Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cherry Creek & Chatfield Reservoirs In a Snowstorm

April 29, 2017

Richard Stevens:

A spring snowstorm finally hit the Front Range.  It started snowing late Friday and persisted through nearly all of Saturday.  Temperatures today only attained 29 degrees.  Winds were strong at times; anemometer readings were 13-14 mph with gusts to 26 mph.

As luck would have it, temperatures have been warm recently and any snow landing on the warm roads melted.  Streets were just wet, easily drivable.

I motored over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) to see if the Northern Parula made it through the night.  The wild plum near the upper parking area for the northeastern Cherry Creek Reservoir boat ramp was covered with snow.

The Northern Parula did not come out during the hour I watched.  In fact, no birds emerged from the bushes.

Fog hung over the lake and visibility was low.  I walked down the Pelican Point shore to the sand spit.  The only shorebirds were two American Avocets.  Robins were the majority bird.  The juvenile Bonaparte's Gull "hung out' on the point with a small group of Ring-billed Gulls.

The adult Bonaparte's Gull and adult Franklin's Gull again wandered the beach below the West Shades Picnic Area.  No terns were found.

Note: yesterday I took photos of the three medium sized terns flying around the southwest marina.  Examining them today, I found one Common Tern and two Forster's Terns.  I find separating the two can be difficult; photographing them for later examination is highly beneficial.

Then I proceeded to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas).  Most front range Sagebrush Sparrow sightings are just after a snowstorm; I hoped was one was blown in last night.

When I arrived, half a foot or more snow covered the park.  No Sagebrush Sparrows were found.  In the past, I have found them when just a dusting of snow covered the marina sand spit.  The snow was too deep for any sparrows to walk around today.

I scoped the South Platte River from Kingfisher Bridge.  One Eastern Phoebe and one Least Flycatcher were 30 yards or so upstream from the bridge.  The phoebe was in Jefferson County, the Least Flycatcher in Douglas County.

Nothing uncommon could be seen from the west side of Marston Reservoir (Denver).  I gave up on birding and went to dinner.

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