Saturday, November 3, 2018

Adams County, Colorado Most of the Day

What a windy day it was.  While high temperatures reached 64 degrees, winds were steady 14-15 mph.  One gust was measured at 29 mph.

I looped my way down with the first stop being Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  It took several hours to work my way through the hundreds of ducks on Lower Derby Lake.  Unfortunately, none was rare although there were dozens of our common ducks. No shorebirds or uncommon gulls found.

The recently opened trail (from Lower Derby Lake parking area) to the Rod and Gun Club Pond and bird blind cuts the walk down from 4 miles round trip to less than a mile.  The pond was loaded with Buffleheads, Gadwalls, American Coots and Mallards.  Again no uncommon ducks, no shorebirds and no gulls.  A Wilson's Snipe walking the southern shore was the highlight.  No Swamp Sparrows could be conjured up either.

No waterfowl were on the north end of Lake Ladora.  The southern end had many Hooded Mergansers, American Coots and a few Gadwalls.

My next stop was Barr Lake (Adams).  The route appears circuitous; however, it was designed to miss most of our busy Friday traffic.  Try driving north on Tower Road toward Barr Lake, any day of the week it is a nightmare.

On the drive to Barr Lake, I stopped at the Town of Barr.  Best place to pick up a Great-tailed Grackle, a pair was just south of the railroad tracks.  The cattails along the I76 south service road added a Yellow-headed Blackbird to my day list.  These cattails usually provide my first and last Yellow-headed Blackbird sightings each year.

I scoped Barr Lake from the north end of the dam (mile 6.0).  No shorebirds were found.  The Common Loon continued off is the distance near mile 5.0.

No additional uncommon waterfowl was observed from the boat ramp area.  Shoreline is now far off.

My final and best stop was the First Creek Trail.  I walked from 56th avenue (west of Tower Road) to the western end at the Pond outside the border fence.

No sparrows were found on the hike west.  I searched for the Swamp Sparrow found a few days ago at 50-80 yards west of the Adams County trailhead.  Thirty+ Dark-eyed Juncos, two Song Sparrows and four American Tree Sparrows were along the path.

Continuing west, I was checking First Creek where a Harris's Sparrow has spent much of last winter.  Only a couple of Dark-eyed Juncos and a Song Sparrow were found when a Swamp Sparrow popped out of the cattails.

The Swamp Sparrow flew upstream along First Creek at least five times.  Unfortunately, it dove into the cattails when it stopped (so no photos).

Many Red-winged Blackbirds and a couple of Gadwall were around the pond.  Then I turned around.

Back at the trailhead at Buckley Road, I walked slowly along the chain link fence at the southwest corner.  Sparrows would pop out of the grasses and land on the fence to look around.

The count was sixteen White-crowned Sparrows, three Song Sparrows and a White-throated Sparrow.  While trying to photograph the White-throated Sparrow, a Harris's Sparrow also flew up and landed on the fence.

Eventually, most of the "flock" few across Buckley Road to the willows by the brown building at the trailhead.  The White-crowned Sparrows, White-throated Sparrow and Harris's Sparrow were recorded in both Adams & Denver Counties!

I believe photos of all four species of sparrows were captured, will not have time to look through them until Saturday.

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