scaup were the majority bird on all the above today.

I took the "back way" to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) and scoped the lake.  No Swans or Brown Pelican.  An adult Lesser Black-backed Gull continued among the many Ring-billed and California Gulls.

Quincy Reservoir (Arapahoe) hosted a Brown Pelican on September 6, 1999; none was there today.

No uncommon birds were found on Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Gulls numbered less than two dozen.  Plenty of American White Pelicans swam around with a scattering of Western Grebes and American Coots.

No Short-eared Owls appeared over the Lake View Road cattails at dusk.

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