Sunday, January 28, 2018

Birding In Arapahoe County

January 28, 2018

Temperatures reached 50 degrees today.  Winds were 8 mph with gusts to 22 mph.  It felt cold all day.

My first stop was the East Crescent Parkway, Greenwood Village (Arapahoe).  After missing the wren yesterday by walking the wrong area, Loch Kilpatrick put me on the correct area today.  Thanks much Loch!

The Long-eared Owl continues to hide in the Russian Olive Trees at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).

I then scoped Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) from the upper swim beach parking area (Pavilion #4 offered some protection from the high winds).

Three Long-tailed Ducks swam to the east at about center of the lake.  The two White-winged Scoters were at the mouth of Lonetree Cove.

Hundreds of gulls stood on the swim beach ice shelf.  Only one Iceland Gull and one Lesser Black-backed Gull were picked out of the mix today.

My birding day ended with drives around the Jewell-Yale Loop (Arapahoe) and east of DIA (Denver International Airport, Adams).  My target bird, Snowy Owl was not found.

Birding Around Denver, Adams to Arapahoe County

January 27, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures reached the middle 40s today.  Winds were 9 mph with gusts to 13 mph.

Dan Bridges and I both had a bird list of two while in Wheel Chairs.  My fractured ankle was given a rest and I rode a wheel chair down the South Platte River Birding Area.  The two Barrow's Goldeneyes raised my list to three species.  

BTW, we happen to own a "family" wheel chair which is sometimes in the car truck.  When I was in college, I kept crutches in the car.   Many times after playing basketball with taller players, they had to assist me to my car.

After receiving a text about the Long-tailed Duck in the Spratt Platte Lake Area (Adams), I headed north.  The female Long-tailed Duck was exactly where Adam Vesely reported.  Thanks much Adam!

My next "adventure" was not quite as good or successful.  I drove to East Crescent, Greenwood Village (Arapahoe), and then walked (with crutches) about 1/4 miles along the cattail field.  (Later, I found out that I turned south instead of north from the parking area).  The Winter Wren was not found by me.

I passed through Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) on the trip home.  The Long-eared Owl was out and providing nice views for many birders.

Hundreds of gulls stood on the ice off the northern boat ramp.  An Iceland Gull and Lesser Black-backed Gull was among many Ring-billed Gulls and two Herring Gulls.

Continued Search for Snowy Owls on the Eastern Plains

January 25

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures reached 32 degrees.  Winds were 5-6 mph with gusts to 12 mph.

Terry Michaels and I continued our search for Snowy Owls on the Eastern Plains.  None was found during this trip.

We looked for the Snow Buntings at Sterling Reservoir (Logan).  Unfortunately, none was found today.  One Bohemian Waxwing among a flock of 40+ Cedar Waxwings was a nice surprise.

We continued east and south zig zagging the county roads searching for Snowy Owls.

Eventually we spent the night at Bonny Reservoir (Yuma).

January 26

It was a cold day on the Eastern plains today.  We measured 23 degree temperatures with winds 11-12 mph with gusts to 36 mph.

We woke to an Eastern Screech-Owl calling about 30 minutes before sunrise.  Nothing uncommon held our interest at Hale Ponds, Hale or Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area and we turned toward Denver.  Again, we tried to stay on back roads hoping of a Snowy Owl sighting.  None was found today.

A stop at Flagler Reservoir (Kit Carson) found one Common Redpoll that was with a flock of House Finches and a couple of American Goldfinches.

Many raptors (Red-tailed, Rough-legged, one Prairie Falcon, one Peregrine Falcon, American Kestrels, Northern Harriers and two Merlins) were observed while we continued on the less traveled county roads.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Unsuccessful Search for Two Snowy Owls

January 24, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I continued our search for Snowy Owls.  Temperatures rose to a "warm" 46 degrees.  Winds were 10 mph with gusts to 17 mph.

