Sunday, April 2, 2017

Westerly Park & Cherry Creek State Park Sparrows

April 1, 2017

Richard Stevens:

It was a great first day of April.  Plans to search for White-tailed Ptarmigan on Loveland Pass had to be canceled when the pass was closed due to last night's snowstorm.

Instead, I drove around Denver and Aurora.  Temperature only reached 39 degrees today.  Winds were 4 mph with gusts to 8 mph.  Rain of various speeds fell most of the afternoon.

I detoured to Westerly Creek Park (Denver County) in spite of the Harris's Sparrow not having been reported since 3/19.  First, I checked the open space and park near 25th street & Beeler.

The Harris's Sparrow was not found; however, a Swamp Sparrow popped up from the cattails just south of the retention area east of Beeler. 

Two American Tree Sparrows were 50 yards to the south.  It is getting late for them.  Every spring it appears that once they start to migrate it is difficult finding them anywhere in the state.

I continued south to the retention area east of 2365 Beeler Street.  A flock of twenty-two White-crowned Sparrows flew from the bushy grove just south of the wet area and wandered along the ground. 

Another bird that stayed under the bushes was difficult to see.  Eventually it did emerge; it was the Harris's Sparrow.

My next stop was Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe), the target the Fox Sparrow reported yesterday.  I circled the bushes southeast of the restroom at the boat ramp upper parking area.  Finding no sparrows, I continued down to Pelican Point.

Unfortunately, no shorebirds were along the shore.  Three Say's Phoebes and half a dozen robins wandered along the shore.  While walking to the swim beach, many robins and another nine Say's Phoebes were observed grabbing bugs.

When I returned to the bushes next to the restroom, I noticed movement from a sparrow like bird.  In the next 2 hours and 10 minutes, I would get a sense of movement.  However, the bird never allowed much of a view; I could not even determine its colors.

The drizzle was quite fast in the next 2 hours that I stood watching the bushes.  Finally, the Fox Sparrow popped out and looked around from one of the branches!

I exited the park by way of the Lake Loop and Prairie Loop.  A lone Rusty Blackbird walked the shore at the west side of the Lake Loop.

Besides American White Pelicans, many Horned Grebe swam around the lake this afternoon.  No uncommon gulls were found.  Two Barn Swallows hawked bugs over the lake.

One Burrowing Owl was out at West Cargo Road & Third Creek when the rain stopped along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams).  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

I visit the DIA Owl Loop almost everyday that I am in town; do not seem to have the same problems with police and rent-a-cops as others are having.  About every other trip, I have been seeing three or four kids with AK 7s shooting along the north side of Third Creek.  Someone should do something about them.

Photos of the Fox Sparrow and Harris's Sparrow have been put on the Colorado Birding Society's photo library:

No comments: