Friday, September 29, 2017

Birding Chatfield Reservoir

September 29, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures only reach the low 60s today.  Winds were 8-9 mph; skies partly cloudy.

My goal was to find the Red Phalarope at Chatfield Reservoir if it was still there.  Four hours later, it was still not found.  Tomorrow it is time for someone to show I missed it.

Three Turkey Vultures flew overhead at the entrance to Chatfield Reservoir (Jefferson/Douglas Counties).  I stopped briefly at the swim beach and observed no evidence that the phoebes remained.

Chatfield Reservoir was scoped first from the Heronry Overlook, no phalaropes.  A White-breasted Nuthatch noisily worked the pine tree right off the overlook.  It worked from top toward the bottom as I waited to take a photo.  The nuthatch flew before reaching the lower branches; that is when I noticed an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk at eye level just 5 yards away. 

A Cassin's Vireo flew overhead and landed in the cottonwoods just north of the overlook.  Eight Brewer's Blackbirds walked the shore below.

Next the lake was scoped from the handicapped fishing dock, the point along the lake trail, then the Plum Creek delta, the picnic area across from the rookery on the west side of the lake and finally the swim beach.

While scoping the lake at the handicapped fishing dock, one juvenile Sabine's Gull and later one Common Tern flew over the marina sand spit.

Resigned to not finding the Red Phalarope I walked the swim beach north to the deer creek inlet.  At the second dried pond north of the swim beach, a bird flew about with nineteen Yellow-rumped Warblers.  It flicked its tail and from the far distance, I thought maybe it was one of the phoebes.  Closer looks proved it a Palm Warbler.

Farther north at the deer creek inlet, a lone bird hawked insects.  It was the Black Phoebe.  I put photos on the Colorado Birding Society's Photo Library. 

As I returned to the swim beach parking area, the flock of warblers worked their way south along the shore.

Another hour was spent at nearby South Platte Park Reservoir (Arapahoe/Jefferson).  The Red Phalarope was not found there.

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