A stop at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) found the usual birds: two White-winged Scoters, three Long-tailed Ducks, two Iceland Gulls, four Lesser Black-backed Gulls and two Greater Scaup.

The Arapahoe Snowy Owl was not found as we drove around for several hours.  An update text message stated that the Messex Snowy Owl (Washington) was relocated the last two days; we headed up that way.

Another three or four hours search for the Messex Snowy Owl came up empty.  We did hear an Eastern Screech-Owl at Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington).

No Birding Today

January 23, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Stayed home today, let the snow, and ice melt a bit.

Another Unsuccessful Snowy Owl Search

January 22, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures did not warm up much today.  Highs were 29 degrees.  Winds were a mild 6 mph with gusts to 12 mph.

Terry Michaels and I searched for hours for the Jewell-Yale Loop (Arapahoe) Snowy Owl.  We enjoyed no success in finding the white bird on a landscape of snow.

We stopped by Aurora Reservoir and found the two White-winged Scoters and at least two Long-tailed Ducks made it through the yesterday's storm.

Our drive took us to eastern Arapahoe County on some dicey roads (ice and snow).  No Owls were found.

Unsuccessful Search for the Arapahoe Snowy Owl

January 21, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Major snowstorm today, few birders ventured out into the wild.  Temperatures barely reached 27 degrees.  Winds were 12-13 mph with gusts to 23 mph.  Aurora Reservoir received 3+ inches of snow.

If not for attempting to relocate the Snowy Owl near the Paint Ball range off Jewell Road, I would not have gone outside.

The Snowy Owl was not found during my two hour search before I headed for the safety and warmth of home.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Check on Aurora Reservoir

January 18, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Calm before the next snowstorm, temperatures reached 63 degrees today.  Winds were 4-5 mph and sometimes calm in the afternoon.  Missed the beautiful winter day yesterday, I wandered out for some fresh air.

I managed to get over to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) by back roads.  Anyone driving around Denver these days knows how terrible traffic can be.  Aurora Reservoir is one of the few places I can visit without driving through a busy area.

The two Long-tailed Ducks were swimming around the northwest corner of the lake.  Thousands of White-cheeked Geese, one Snow Goose and one blue Snow Goose were in the same area.  Others report four Long-tailed Ducks; I have only been able to find two on my last couple of visits.

The pair of White-winged Scoters were off the ice shelf at the swim beach.  One of the scoters kept attempting to jump up on the ice.  Every time he succeeded a Gull who move over and push him back into the water.  The activity entertained for over an hour.

Many Ruddy Ducks, American Coots, Gadwall and Lesser Scaup were also around.  I did pick out one Iceland Gull on the swim beach ice shelf.  A dozen or so Herring Gulls mingled with hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls.  No Glaucous Gull or Lesser Black-backed Gull was found today.

I spent the last hour of daylight at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  A walk around Pelican Point did not find the Swamp Sparrow or any shorebirds.  A wintering Dunlin would have been nice.

Forty two American Tree Sparrows fluttered about the point.  Another twenty American Tree Sparrows flew around the parking area.

Flu Continues

January 17, 2018

Richard Stevens:

No birding today, I only had the strength to get our medicines at the pharmacy and get back home.

Nasty Flu

January 13-16, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Any chance of a new January total species record (old record was 124 species) may have been stymied because of a four day stay in the hospital.  The flu is quite nasty this winter.

Search For A Snowy Owl on the Eastern Plains

January 11-13, 2018

Richard Stevens:

January 11

Colder today with a high of 42 degrees.  Winds 13-14 mph with gusts to 22 mph (one was 30 mph).

Rebecca was catching a cold; mine appeared to be worse. I decided to check on a Snowy Owl report near Messex (northeast of Brush, Washington County) and not expose her to my germs.  No Snowy Owls were found on the plains in the next three days.  The rancher claimed to have seen a Snowy Owl four times in the last three days.

A pass through the DIA Owl Loop (Denver/Adams) about thirty minutes before sunrise found a Short-eared Owl working the field east of West Cargo Road and Third Creek.

