Monday, October 2, 2017

Cherry Creek State Park to Barr Lake State Park

October 1, 2017

Richard Stevens:

The morning was a spectacular fall day in Colorado.  Winds were calm and temperatures reached the 60s.

At least two Common Terns stood among hundreds of gulls on Pelican Point, Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County).  No shorebirds were around, not even Killdeer.

I scoped the Lake from the Smoky Hill picnic area and observed the three Red-necked Phalaropes quite far to the south (in line with the bench at the Lake Loop). 

When I drove to the Lake Loop, a jet skier was chasing off the three Red-necked Phalaropes.  The phalarope ended up in the extreme southeastern corner of the Lake.

I continued to scope the Lake for any loons or uncommon waterfowl; none was found.  A juvenile Sabine's Gull swam off the Mountain Loop.  Again, a jet skier zipped by and chased the Gull off.

Eventually the Sabine's Gull landed below the dam and north of the boat marina.

A Say's Phoebe hawked insects on Butterfly Hill. 

Later when I exited my car at Barr Lake (Adams), anemometer readings were 25-26 mph with gusts to 37 mph.  Using my scope was useless.

I hiked to the sand spit off the banding station with just my binoculars.  The land bridge between the sand spit and island had disappeared with yesterday's thunderstorm.

Hundreds of gulls stood on the island west of the banding station.  I was able to pick out a juvenile Sabine's Gull.  The adult Sabine's Gull did not appear to be around.  However, fifty-one Franklin's Gulls mingled with larger Ring-billed, California and a couple of Herring Gulls.  The adult Sabine's Gull may have still been out there.

Several Pectoral Sandpipers were the only uncommon shorebirds found today.

Winds died down to a "mild" 14 mph.  I drove the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver).  No Burrowing Owls have been observed on my last three trips.  Most likely, they are gone for the year. 

A juvenile Ferruginous Hawk stood at the top of the hill at the prairie dog village at W. Cargo Road and Third Creek.  An adult Bald Eagle stood on the hillside on the opposite side of W. Cargo Road (east side).

My final stop of the day was the First Creek Trail (to check on Barn Owls).  Daylight was ending when I hiked from 56th Avenue to Buckley Road.  Two adult Red-tailed Hawks and seven juveniles were a surprise.

A Broad-winged Hawk hidden in the cottonwoods just east of Buckley Road was a bigger surprise.  Eventually a Barn Owl and Great Horned Owl were encountered on the hike back to my car.

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