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:

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