Saturday, November 4, 2017

Cherry Creek Reservoir, Arapahoe County

What a fantastic Colorado fall day!  Temperatures reached 64 degrees.  Anemometer readings were 4-5 mph with a couple of 13 mph gusts.

I thought to drive to Prewitt Reservoir and search for the Dunlin, American Golden-Plover and Black-bellied Plovers.  However, the 97-mile drive (one-way) just was not inviting.  Instead, I decided to scope the Arapahoe County Reservoirs.

I passed Bluff Lake Nature Area (Denver) on the trip over.  Yesterday afternoon the sparrows hopped around the gravel trails behind the Nature Center.  Unfortunately, many people where around today.  The sparrows were scattered under the rabbit brush.  Perhaps a better time to visit is early morning or late afternoon (not 1:00 pm).

Traffic was terrible again today.  A stop at the Denver Zoo was nixed because of it.  I turned east to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Scoping the reservoir from the lake loop provided sightings of the Common Loon (southeastern quadrant) and at least eight Bonaparte's Gulls (off the handicapped fishing dock).

No scoters were found today.  The highlight was a Red-necked Grebe, which was just off the Mountain Loop (darn close too)!  Regrettably, a speedboat zipped by and chased the grebe toward the dam tower before I could drive to the Mountain Loop.

A check at Pelican Point found many American White Pelicans and mostly Ring-billed Gulls (no uncommon gulls).

A sparrow was walking in the willow patch on Pelican Point.  It looked to have a brown cap, rufous wings and faintly streaked breast.  It ran like a mouse and stayed hidden under the willows.

Finally, when it provided better looks, a Song Sparrow?  That did not seem right.  While trying to obtain better looks, the Song Sparrow ran to the edge of the willows and suddenly a second sparrow followed.  It was a Swamp Sparrow.

Both ran in and out of the willows, always stopping behind the willows.  After about twenty minutes, two fisher persons walked by and the sparrows flew into the willows near the cattails east of Pelican Point.

While walking back to my car, a dozen American Tree Sparrows were seen along the shore.  Daylight is getting shorter; with only an hour or so before sunset, I decided to bask in the terrific weather instead of driving to Aurora Reservoir.

A walk from the eastern marina parking area to the swim beach did not add any uncommon birds to my day list.  A Osprey flew around the north shore.  However what a pleasurable walk it was.

I ended my birding day sitting on the picnic table at the northeast corner of the lake and watching fourteen American Tree Sparrows come out of willows for a drink and to take a bath.  It was much more enjoyable than driving in Aurora's traffic!

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