Saturday, August 26, 2017

Search for a Crested Caracara

August 25, 2017

Richard Stevens:

I searched Adams/Denver County from a little after 1:00 pm until seeing it at 5:00 pm.  Having missed it at First Creek and the Denver Landfill where it had been seen earlier in the day, I decided to check Box Elder Creek.  A stop at Pena Blvd & 61st Avenue Park N Ride a Burrowing Owl was seen south of the entrance road.

I drove up and down Hudson Road with detours east to Box Elder Creek.  Areas where Red-headed Woodpeckers had previously been spotted (B.E.C & 104 and B.E.C. & 96th avenue) were especially studied.

No luck, I decided to return to First Creek and 56th Avenue.  A large raptor was spotted along Box Elder Creek.  The grove of cottonwoods was west of Hudson Road at 0.5 miles north of 56th Avenue. 

Its flattish black cap and whitish nape and neck were unmistakable those of a Crested Caracara.  I called several friends who managed to come and see the bird.  Ten minutes later, two Red-tailed Hawks circled over the cottonwoods and the Caracara took off, heading east.

The white windows in the wings and dark tipped whitish tail confirmed what we already knew.

Rebecca and I drove through Cherry Creek State Park (Arapahoe) an hour before sunset.  Dozens of Barn Swallows flew around the Lake Loop. 

One interesting nighthawk was with them.  It made no wing noise the few times it drove.  For the most part, it hunted close to the ground.  Its wings looked rather short.  All these are characteristics of a Lesser Nighthawk.  Unfortunately, we did not see it long or well enough to confirm any identification.  I did not record it as such.

A Willet and Least Sandpiper were on Pelican Point.

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