Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Slow Day In Eastern Arapahoe County

Hello birders,

Richmil Ranch Open Space, an Arapahoe County park had few birds today.  A dozen European Starlings, half a dozen Western Meadowlarks, not even an Eastern Meadowlark, and six Dark-eyed Juncos were the list.

My highlight was getting a quick look at the resident Eastern Screech-Owl.  At least one has been around for the past three years!

Migration has not reached the area yet.  Last year Western Kingbirds, Cassin's Kingbirds and Northern Mockingbirds nested in the area.

The slow day continued along the eastern Arapahoe County loop.  There was not much to report.

Barr Lake State Park in Adams County was not much better.  The Barn Owls were not around.  The Osprey have not shown up yet.

Directions to birding spots on CoBus website:

Terry Michaels, President, Colorado Birding Society
Centennial, CO
Contact CoBus/Report Interesting Birds: 303-324-7994
Subscribe to "cobirders" by sending blank email to:
Read "cobirders" at:

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Arapahoe County Search for the Glaucous Gull

March 24, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature reached 57 degrees.  Winds were 12-13 mph with gusts to 19 mph.

I had encountered a Glaucous Gull at Aurora Reservoir than Cherry Creek Reservoir (both Arapahoe County) in the past week.  Another birder relocated the Glaucous Gull on Friday while another birder found one at Chatfield State Park (Jefferson/Douglas Counties) on Saturday.  It is likely that this is the same Gull flying between the three reservoirs.

Today I hope to relocate the Glaucous Gull back in Arapahoe County.  That did not happen.  Few gulls were at Cherry Creek Reservoir.  Few birds were on the lake at all.  I did relocate the Rusty Blackbird back at the western stream that flows into Augie's Pond (northwest of the swim beach).

Thousands of Gulls stood on the southern ice shelf at Aurora Reservoir.  I was able to get quite close to half the gulls (several thousand) by scoping from the handicapped fisher person parking area.

The gulls were shoulder to shoulder and separating them was a challenge.  I was able to pick out two Lesser Black-backed Gulls and two Iceland Gulls (both Thayer's subspecies).

High waves on the Lake made finding waterfowl on the lake close to impossible.  Nothing uncommon was discovered.

Again, no owls were found along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver Counties).

Saturday, March 23, 2019

Two Return Trips to Spratt Platte Lakes Area

March 23, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature today was 45 degrees.  Winds were 9-10 mph with afternoon gusts to 22 mph.

I returned to the Spratt Platte Lake (Adams County) area seeking the Neotropic Cormorant.  It was not found; however, the Red-throated Loon was still on the 104th gravel pond south of Elaine T. Valente Open Space.

I mentioned Friday to a couple of birders that size is not a great field mark to distinguish Neotropic and Double-crested Cormorants.  Friday, one of the cormorants was almost 30 percent smaller than the rest of the group.  We had to wait thirty minutes before it raised its head.  It had the crests of a Double-crested Cormorant.

Finally giving up on the Neotropic Cormorant, I passed the 89th avenue Lake on the drive home.  The male Barrow's Goldeneye was again swimming along the eastern side of the Lake.

A stop at the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams) for an unsuccessful hunt for Burrowing Owls and Eastern Phoebes did discover two Lesser Black-backed Gulls lounging around Lake Ladora.

Once home, I read the Neotropic Cormorant was relocated and decided to return to Spratt Platte Lake.  This time we relocated the bird on the shore of the second lake south of 100th Avenue. 

Its small size, small head and distinct head pattern (no yellow above its bill and pointed gape) confirmed a Neotropic Cormorant.

Many gulls had returned to the West Spratt Platte Lake.  Among them was the Mew Gull.  A lone American White Pelican swam on the East Spratt Platte Lake.

Several birders had been looking for and missing the Red-throated Loon.  I pulled out my scope and found the Loon in the middle of the 104th Pond.

No owls appeared along the DIA Owl Loop at sunset.  Winds were 22 mph at the time.