Most of the morning and early afternoon was spent driving the gravel roads from Union to Beta, I76 to Logan County Road 10 near Merino.  No Snowy Owl!

I scoped Prewitt Reservoir (Logan/Washington) and found few birds.  The resident Eastern Screech-Owls were even quiet tonight.  Eventually I headed for a cold night in my car at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan).

January 12

The front hit the eastern plains. Temperatures were only 32 degrees.  Fortunately, winds were 5-6 mph.

Several Great Horned Owls called in the early morning.  Two Eastern Screech-Owls responded to my recordings just before sunrise.  Most interesting birds were found while hiking the eastern sections from 1East to 7East.  Highlights included two Red-bellied Woodpeckers, a Long-eared Owl, seven Eastern Bluebirds a Northern Cardinal near Tamarack Pond (another later at 1-2West) and two Field Sparrows.

Later I circled nearby Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick).  Nothing uncommon was discovered.  The rest of daylight was spent driving Logan County gravel roads north of Jumbo Reservoir west to Highway 113.  None of my target birds were encountered (Snow Buntings, Common Redpoll, Smith's Longspur).

I opted for a warm motel room in Sterling for the night!!!

January 13

Temperatures rose back up to 55 degrees probably due to the winds 7-8 mph with gusts to 18 mph.

Sterling Reservoir finally provided a target bird.  Two Snow Buntings were observed flying around and landing on the sandy shore north of the northern Campgrounds.

Determined not to spend another night out on the plains, I worked my way back to Denver by way of gravel roads north of Sterling Reservoir (Logan).  After hitting Highway 71, I turned south and slightly east hoping the Logan/Washington Counties Snowy Owl would appear.  It did not.

Once north of Denver, I detoured to Coors Pond (Jefferson).  I missed the fuss that several other birders had encountered.  No one (security?) stopped to confront me when I scoped the Ponds (I did stay on public pullovers).  Two Long-tailed Ducks and the Red-necked Grebe continued to swim around the Ponds.

I timed my trip to arrive at Standley Lake (Jefferson) about an hour before sunset.  The Snowy Owl was not along the south side of Standley Lake and I circled west and north.  About 15 minutes after sunset, the Snowy Owl was observed flying parallel and below the dam.

Return to Aurora Reservoir

January 10

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures reached 57 degrees in the afternoon.  Winds at Aurora Reservoir were 9-10 mph with gusts to 24 mph.  Several gusts reached 34 mph!

I took Bob to the airport and swung by Aurora Reservoir in the afternoon.  Nothing new was around.  The usual suspects included two Long-tailed Ducks, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, two Iceland Gulls and a Greater White-fronted Goose.  The White-winged Scoters were not relocated.

I had planned to drive up to Standley Lake and search for the Snowy Owl at dusk.  It was just too exhausting an idea to wade through the horde of cars along the highway.

Foothills Owling and Birding

January 8-9, 2018

Richard Stevens:

January 8

Bob Shane and I headed into the foothills for some owling and other birds.  The temperature only reached 44 degrees today.  Winds were 12-13 mph with gusts to 22 mph (one gust measured 30 mph).

We hiked South Foxton Road from Reynolds Park (Jefferson) about an hour before sunrise.  In Minnesota, we called it a "nippy" morning (Bob called it damn cold)!

A Northern Pygmy-Owl was heard calling along the Songbird trail about 30 minutes before sunrise.  The Songbird trail parallels Foxton Road.

After the sun hit Reynolds Park, we hiked the Oxen Draw to Eagle's View to Raven's Roost Loop.  The forest woke up with songs of Pine Siskins, Red-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, Townsend's Solitaires, Robins and Flickers.

Highlights included our target birds.  A male American Three-toed Woodpecker drummed on pines just downhill of the three Trail intersection.  On the return leg, a Dusky Grouse was found along Raven's Roost trail.

