Sunday, May 15, 2016

Rocky Mountain Arsenal, Cherry Creek Reservoir and First Creek Trail

May 14, 2016

Richard Stevens:

It was colder today with temperatures in the middle 50s.  Winds were 6-11 mph.  After yesterdays warm weather, it felt cold all day.

Rebecca Kosten and I returned to Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  One of the Eastern Phoebes was along the Potomac canal, north of 64th Avenue.  Nothing uncommon was found as we hiked to the Rod & Gun Club bird blind.

Later we drove to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  A walk along the stream up Butterfly Hill found few birds.  Twenty three Brewer's Sparrows were the highlight.

Then we scoped the Cottonwood Wetlands (from the model airplane hill).  A Bobolink was at the north side of the pond.  Unfortunately, the bird would not let us get closer than 40 yards or so before it flew to the south side of the pond.  We left without a photo.

Our final stop was the new First Creek Trail (off Buckley, north of 56th avenue).  I had hiked along the south side of First Creek for years, bushwhacking through the weeds.  Although some foliage was destroyed during the construction on the path, many birds foraged along the Creek today.

We walked from the parking area toward Pena Blvd, then north to the Trail.  Three Western Kingbirds and a Cassin's Kingbird hunted around the prairie dog mounds.

An Olive-sided Flycatcher was run into around the tall cottonwoods north of the open field.  A Gray Catbird flew from the south side of the trail to First Creek side.

We eventually found (by area):
Pond north of the horse corrals: Lesser Yellowlegs, two Spotted Sandpipers

Riparian area north of the trail and east of the Light Rail Bridge: two Hermit Thrushes, three Western Wood-pewees, a Black-and-white Warbler (that eventually flew to the cottonwoods about 50 yards north of the trail)

While under the Light Rail Bridge, we scoped the marshy area south of the trail:
Veery, Common Yellowthroat, 2 Mourning Doves

Two Say's Phoebes are building a nest under one of the Bridges.  During my trip last week, I thought the bridges offered nesting spots for perhaps a Barn Owl, Short-eared Owl, swallows or phoebes.

Riparian area between the Light Rail Bridge and Pena Blvd Bridge: seven Swainson's Thrushes, MacGillivray's Warbler.

Riparian area west of Pena Blvd Bridge and Trailhead at Buckley Road; North of trail: Two Western Wood-pewees, male Western Tanager. 

House Wrens were plentiful.  Great Blue Heron hunted at the pond.

We plan to return many times in the next couple of weeks.  We are hoping migrating warblers or vireos will "discover" the cattails, creek and riparian area!

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