Monday, October 24, 2016

Venturing Into Park County

October 22-23, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I enjoyed a tremendously successful trip into Park County.  Winds varied from mild 3 mph to quite gusty 20 mph.  Temperatures were in the low 60s with lows down to 30.

October 22

About an hour before sunrise, I walked around Reynolds Park (Jefferson County).  A Northern Pygmy-Owl briefly gave a contact call along the Songbird Trail though it was never observed.  I did not take the time to hike up the trails today.

I was excited to get to the Park County Reservoirs.  The front edge of migration was expected up there and proved to be true.  Although a brief stop at Kenosha Pass (Park), did find an American Three-toed Woodpecker at the northern end of the Campgrounds.

Eleven Mile Reservoir beat out Spinney Mountain Reservoir as the best location this trip.  A rare Red Phalarope was the highlight of many this trip.  Other interesting sightings included a Black Scoter, Common Loon and Bonaparte's Gull!

Nearby Spinney Mountain Reservoir was just as interesting.  It added two Surf Scoters, two Black Scoters, a Common Loon and four Brown-capped Rosy Finches to my trip list!  The Rosy Finches did not land; however, they circled overhead for over an hour.

Four previously "busy" owl locations were surveyed after sunset.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl was found along Michigan Creek Road (near the old/traditional) American Three-toed Woodpecker spot, which is where I spent the night.

October 23

I hiked around the Michigan Creek Three-toed Woodpecker spot and heard the distinctive drumming of a male.  With a little patience, I was able to obtain good looks at the bird.

The second day of my trip ended with a great stop at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  I scoped the lake from below the dam and then the Lake Loop.  Western Grebes were the majority birds east of the dam.

The eastern end of the lake (from Lake Loop) proved quite interesting.  Two Pacific Loons were actively diving off the northeastern boat ramp.  While trying to digiscope them a Red-necked Grebe came into the picture.

Two Surf Scoters swam around the southeastern corner.  A dozen Ruddy Ducks and dozens of American Coots made it difficult to keep track of them.

From the northwestern end of the Lake Loop, I was able to find a Lesser Black-backed Gull and two Bonaparte's Gulls among hundreds of Ring-billed and dozens of California Gulls.  At least one Herring Gull was also out there.

It was not possible to count all the birds on the lake in the two hours of light allotted before the setting sun.

It was a fantastic couple of days!

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