Friday, January 25, 2019

Another Snowy Owl Search

January 25, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature was 41 degrees.  Winds were 9-10 mph.

I searched most of the morning for the Snowy Owl reported on 1/21 & today, 1/25 north and east of DIA (Denver International Airport).  It was not found.

Many raptors were out hunting.  Count included Red-tailed Hawk, Rough-legged Hawk, Ferruginous Hawk, Northern Harrier, Prairie Falcon and American Kestrel.

Three large flocks of Horned Larks also encountered.  No Snow Buntings or longspurs in any of the flocks.

I stopped at Aurora Reservoir as I worked my way south.  With most reservoirs and lakes ice covered, Aurora Reservoir had many gulls.  Aurora Reservoir is usually the last reservoir to freeze over.

Among the hundreds of Ring-billed Gulls were two Iceland Gulls, three Lesser Black-backed Gulls, and half a dozen Herring Gulls.  

One additional black backed Gull appeared to be a Great Black-backed Gull.  However, something about it just did not look right.  Further investigation is forth coming.  

On my fourth scan of the lake, I finally found the Long-tailed Duck.  It was close to my spot at the lower swim beach parking area.  The Duck dove many times, staying only 4-5 seconds above the water.

My birding day ended across Quincy Avenue at the Pronghorn Natural Area.  I scoped Senac Creek, which runs south of DADS (Denver Arapahoe Disposal Site).  No Short-eared Owls appeared 30 minutes either side of sunset.

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