Two American Dippers were found along the South Platte River as we drove to Pine Valley Ranch (Jefferson).  No additional Three-toed Woodpeckers or Northern Pygmy-Owls were found around Pine Lake.  We chose not to climb the switchbacks to the top of the park, which offers a better location for Three-toed Woodpeckers.

At Grant, we drove up Geneva Road (Guanella Pass Road).  One White-tailed Ptarmigan was spotted when we scoped the eastern hillside above the Lake at the Summit (Clear Creek)!

We rolled into Victor (Teller) in early afternoon.  Only about 40 Rosy Finches were hanging around.  Fortunately, we observed at least one of each species.

Most of the night was spent searching for Spotted Owls in Phantom Canyon.  Regrettably, none was found.

January 9

Bob and I detoured to Pueblo this morning.  We had to see the Pueblo Reservoir Snowy Owl!  A major factor and the plan changer were blizzard warnings to Gunnison.  We decided to search for Gunnison Sage-Grouse at another time.  As it turned out, the weather in the mountains did not improve during Robert's stay and we never turned around.

Temperatures were warmer than the foothills of yesterday with a high of 69 degrees.  Winds were 8-9 mph with gusts to 14 mph.

After a couple of hours of sleep, Bob and I scoped the Pueblo Reservoir south marina tires and found many birders and one Snowy Owl!  We also saw one Glaucous Gull, one Lesser Black-backed Gull and the winter resident Great Black-backed Gull.  The only other interesting bird for us in the area was the Prairie Warbler.  The warbler cooperated nicely; it only took 10 minutes to see him!

With Gunnison trip out due to weather, we headed toward Colorado Springs (El Paso).  The Broadmoor birds seemed to stay around all day so we made a detour to the Hanover Road area.

The detour was a great choice.  The Greater Roadrunner was found along South Meridian Road south of Hanover Road.  We also picked up a Ladder-backed Woodpecker on the way to the Hanover Fire Station where a Curve-billed Thrasher appeared not bothered by our presence.

Finally, we headed to the Broadmoor Area.  Two birders from New Mexico had the Red-breasted Sapsucker in their sights when we arrived at 13 Mirada Road.  The male Varied Thrush was walking around a clearing between pullovers #3 & #4 along Cheyenne Mountain Road.

We were exhausted by the time Denver was reached!

Monday, January 8, 2018

Birding Around Denver

January 7, 2017

Richard Stevens:

The warmish Colorado winter continued with temperatures reaching the high 40s.  Winds varied from 5-6 mph o 14-15 mph.  

Rebecca Kosten headed west to check on several bird sightings.  It has been a great start to my 2018 checklist and January in particular.  I have to look it up, but I think my January checklist record is 124 species (or could be 128).  The plan is to try to beat each month's record this year.

A walk at along the Van Bibber trail (Jefferson) found one of the resident Eastern Screech-Owls!  Nothing uncommon was found during a brief stop at Mt. Olivet Cemetery.

We scoped Coors Pond (Jefferson) and found both the previously reported Long-tailed Duck and Red-necked Grebe.  If a second Long-tailed Duck was around it was not relocated.

We were going to stay around Standley Lake until sunset to update any Snowy Owl sightings.  However, it was not necessary as the Owl was on the dam in the afternoon!

Instead, we headed back toward Rocky Mountain Arsenal with a stop at the Black Phoebe site near York and 64th avenue.  We accessed the S. Platte River by way of 69th avenue and the gravel road running along the north side of I270.  It saved a longer walk from parking at York & 64th avenue.

The Black Phoebe was catching bugs and perched on a short bush about 15 yards south/upstream of the Greenway footbridge just south of I270.

A quick drive through Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) found four Bald Eagles standing on the ice at Lower Derby Lake.  The 89 gulls were all Ring-billed.  Nothing was on/at Lake Ladora, which was completely, ice covered.

After dropping Rebecca at home, I returned to the First Creek Trail (Adams/Denver).  Neither the previously reported Harris's Sparrow nor Swamp Sparrow was relocated.

