Thursday, January 10, 2019

Searching for Rusty Blackbirds

January 10, 2019

Richard Stevens:

If the weather prediction is correct, two days of snow are coming.  It was necessary to take advantage of this fantastic winter day and go birding.  Temperatures reached 60 degrees.  Winds were 6-7 mph with gusts to 11 mph.

My first stop was Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  The Long-tailed Duck continued to swim around one of the open water pools while the majority of the Lake was still ice covered.  

The Northern Saw-whet Owl found yesterday was gone.  At least six birders were able to see it yesterday.

I walked the Denver County section of the First Creek Trail for about two hours.  Unfortunately, no Rusty Blackbirds were picked out of the 400+ Red-winged Blackbirds flying around the cattails.  

Half a dozen Song Sparrows mixed with two dozen House Sparrows also flew around.  A dozen Mallards, two Northern Pintail Ducks and two Green-winged Teal swam up and down the creek.

A Virginia Rail called from the small dam area east of the Light Rail tracks.  Two Wilson's Snipes called along the creek opposite the horse corrals.  Two responded to my recordings but did not come into view.  Nothing responded to an American Woodcock recording...darn.

Finally tired at looking at Red-winged Blackbird, I headed over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  The Brown Thrasher was the main target bird.

A walk up the western stream that flows into the swim beach pond found the female Rusty Blackbird about 30 yards north of the paved path.  The male was nowhere to be seen.

Then I sat on the bench at the southeast corner of the pond and waited for the Brown Thrasher.  After an hour and a half, the Brown Thrasher was a no show.

The female Rusty Blackbird appeared twice as did two Song Sparrows, a dozen Black-billed Magpies and two Northern Flickers.  The male Rusty Blackbird did not.

A search for the Long-eared Owls along the shooting range road also was a bust.  I parked until dusk, no Short-eared Owls appeared this evening.

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