Sunday, November 27, 2016

Searching For Uncommon Birds Around Denver

November 26, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I am going to start with an editorial; therefore, you may want to skip this post.  Rebecca has talked me into tempering my rant.

First of all, I am reminded that as a freshman in College if I can remember that far back, my professor encouraged me to drop English Writing 101 after my first paper.  This blog is written so that I have a record of my birding adventures.  For those who continue to criticize, I am not a writer nor pretend to be one.

Second, on today's birding experience at Chatfield Reservoir, okay everyone expects different things out of birding.  Whether it's to socialize, get out in the fresh air, etc. I prefer to FIND BIRDS!

What do you call birders who stand 5-10 feet from where a bird has previously been seen?  It has always amazed that most of us carry equipment that allows viewing of birds from hundreds of yards away, yet some people have to walk right up to the birding spots.  Do they really think that the bird will land at their feet?

This morning, three birders leaned against the fence for quite awhile where the Snow Bunting has been showing up the last few days.  Many birders stood less than 15 feet from the location.  I would ask what they are thinking, but really do not care.

My passenger and I (will leave her name off so only I am chastised for my rant) had to laugh at the spectacle.  It would be sad, unfortunately I see it too often, therefore can only laugh.  The bird IS NOT going to land at your feet.

To answer my question, "what do you call birders who stand on the birding spot", birders who do not find birds!

I felt bad that when the American Woodcock was at Coal Creek Regional Greenway on 11/16, that I did not tell more birders.  Only a few friends were able to see the bird.  I would expect a similar spectacle as today would have ensued if that sighting was made public.

Back to birding.....

We arrived at the Chatfield Reservoir model airplane field at sunrise.  Immediately, another birder hopped out of his car and walked over to the previous Snow Bunting spot.  He stood there for a good 10 minutes; we left.  The bird was not reported.

We drove to the Columbine/Lake View trails at Platte Canyon Drive south of Bowles Avenue.  It took less than 5 minutes to spot the Chestnut-sided Warbler in a greenish leafed tree along the Columbine trail and the first driveway south of the trails intersections.

Note: one of my "rules/theorems" follow direct sunlight.  The bugs/food for birds are more active in direct sunlight/warmer trees.  Later in the afternoon on a previous day, we found the Warbler at the west end of the Columbine/Lake View trails where the setting sun lit the area.

Next, I drove to South Platte Park (Arapahoe) and walked to Bufflehead and Redtail Lakes.  Eventually the White-eyed Vireo was observed fluttering about the willows south of the Rest Area (cannot remember name).

On the walk up from the parking area five Greater Scaup were flew off Redtail Lake when a dog walker passed by.

The White-eyed Vireo was missed during a walk north to Mineral Avenue.  On the hike back, four Black-capped Chickadees caught my attention.  The White-eyed Vireo popped out of the willows nearby.

We then returned to the model airplane field at Chatfield Reservoir.  A dozen or so birders stood in the parking area searching/waiting for the Snow Bunting.  Half a dozen would stand five feet from the location of previous sightings.

I mentioned to my passenger that we had to wait until they left.  From previous birding experiences, I have found birds returning to spots about 25 minutes after disturbances have stopped.

At 10:27 am, the last of the interlopers departed.  At 11:01 am, a flock of fourteen Horned Larks and the Snow Bunting flew in from the north and landed under the fence at the southeast corner of the parking area!  NOTE: it missed my 25 minute prediction by only 1 minute!

I decided to wait a few minutes before exiting my car and taking a photo.  At 11:06 am, a birder pulled up and parked her car 8 feet from the Snow Bunting.  Of course, the Bunting and Horned Larks flew away.

We decided to leave instead of waiting another hour or so for the birds to return.

Brief searches for the Northern Mockingbird and Harris's Sparrow that have been hanging around the horse stables and nearby fields did not turn up either.

After dropping off my passenger and picking up Rebecca, we headed south to search for the Glaucous Gull reported this morning by Hugh Kingery at Walker Gravel Pit (Douglas).

The Gull was not found.  We checked Walker Gravel Pit, nearby McLain Gravel Pit, 20 mile Pond and the Bar CCC Pond.  Nothing uncommon was found. 

It was sunset before we arrived at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  No loons, scoters and Red-necked Grebe were found.  Two Bonaparte's Gulls flew by during our scoping of the lake.

That ended my marvelous day of Birding!


Anonymous said...

Right on! I have seen similar behavior!
Dave King

Terry Michael said...

As we discussed Saturday night, terrible behavior. I wanted to go on record that I agree with you !!!!!
Terry Michaels