No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening while I was parked uphill of the Third Creek/Cargo Road prairie dog village.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Successful Search for Pine Warbler and Yellow-billed Loon

January 6, 2017

Richard Stevens:

Another fantastic warm winter day in Colorado, the temperature reached 57 degrees with winds 4-8 mph.

On the way to South Platte Park Reservoir, I made a quick stop at Dahlia Hollow Park (Arapahoe).  Sometimes easy sightings do happen.  I found the Pine Warbler in about 2 minutes.  The warbler was in cottonwoods just west of the first footbridge west of the entrance.

I put photos of the Pine Warbler and one of the many Cedar Waxwings in the Park on the Colorado Birding Society's photo library: 

The Hermit Thrush and White-throated Sparrow did not appear in the 20 minutes I waited; therefore, I took off for South Platte Park Reservoir.

The Yellow-billed Loon was swimming along the dam at the eastern side of the reservoir (Arapahoe).  It was too far away for a decent photo.

Next, I drove to the eastern parking area and walked along the South Platte Park from C470 to the Carson Nature Center (north of Mineral Avenue).

A pair of Greater Scaup swam in the Platte, just north of C470.  The previously reported female Barrow's Goldeneye was not found.

Another highlight was a Swamp Sparrow in the cattails near the blind at the Pond just south of Mineral Avenue (cannot remember the name of the pond).

After sunset, I walked the Highline Canal from Quincy Avenue to East Belleview and back.  One Eastern Screech-Owl was heard!

Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area

January 5, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Terry and I got up four hours before sunrise and heard an Eastern Screech-Owl at Roger Danka's ranch east of Julesburg.

We relocated two Eastern Screech-Owls at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area (Logan) before sunrise.  It was colder today with temperatures only reaching 45 degrees.  Thankfully, anemometer readings stayed between 4-8 mph all day.

Highlights at Tamarack Ranch Wildlife Area included: five Red-bellied Woodpeckers, one Long-eared Owl, seven Eastern Bluebirds, two Northern Cardinals, two Field Sparrows, one Harris's Sparrow, and one White-throated Sparrow.  Best birds of the day were two Common Redpolls along Logan County Road 385.  Three or four American Goldfinches were around also.

We backtracked to Jumbo Reservoir (Logan/Sedgwick) found nothing uncommon.  Plenty of Snow Geese and Ross's Geese, we did not pick out a Greater White-fronted Goose.  Ducks appeared to be of the common variety.

We headed back to Denver soon after Noon.  A check of the previous Snowy Owl sightings along I76 near Iliff and Galien (Logan) did not find any today.  We also drove north of Fort Morgan (Morgan) without locating any Snowy Owls.  

Wray and Surrounding Area

January 4, 2018

Richard Stevens:

It was much warmer today than yesterday.  Temperatures reached 53 degrees.  Winds were a mild 4-5 mph in the morning, but rose to 12-17 mph in middle afternoon.

Terry and I drove Yuma CR 45 about an hour before sunrise.  We did not come across any Short-eared Owls at their often visited spot at CR 45/CR P.  A Greater Prairie-Chicken crossed the road between 1.7 miles east of Hwy 385 and 1.4 miles east.

We of course visited three of my friend's yards in Wray after the decent hour of 9:00 am.  Private yard #1 had a pair of Northern Cardinals.  Private yard #2 had two male, a female Northern Cardinals, and three Pine Siskins (quite out of range).  Private yard #4 had the continuing red Fox Sparrow.

Other highlights included:

At Sandsage Wildlife Area: two Common Redpolls with six American Goldfinches, two White-throated Sparrows and a Swamp Sparrow.
At Wray Fishing Unit: we relocated two White-throated Sparrows, which appear to be residents

Misses: a friend reported hearing an Eastern Screech-Owl along hwy 34, east side of Wray
Nothing uncommon sparrows or wrens at Stalker Pond 

No additional Greater Prairie-Chickens or Short-eared Owl along CR 45/CR P just before sunset.

