Thursday, March 16, 2017

Return to Westerly Creek Park & Cherry Creek Reservoir

March 16, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures reached 75 degrees; winds were up to 9 mph.

On the way to Aurora, I stopped at Westerly Creek Park (Denver County).  I had found the Harris's Sparrow twice in the past week, however hoped for a better photo.

The Harris's Sparrow was relocated but not by me.  A birding group of 16+ birders swarmed the area.  I took off.

Just before they arrived, I circled Westerly Creek from 23rd to 26th Streets.  While I did not see the Harris's Sparrow, I did find the Brown Thrasher.  Unfortunately, the shy bird did not provide a photographic opportunity (only got a witness shot and poor at that).

The highlight was a Long-eared Owl. While trying to photography the Brown Thrasher under an evergreen tree, the orange face of a Long-eared Owl stared out of the evergreen.  No telling who more was surprised, the owl or me.

Other birds encountered included a Townsend's Solitaire, a Say's Phoebe, 8 Bushtits, six White-crowned Sparrows and a Lincoln's Sparrow.

I drove through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) just before my meeting in Aurora.  The Long-eared Owl was again up the road to the shooting range (south of the closed gate).

No uncommon gulls were found at the southwest marina.  I was surprised at how many Ring-billed Gulls (various ages) had pink legs.

No Western Kingbirds, any flycatchers or warblers were around.  One adult Bald Eagle was perched in a cottonwood at the Mountain Loop.

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