Sunday, April 30, 2017

Cherry Creek Reservoir & First Creek Trail

April 30, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Picked my mom up for breakfast and we stopped at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) on the way to the restaurant.  The wild plum bushes near the upper parking area for the Cherry Creek Reservoir northeastern boat ramp still had some snow on them.

Temperatures were around 42 degrees; winds were 9 mph with gusts to 14 mph.  The Northern Parula did not appear during our 30-minute stay.

Few of yesterday's birds were found today.  The dozens of American Pipits have disappeared.  The Bonaparte's Gulls, Franklin's Gull and terns were a no show also.

We returned to watching the wild plum bushes for another 20 minutes before giving up and going to a late breakfast.

After breakfast we gave the wild plum bushes a third watch.  This time, I left mom to watch for the Northern Parula and I walked to the Pelican Point sand spit. 

The many shorebirds at the point included eight Willets, two American Avocets and a Stilt Sandpiper.  The Northern Parula did not appear; perhaps it has moved on to warmer places?

I scoped the swim beach before leaving.  Another five Willets wandered up and down the beach.

In the afternoon, Rebecca and I headed to the First Creek Trail (Denver).  A birding group had reported 50 species including Barn Owls and a Northern Mockingbird in five hours this morning.

We usually do not count total species; however today we tried to top the 50 bird species in our two hour hike.  On the hike outward, we were stuck on 29 species along the First Creek Trail.  On the return trip, two Chipping Sparrows flew by and ended our total at 30. 

However, we did not count the four species of birds seen on a detour along Buckley Road (Burrowing Owls, Great Horned Owl, Prairie Falcon and Grasshopper Sparrow).  First Creek Trail highlights included a Virginia Rail and Hermit Thrush.

Thirty species was not bad considering that anemometer readings were now 14-15 mph with gusts to 27 mph.  Misses included: Barn Owl, Northern Mockingbird & the Western Wood-pewee reported a few days ago.

We picked a restaurant for dinner so as to past Cherry Creek Reservoir.  We arrived at 6:29 pm and at 6:31 pm the Northern Parula popped out of the bushes!  He would return deep in the bushes, however briefly come out of cover on three occasions in the next ten minutes.

As we left the park, the two Bonaparte's Gulls and adult Franklin's Gull were observed standing on the poles lining the southwest marina.

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