Thursday, December 8, 2016

Arapahoe County Reservoirs & First Creek Trail

December 5, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I birded the three major Arapahoe County Reservoirs today.  Winds were 16 mph with gusts to 24 mph.  My expectations were low.

Cherry Creek Reservoir had a gold mine of gulls.  John Drummond had reported an adult Iceland Gull at the southwest marina.  While it was not there when I arrived, a Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull were!

Many gulls were just off the north end of the lake loop.  These included the Iceland Gull, Herring Gull, a Thayer's Gull and California Gull.  All were close together which allowed a nice comparison of gulls.

Two Rusty Blackbirds were at the northeast shore of the lake.  I continued to Pelican point and found the adult Mew Gull and a third Rusty Blackbird.

Misses in the wind: the reported Long-tailed Ducks and Common Loons.

Quincy Reservoir is closed until March and requires scoping from outside of the fence.  A Thayer's Gull was with many Ring-billed Gulls near the boat ramp.  A small duck certainly looked like a female Long-tailed Duck.  Unfortunately, it swam to the east and out of site before a definitive ID could be made.

At Aurora Reservoir, I only scoped the lake from parking area north of the swim beach.  The Long-tailed Duck reported yesterday was perhaps 30 yards east of my vantage point.

A Thayer's Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull were standing on the swim beach.  A Lapland Longspur was walking around the boat storage parking area.

My birding day ended at the First Creek Trail (Denver) on the east side of Rocky Mountain Arsenal.  The Harris's Sparrow reported yesterday was relocated.  It was with a flock of ten White-crowned Sparrows and two Song Sparrows.

The sparrows would fly south of the path to feed, and then back to the north side.  They rested in the thick bushes and fallen tree (three feet off the ground and parallel to the ground and to the path).  It is located 33 cement squares of the path east of the no dumping sign, east of the light rail bridge.

Finally tired of the cold and wind, I headed for home!

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