Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Marvelous Afternoon at Aurora Reservoir

December 27, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I was enjoying a trip to Aurora Reservoir in the afternoon so much that I almost missed the gate being locked (by three minutes).  It would have been interesting getting out of the place; they are serious when they say closing at 5:00 pm.

Temperatures reached 50 degrees; winds were 4-5 mph.  What a marvelous day for December.  The sunset was fantastic about 4:45 pm.

I hiked down from the southeastern gate passed Senac Cove and continued to the southern end of Lone Tree Cove.

The southern half of Senac Cove was ice covered.  I do not know about the two anglers walking on the ice, appears a little too much gambling.

Hundreds of gulls and geese stood on the northern edge of the ice.  Three adult Thayer's Gulls were picked out.  A Greater White-fronted Goose and uncommon blue phase Ross's Goose (very small compared to White-cheeked Geese) were among the horde of geese.

At the southern end of Lone Tree Cove, I found three adult Lesser Black-backed Gulls.  A fourth Lesser Black-backed Gull at the northern end of the ice turned out to be a 3rd cycle bird.  Three additional Thayer's Gulls and a 1st cycle Great Black-backed Gull were there.  Best Gull was an adult Mew Gull!

Next, I scoped the lake from the bench at mile 2.5.  A Common Loon was less than 30 yards off shore.  The two White-winged Scoters were off to the northwest. 

The Long-tailed Duck was again in the center of the lake.  At least five Snow Geese and two blue phase Snow Geese were among the thousands of geese out there.

Around 4:00 pm, many of the geese took off I assume for dinner.  The sound was awesome.  When most of geese had cleared off the lake, I found the Glaucous Gull swimming not far from the Long-tailed Duck.

Sadly, I could not find any gulls that could be called an Iceland Gull.  Several hundred photos of the gulls were taken.  Perhaps I can pick out an Iceland Gull among them.  We are making a 300+ mile drive today; that will give me time to look through the photos on my laptop.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Richard Stevens looked at the Gull photos that he took at Aurora Reservoir on Tuesday 12/27. He took over 250 digital photos. Great way to study gulls after the fact.

He entered from the southern gate. Most of the gulls were on ice deep in Senac and Lone Tree Coves.

Senac Cove gulls
Thayer's Gulls: 3 adults and one 2nd year

Lone Tree gulls
Thayer's Gulls: 5 adults
Lesser Black-backed Gulls: 2 adult, one 3rd cycle
Great Black-backed Gull: 1st cycle
Mew Gull (adult)

Out on lake:
Glaucous Gull
Long-tailed Duck
Common Loon
Lesser Black-backed Gull (one adult)

Rebecca Kosten