Sunday, December 4, 2016

Rocky Mountain Arsenal & Aurora Reservoir

December 4, 2016

Richard Stevens:

Rebecca Kosten and I drove over to Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) in the afternoon to look for the previously reported Surf Scoter and Barrow's Goldeneye.  Temperatures were around 50 degrees; winds were less than 4 mph.

It was quite surprising that almost all of Lake Ladora and over 50 percent of Lower Derby Lake were ice covered.  Many Ruddy Ducks as well as other common waterfowl species were on Lower Derby Lake.  No Surf Scoter or Barrow's Goldeneye found.

We relocated two Long-eared Owls along the Legacy Trail, no Barn Owls today.

We hurried over to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) which took about 45 minutes in traffic and construction detours.  With only an hour of daylight remaining, we did not have time to travel to the south side and make the 1.2 mile hike.

Instead, we stopped at the parking area northeast of the swim beach.  From our vantage point, we could see the three White-winged Scoters quite a distance off the peninsula at mile 2.5 (infamous bench).

Two Surf Scoters were at the mouth of Senac Cove; however they swam deeper into the cove and we lost to us.  Two Common Loons were also at the mouth of the Cove.

Another Common Loon was off the shore at mile 4.0.  With only ten minutes before sunset, we spotted her.  A female Long-tailed Duck was perhaps 30 yards off the east side of the parking area.

While I was trying to digascope the Long-tailed Duck, I noticed a Black Scoter just 10 yards off our location.  No way to tell if it was the same one that has been swimming back and forth between Senac (mile 2.0) & Lone Tree Coves (mile 3.0) since the beginning of November.  I plan to return tomorrow and see if there are two Black Scoters on the Lake.

We also picked out a Lesser Black-backed Gull and Thayer's Gull off mile 1.0.  It would have been a good day to hike in from the south to mile 2.5.  Thousands of gulls swam near the shore there.  A Lapland Longspur walked around the boat storage area!

Misses: We could not find the Red-necked Grebe, Mew Gull, Bonaparte's Gulls or Greater Scaups.

No comments: