Saturday, March 11, 2017

Birding Mountains and Denver Area

March 10, 2017

Richard Stevens

Three birding friends came to Denver for a wedding tomorrow.  We took advantage of their free day and headed for the mountains.  We eventually found one White-tailed Ptarmigan walking below the western side of the Loveland Pass summit (Clear Creek County).  Several Brown-capped Rosy Finches circled overhead.

We continued west into Summit County and visited a friend's yard.  Eight Rosy Finches (3 species, only 1 Black), Red-breasted & Pygmy Nuthatches, Mountain Chickadees, Pine Grosbeaks and Clark's Nutcrackers were seen.  No Evening Grosbeaks appeared on this trip.

Our next stop was Genesee Mountain Park (Jefferson).  A male Williamson's Sapsucker was northwest of the group picnic area!  Red-breasted & White-breasted Nuthatches, Pine Siskins, Mountain Chickadees, Dark-eyed Juncos and four Red Crossbills were also found.

I dropped them off at their motel and continued east.  Down on the plains it was another fantastic winter day in Colorado; temperature reached 64 degrees; winds were 2-3 mph.

I covered quite a bit of distance today however stayed in the metro area.  My first stop was Westerly Creek Park (Denver County).  The Harris's Sparrow was found within 10 minutes.  It was missed yesterday in my hour search.   

Unfortunately, as I was waiting for my camera to boot up, CDOT came by and decided to clean up the area starting at the Harris's Sparrow site.  Two or three "campsites" are semi-hidden in the taller bushes.

I walked around for an hour hoping they would finish; they did not.  As I walked by the bushes across from 2505 Beeler Street, the Brown Thrasher that I found yesterday was singing today.  The bird was quite shy and only exposed himself for a few seconds twice.  This was the same area it was discovered yesterday.

The eight to ten Bushtits were in the same area.  Yesterday they were south of 23rd Street.

My next stop was Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  I was on my way home; however, the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was found and photographed on the east side of Lake Ladora. 

When I photographed it on Wednesday, its legs looked pink to me (see photo on Colorado Birding Society's website "recent witness photos".  It must have been the light at sunset.  Today the Gull was closer; I had good looks through my scope in better light.  It has bright yellow legs, bright yellow bill with red spot and dark gray back.

The Gull did not appear to be the same Lesser Black-backed Gull I observed yesterday at Cherry Creek Reservoir's southwest marina.  To be sure, I drove over to the Reservoir.  Again, an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was on the logs around the southwest marina (as it was yesterday).

Daylight was fading so I stayed at Cherry Creek.  I first looked for the Long-eared Owl where I found it yesterday (without success) and then waited for Short-eared Owls to fly over the cattail marsh at Lakeview Drive, west of Cherry Creek.  None was seen this evening.

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