Thursday, December 1, 2016

Rusty Blackbirds at Cherry Creek Reservoir

December 1, 2016

Richard Stevens:

I drove out to a friend's ranch east of Hudson (Weld) this morning to check again on a Snowy Owl report.  All we found was a Barn Owl; no way to know if it was the same bird.

Stopped at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld).  Two Long-eared Owls were found in the windbreak along the northern ponds.  A Great Horned Owl was farther north near Pond 9.

My trip to Cherry Creek Reservoir this afternoon was quite successful.

Several other birders were out there and missed the Rusty Blackbirds at the southeast marina area.  I drove to the Prairie Loop and walked to the southeast corner of the wetlands.  Two Rusty Blackbirds were walking the south shore below the tall willow that is east of the snag in the lake.  I got there by walking east on the main trail over the footbridge, then taking the trail west to the Wetlands Loop trail.  Follow the Wetlands Loop trail past the number 4 post and look for the first well-defined grassy trail heading back north-northwest.   Take that trail to the cattails, and then bushwhack through the cattails to the muddy shore.  Look north-northwest to only tall willow at point of land just east of above snag.  The Rusty Blackbirds walked the shore below this willow.

Along the hike, a Long-eared Owl was seen in the thicker bushes just south of the cattail field.  A juvenile Thayer's Gull stood on the poles lining the southwest marina.

I parked along the road to the shooting range just before sunset.  No Short-eared Owls appeared in the next 30 minutes.

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