Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Cherry Creek Reservoir

December 12, 2018

Richard Stevens:

It was another superb winter day in Colorado.   Temperatures reached 57 degrees.  Winds were strong all day.  Anomometer readings varied from 10-12 mph with gusts to 20 mph.

While visiting a relative and friend, both in rehab near Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe County), I made a brief detour to the Lake.

My thought was that the small open water areas at Cherry Creek Reservoir might draw waterfowl to the near shore.

This proved to be the case.  The two Long-tailed Ducks were approximately 30 yards off the northern end of the Lake Loop.  They appear to both be males in different plumage.  I put a photo on the "recent witness photos" link on the Colorado Birding Society's website:

An Iceland Gull was on the ice just behind (north) of the Long-tailed Ducks.

As I walked down to the northern point, a sparrow emerged from the willows near the shore.  At the time, I shrugged it off as a Song Sparrow or maybe American Tree Sparrow.

Later on, the sparrow walked out of the willows twice.  It had rather weak streaks unlike a Song Sparrow.  A strong black mustache eliminated an American Tree Sparrow.  It was a Swamp Sparrow.

What is up with all the Swamp Sparrows found this season along the Front Range?  There seems to be a higher number than I can remember in past years.

A search for the Rusty Blackbirds that have spent a month around the pond northwest of the swim beach was unsuccessful.

No Short-eared Owls appeared over the cattail fields east of the shooting range this evening.

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