Monday, May 21, 2018

Barr Lake and First Creek Trail

May 19, 2018

Richard Stevens:

High temperature was 51 degree under cloudy skies.  It rained off and on most of the afternoon.  Winds were 9-10 mph; however, several gusts reached 21 mph.

Went to bed around 7:00am and back out birding at 1:00pm.  Temperatures only reached 52 degrees today.  Winds were 8-9 mph with gusts to 14 mph.  It rained off and on all afternoon.

I walked from the Barr Lake Visitor's Center footbridge (mile 0.0/9.0) to the boat ramp (7.5), returned and continued to mile 0.5.

Kingbirds, Eastern outnumbered Western, Bullock's Orioles, House Wrens, Yellow Warblers, hundreds of Red-winged Blackbirds and more Cliff Swallows that I have ever seen in one place were scattered along the trail.

The pair of Osprey was on their nesting platform.  A Warbling Vireo was west of the banding station while a Red-eyed Vireo was just east.  A Gray-cheeked Thrush at mile 8.0 was the highlight.

A Barn Owl was in the box near the boat ramp.  A Long-eared Owl and Great-tailed Grackle were in the entrance windbreak.

I picked up Rebecca and we headed to the First Creek Trail.  We enter the trail from 56th avenue and not Buckley Road (more on that later).

Eventually we found five kingbirds in Denver County (east of Buckley) and eleven (west of Buckley).  We did not find one that we could call a Cassin's Kingbird.  Red-tailed Hawk nests were in both counties; a Swainson's Hawk nest is in Adams County.

A Red-eyed Vireo was just east of the Light rail bridge.  A rufous colored thrush briefly came out of the willows about 30 yards east of the Denver County trailhead.  Unfortunately, it was not relocated.

We stood around the trailheads for 15 minutes or so to see if the Harris's Sparrow was still around.  It was not found.  I would hear after getting home that a Northern Mockingbird and Vermilion Flycatcher were somewhere north of there.

We continued to the Adams County Pond along the First Creek Trail.  A male Blue Grosbeak was perched on a rabbit brush about 20 yards east of the pond.

And here is where it got weird.  I heard back at home that the male Vermilion Flycatcher and a Northern Mockingbird were seen around the trees at Buckley Road and the 64th avenue area.

Rebecca and I watched the (a) male Vermilion Flycatcher hawking bugs from the chain link fence about 25 yards south of the Pond.  It was watched from 4:50pm to 5:00pm.  I remember the time because we had to pick up a friend at DIA at 6:00pm.  We scheduled out time to meet the deadline.

So...did the Vermilion Flycatcher fly from Buckley & 64th and back to the pond?  Less likely odds, are there two Vermilion Flycatchers?

I also heard about a second Northern Mockingbird along Buckley, south of the First Creek Trailhead.  We never passed that spot and missed that Northern Mockingbird.

Back at home, reading the Vermilion Flycatcher and Northern Mockingbird at 64th avenue in the morning, I decided to return.  This time I parked at Buckley and hiked to 64th avenue, then took the trail west to the Adams County Pond.

It was raining quite hard when I arrived at Buckley & 64th avenue.  No Vermilion Flycatcher or Northern Mockingbird was found.  

The trip would not be useless.  Two Lark Sparrows and a Clay-colored Sparrow walked along the dirt track.  Half a dozen Western Kingbirds hawked bugs.

A Cassin's Vireo was in the cottonwoods about 20 yards east of the closed green gate by the pond.  No Vermilion Flycatcher was found this time at the pond.

Continuing back east, a male Black-headed Grosbeak and Black-crowned Night-Heron were 50 yards south of the pond. 

A flock of birds was in the Russian Olive trees where the east-west trail has a huge bend to the north.  This loose flock had a pair of Black-capped Chickadees, a Cassin's Vireo and Plumbeous Vireo.  A Broad-winged Hawk was also in the same area.

A second male Black-headed Grosbeak was on the fence 50 yards north of the Buckley Road parking area.

Where the Vermilion Flycatcher is/was, I did not discover.

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