Tuesday, January 17, 2017

A Couple of Hikes On a Warm Winter Day

January 17, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures reached the low 50s today; winds were 4-5 mph.  Too nice a day to stay inside, I had to look for a place to walk.  My choice was to return to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) to look for the "strange" black backed Gull found on 1/13.

First, I walked down to Aurora Reservoir from the southern entrance.  A large group of gulls off the Lone Tree Cove included Glaucous Gull, Thayer's Gulls, Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Great Black-backed Gull.

After yesterdays superb Gull experience at Aurora Reservoir, my interest centered on getting a photo of the Brant.  I entered the park from the northern entrance.

No gulls were off the swim beach pavilion today.  A walk around the boat storage parking area found a Lapland Longspur loosely associated with six Horned Larks.

Then I walked to the western side of the dam from the parking area north of the boat storage parking.  Thousands of White-cheeked Geese, two Ross's Geese and one Greater White-fronted Goose were scoped for the presence of the Brant; without success.

The White-winged Scoter was below the dam tower along the north side.  A couple of Lesser Black-backed Gulls and Thayer's Gulls were among hundreds of gulls in the northwest corner of the lake.  No Brant!

At 4:00 pm, the thousands of White-cheeked Geese started to fly off to the east and northeast.  The sight and noise is quite a spectacle!

My birding day ended at Sand Creek Regional Greenway (Arapahoe).  I walked Sand Creek east to the Bald Eagle Nesting Area (closed) and then west to the western end of the Coal Creek Arena.

Not many birds here today, only a dozen European Starlings and four Red-tailed Hawks were initially observed.

On the trip back to my car, an adult Bald Eagle flew eastward along Sand Creek.  It perched near a rather large nest (Eagle nest?); another adult and two sub-adult Bald Eagles were nearby.

My birding day ended under another striking colorful Colorado sunset!

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