Thursday, November 3, 2016

Great Afternoon in Arapahoe County

November 3, 2016

Richard Stevens:

After owling all night in Fremont County I returned to Denver by way of Big Johnson Reservoir (El Paso). 

A brief stop found a loon too far away to ID.  It was not a Common Loon, possibly the Red-throated or Pacific Loon reported on Monday, 11/1.  I did found one of the two Red-necked Grebes reported by Jacob Washburn & Ray Simmons on Monday.

The rest of my afternoon was spent in Arapahoe County....

It was another fantastic fall day in Colorado.  I hiked the mile down from the southeastern gate at Aurora Reservoir to the bench halfway between the Senac Cove (mile 2.0) and Lone Tree Cove (mile 3.0).

Two White-winged Scoters were immediately found at the mouth of Senac Cove.  Then a third scoter popped out of the water.  I thought that to be the Surf Scoter that I saw on Monday 10/31.

The scoter stretched its wings; it was a third White-winged Scoter.  I was positive that I saw a Surf Scoter on Monday.  Now I had three White-winged Scoters; then a fourth scoter surfaced.  It was yet another White-winged Scoter!

At one point, all four White-winged Scoters were in my scope at the same time.  The revealing was not over.  Another scoter surfaced.  I watched it long enough for it to stretch its wings.  It was a Surf Scoter!

However, the action was not over.  A sixth scoter surfaced.  This one was also a Surf Scoter.  That is right, four White-winged Scoters and two Surf Scoters.  Again all six were seen in my scope at the same time.

After enjoying them diving and surfacing for a while, I turned my scope north toward the lake.  The Common Loon was swimming from Lone Tree Cove toward Senac Cove!

When I scoped the hundreds of gulls around the Common Loon, I found a Thayer's Gull, possibly the one seen on last Monday.

Other birds observed from my perch; Ruddy Duck numbers were way up (80+) from Monday, Western Grebes, Horned Grebes, Eared Grebes and hundreds of American Coots.

There was just enough time to head over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  The lake was scoped from the northeastern point of the Lake Loop.  Only two Bonaparte's Gulls flew by during my hour stay.

A Common Loon surfaced to the north.  While I watched it, a second Common Loon also appeared.  Scanning the lake, a third Common Loon was several hundred yards west of the first pair!

Sunset ended my quite enjoyable afternoon of birding in Arapahoe County!

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