Friday, November 3, 2017

Afternoon in Denver County

November 2, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Getting out in the afternoon, I managed to visit Washington Park and Bluff Lake Nature Area in Denver County.  Temperatures did not quite reach 50 degrees.  Winds were 6-7 mph with gusts to 12 mph.

Many birds fluttered about the lawn bowling area at Washington Park.  Conservatively at least twenty-two Eastern Bluebirds flew around the choke cherry trees and canal along the northeast corner of Grasmere Lake (Washington Park's southern lake).  P.s. the trees may not be Choke Cherry?

Dozens of Yellow-rumped Warblers captured bugs on the trees and willows.  A Spotted Sandpiper walked along the cement wall of Grasmere Lake.

The surprise was at least 56 Cedar Waxwings also "attacking" the chokecherry trees for their berries.  Berries were numerous and it should take several additional days before the trees are naked of berries.

The highlight was one Bohemian Waxwing among the many Cedar Waxwings.  While the Eastern Bluebirds would settle on the trees for a few moments, the waxwings took a more hit and run tactic.  They dive-bombed the trees, grabbing a berry and taking off for higher haunts to devour their prizes.

Over an hour and a half, I only observed the Bohemian Waxwing twice.  Its rusty colored undertail coverts were diagnostic.  Look for a larger waxwing than its smaller cousins.  That field mark got me to suspect a Bohemian Waxwing in the first place!

I ended my birding day at Bluff Lake Nature Area.  Walking to winding gravel trails behind the maintenance building was quite enjoyable.  I was the only visitor an hour before sunset (when the gates are closed).

Listening to and watching the White-crowned Sparrows hop up and down the paths was entertaining.  Regrettably, the Harris's Sparrow reported earlier in the day did not make an appearance for me.

Editorial Note:  When I started birding, the general thought was that Cedar Waxwings and Bohemian Waxwings are never found in the same flock.

Looking up records for the last 20 years, 27 out of 915 sightings, different locations (3%) of the time they were in a mixed flock.

No comments: