Sunday, November 13, 2016

Douglas to Arapahoe County

November 13, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I had to return a book to the Parker library today so headed down that way to do some owling and birding.  Temperatures only reached the low 60s; winds were 4-8 mph throughout the day.

A search for Northern Saw-whet Owls south of Franktown between 2:00 and 6:00 am did not turn up any this morning.  I was able to relocate a Northern Mockingbird that had been reported in the neighborhood since October 18!

To enjoy the superb fall day I hiked the Creek Bottom Trail from the Lucas Homestead to the Dam Ruins, then took Castlewood Canyon Road back to the northern entrance.

Nothing uncommon was found.  While Ovenbirds have not been reported after September, Winter Wrens have been encountered into November.  I also checked for signs of Northern Saw-whet Owls, which are usually loyal to their roosting sites (look for owl pellets and scat).

Next, I hiked a mile up near Tomichi Gulch (east side of Hwy 83, east of the State Park).  An Eastern Towhee was found in this gulch on 11/20/2010 through 12/6/2010.  Three species of nuthatches and a couple of Townsend's Solitaires were the highlights here.

I passed through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) on the way home.  I was quite excited to find an adult male Black Scoter (with beautiful black and yellow bill) and a non-adult male Surf Scoter in the southeast corner of the lake.

Unfortunately, I did learn later that others had found the birds earlier in the day.  Still the sightings were enjoyed.  Four Bonaparte's Gulls were among many Ring-billed, California and a few Herring Gulls.

It has been a good month for scoters in Arapahoe County.  Between Aurora Reservoir and Cherry Creek Reservoir, I have seen at a minimum two Black Scoters, eight Surf Scoters and five White-winged Scoters!  If the scoters have been continuing on with their migration after a couple of days, those numbers go way up?

Thirty minutes before sunset, I parked at a high point along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver).  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.  Raptors included four Red-tailed Hawks, two Ferruginous Hawks, a male American Kestrel and one Rough-legged Hawk.

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