Monday, December 26, 2016

Christmas Around Denver

December 25, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I were invited to a Christmas dinner at Ken Caryl Valley.  We made a brief stop at South Platte Park Reservoir (Arapahoe/Jefferson) on the trip down.

It took longer than expected; however, we found both the Black Scoter and Long-tailed Duck in the far northeast corner of the lake.  We did not have time to search for the other Long-tailed Duck and Greater Scaup on the nearby S. Platte River.

During dinner, I received a text message about a Trumpeter Swan at Crown Hill Park (Jefferson).  While Rebecca stayed behind, I drove over to the park.  The Trumpeter Swan was quite easy to spot from the parking area.

Winds were 28+ mph, gusts to 40 mph with microbursts well into the 50+ mph.  I was blown sideways during the walk to the northeast corner of the lake.  Many branches were falling down from the old dormant trees.  They required more watching than the Swan and White-cheeked Geese.

Afterwards I thought to travel over to Hidden Lake (Jefferson) and wait for the Brant to return for the night.  Hundreds of White-cheeked Geese already lay on the ice and swam in the open water near 69th Avenue.

I scoped the horde of geese in spite of high winds and a group of eight teenagers (future leaders or unemployed of America) while they threw branches and rocks at the geese.

A female Mallard who weighs a bit less than the geese was quite entertaining.  The high winds would blow her back a couple of yards.  She would slip and slide back to her chosen resting spot.

After sunset, geese started to come in from the east (winds were out of the west).  The number tripled and than quadrupled.  When many started to land on the ice far off from my vantage point, I drove over to the high school on 68th avenue.

When I left my camera in the car to avoid exposing it to the high winds and low temperatures, I found the Brant with hundreds of White-cheeked Geese far off to the southeast (south of the lime green house).

I ran back to retrieve my camera and returned just in time to get two photos before the geese took off.  The group landed behind (east) of the boat dock along the shore and behind the wooden fence.

Fortunately, I found a gap in the fence (next to the locked gate).  As an added bonus, the fence provided a screen from the very strong winds.  I also noticed that by walking to the south end of the fence where it dropped downhill to the lake, I could look over the fence and still have the wind blocked.

Hundreds of geese were behind the boat dock.  I did not relocate the Brant until it was quite dark, too dark for another photo (by now it was 5:05 pm).

1 comment:

Terry Michael said...

Hey Rich,
How did you miss the Iceland Gull, Great Black-backed Gull & Lesser Black-backed Gulls? :-)