Republican Wildlife Area

January 3, 2018

Richard Stevens:

Terry Michaels and I conducted a mini-Christmas Count around the Bonny Reservoir Wildlife Area  (Yuma County) today.  We really could not call it a full fledge Christmas Count when there are only two participants.  Temperatures reached 49 degrees in the afternoon.  Winds were 10 mph with gusts to 18 mph in the afternoon.

An hour before sunrise we walked Yuma County Road and the Republican River and heard five Eastern Screech-Owls.  Terry pointed out a Greater Prairie-Chicken dawdling along while scoping the hills behind the ranger's place.

At the old Fosters Grove Campgrounds, we found a male Northern Cardinal, Red-bellied Woodpecker, Long-eared Owl and eight Wild Turkeys

Along the South Road (gated off Yuma CR 2), we encountered another Red-bellied Woodpecker and a warbler.  Brief looks at the warbler were not long enough to identify the bird.  It may have been a Pine Warbler, Blackpoll Warbler or Nashville Warbler.  All we could confirm was a gray faced warbler with broken eye ring.  Neither of us observed much yellow and thought the undertail coverts to be whitish.  After 30 minutes or so, we determined that the bird had escaped further looks.  Our second Long-eared Owl of the day was in the thick grove of trees at the eastern end.

The old Wagon Wheel Campgrounds surprised us with a Red-naped Sapsucker.  We hoped it was a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker, but was not.

A Common Redpoll and four Eastern Bluebirds were seen in the Hale area (CR 4/CR LL.5 and below the dam).  Seven additional Eastern Bluebirds were ran across along CR 4 toward Hale Ponds.  A Harris's Sparrow popped out of a brush pile.

We added two additional Red-bellied Woodpeckers at Hale Ponds to our day list.  Shortly after sunset, two additional Eastern Screech-Owls were heard.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Continuing Superb Start to My 2018 Bird Checklist!

January 2, 2017

Richard Stevens:

The outstanding start to my 2018 bird list continued today.  Temperatures reached 44 degrees.  Winds were 6 mph with gusts to 13 mph.  It was much warmer than yesterday.

My first stop was Salisbury Equestrian Park (Douglas).  The Brant was with a group of White-cheeked Geese.  He was missed on my stop yesterday.

I took the back roads over to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) and walked down from the south side.  The pair of Long-tailed Ducks and pair of White-winged Scoters continue to swim in the southeastern quadrant of the lake.

Many Ring-billed Gulls were joined with a few California, Herring, a couple of Lesser Black-backed and Iceland Gulls.

A brief stop at 19846 East Garden Drive in Centennial found the Pine Warbler fluttering about the neighbor's tree (west of Doug's yard).

The Swamp Sparrow observed at Ireland Reservoir #1 on December 8 was not relocated.  Ireland Reservoir #5 had only a few White-cheeked Geese hanging around.

My final stop of the day was Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld).  Only one Long-eared Owl could be found today.  Two Great Horned Owls called to each other at dusk.  No Short-eared Owls appeared as I stayed until civil twilight.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Best First Day of a Year Birding Ever

January 1, 2017

Richard Stevens:

This may have been my best First Day of the Year birding quest.  Although it was cold, (high of 30 degrees, 1 degree just before sunrise) winds were only 4 mph in Colorado Springs.

In the afternoon Westminster temperatures were 30 degrees with 3 mph winds!

I made the most of the uncommon birds along the Front Range.  At 7:12 am, we sat at 13 Mirada Street in Colorado Springs.  The Red-breasted Sapsucker allowed us only a four second look before disappearing behind its favorite Austrian Pine.  It was my first bird observed in 2018 as nothing else flew about!

We went to breakfast and returned at 9:00 am.  This time the temperatures had improved and the sapsucker flew around a bit.  We observed it in the single pine on the Broadmoor Golf Course (across from 13 Mirada) and later it sat in a cottonwood tree above us!

Our next stop was Cheyenne Canyon Park area.  The Varied Thrush was along Cheyenne Mountain Road. Drive south/uphill past Discovery Visitor Center to pullover #3. At the southern end of the pullover look for the large Ponderosa Pine along the road. Thrush moved about the bright yellow grasses on other side of creek. It would fly back and forth on both sides of road.

Woodhouse's Scrub-Jay, Spotted Towhee and many American Robins were in the same area as the Varied Thrush.

We returned to Denver and headed to York & 64th avenue.  The Black Phoebe was still hawking bugs near the I76 Bridge.  NOTE:   I have been reminded that while all insects are bugs, not all bugs are insects.

I then walked the South Platte Birding Area from 88th avenue to 72nd avenue.  Two Barrow's Goldeneyes continued to swim on the Platte River.

My final stop of the day was Standley Lake (Jefferson).  I scoped the lake from the gated entrance road at the southeastern corner of the park.  The Snowy Owl again appeared on the most eastern gazebo on the south side of the lake.  This appears to be one of his favorite perches especially in the evening.

That ended my superb first day of the year 2018!

If only Aurora Reservoir would have been open, yesterday sightings: Long-tailed Ducks, White-winged Scoters, Greater Scaup, uncommon gulls).  Well there is always tomorrow!

Photos of Red-breasted Sapsucker and Varied Thrush on the CoBus photo library: 

Super Last Day of Birding in 2017

December 31, 2017

Richard Stevens:

It was a great last day of 2017.  I assisted on the CoBus Summit County Christmas Count then returned to Denver around noon.

Christmas Count List included 481 Gray-crowned Rosy Finches, 39 Hepburn's, 4 Black Rosy Finches, 193 Brown-capped Rosy Finches, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Northern Pygmy-Owl, Boreal Owl, White-tailed Ptarmigan and Barrow's Goldeneyes.  

I stopped by 64th and York in Denver and saw Loch Kilpatrick.  Shortly after he left, I found the Black Phoebe catching bugs around the small island around the middle leg of the I270 bridge north of above intersection.  Took about 100 photos and headed for Standley Lake.  One Double-crested Cormorant was also here.

The Snowy Owl was not found in the three circuits we made around Standley Lake.  We then sat at the southern parking area until sunset.  Then I scoped the lake and south shore from the southeastern entrance to the park.

I could see the Snowy Owl on the roof of the picnic tables off to the west.  We parked at Queen and 88th avenue and I crossed 88th avenue. The Snowy Owl put on a nice show.  He flew up to 88th avenue twice and circled the area, coming almost overhead.  When I left, he was back on the green roof of the picnic tables.

Several birders had walked to the picnic pavilion northeast of the southern parking area.  I am not sure if you can see the eastern picnic pavilion from that one up on the hill.  I did ask and no one reported the Snowy Owl.  Either therefore, he flew in after sunset or no one looked at the eastern picnic table.

Unfortunately when this happened at 4:55 pm, it was too dark for a photo.  It maybe worth the effort to check the area well after sunset tomorrow.  The Snowy Owl had been reported here in previous days after sunset.

I have been up all night owling, going to bed, will have to check Black Phoebe photos tomorrow.

Happy New Year!

Summit County Christmas Count

December 31, 2017 Compiler: Terry Michaels

The sixth Summit County Christmas Count was held today.  Full list in January's "Colorado Field Notes"

White-tailed Ptarmigan
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Three species of Rosy Finches
Northern Pygmy-Owl
Boreal Owl (2)

Totals: 47 species

Monday, January 1, 2018

Georgetown Christmas Count

December 30, 2017  Terry Michaels compiler:

The thirteen Georgetown Christmas Count was held today.  Full list in January's "Colorado Field Notes" Totals were about average.

White-tailed Ptarmigan (8)
American Three-toed Woodpecker
Swamp Sparrow
Three species of Rosy Finches

Totals: 44 species