Friday, March 22, 2019

Birding In Adams County

March 22, 2019

Richard Stevens:

I finally made it out of the house around Noon.  High temperature was 55 degrees (early afternoon).  Clouds blew in and temperatures dropped rapidly in late afternoon.  Winds became 15-16 mph with gusts to 28 mph.

Several stops were made on my way to the Spratt Platte Lake Area (McKay and 100th avenue).  One adult Lesser Black-backed Gull remained at Lake Ladora in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).

No Burrowing Owls or Eastern Phoebes have shown up yet.  I did see my first of the season pair of  Bank Swallows!

The male Barrow's Goldeneye swam approximately 50 yards north of the southeast corner of the 89th avenue pond.

The Red-throated Loon continued on the western half of the gravel pit across 104th avenue (south of the Elaine Valente Open Space).

Finally, I made it to Spratt Platte Lakes area.  Many gulls again were on the sandbars in the Lake on the southwest corner of McKay Road & 100th Avenue.  Today a Mew Gull and again an Iceland Gull were among the many Ring-billed Gulls and a couple of California Gulls.  Misses: the Glaucous Gull and Glaucous-winged Gull photographed on Monday were not around.

I scoped the many Lakes; the previously reported Neotropic Cormorant was not found among a dozen of Double-crested Cormorants.

Then I headed east to miss rush hour traffic.  A pair of Great-tailed Grackles was again found in the Town of Barr.  Nothing uncommon was observed off the Barr Lake State Park boat ramp.  Osprey have not yet returned to their nesting platform south of the boat ramp.

I drove over to the First Creek Trail (Denver County) and walked from the 56th Avenue Bridge to Pena Blvd and back.  No Rusty Blackbirds were found during my last three hikes.  I did find a Barn Owl and heard a Virginia Rail.

No owls appeared while I drove the DIA Owl Loop.

Castlewood Canyon State Park to Aurora Reservoir On a Windy Day

March 21, 2019

Richard Stevens:

I had business in Parker and proceeded to Castlewood Canyon State Park (Douglas County) afterwards.

It is still early in the season and few birds were expected as turned out the case.  A couple of Mountain Bluebirds were the only Bluebirds around the old Winkler Ranch.  

No Turkey Vultures or Golden Eagles circled overhead in the Park.

The Eastern Phoebes have not yet returned to Cherry Creek and Hwy 86.  A Great Horned Owl was on a nest along the Cherry Creek Trail.

I took back roads home and passed Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  Winds were steady at 22 mph!  A few gusts reached 29 mph.  At least the temperature reached 60 degrees yet it was cold with the wind.

High waves on the Lake made finding waterfowl close to impossible.  Two Lesser Black-backed Gulls stood on the ice off the swim beach.  A Great Black-backed Gull swam nearby.

I abandoned further birding and headed home.  No owls were seen along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver).

Thursday, March 21, 2019

Weld & Arapahoe County Birding

March 20, 2019

Richard Stevens:

What a great winter day with a high temperature of 57 degrees.  Winds were 7-8 mph with gusts to 15 mph.

Terry Michaels attempted to find Mountain Plovers in the Pawnee National Grasslands area (Weld) today.

We passed Cozzens Lake on the drive up where the previously reported three Tundra Swans were still around.

On the grasslands, many of the traditional locations were searched and no Mountain Plover was detected.  These included two nesting spots.

Seven Sharp-tailed Grouse were discovered along Weld CR 111, north of CR 132.  This area appears to be the best location for a sighting.

A few McCown's Longspurs were run across; unfortunately, no Chestnut-collared Longspur was among them.  No Chestnut-collared Longspurs have yet to return to their nesting area, the field southeast of Highway 85 and Weld CR 114.  There were no Snow Bunting sightings to report either.

We hiked the northern end of the CPER land down to Owl Creek and several hundred yards up and down the Creek.  A Short-eared Owl was found 200 yards south of our entry point.  A Great Horned Owl called 300 yards north of the same point.

After dropping Terry off, I stopped by Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) on my way to visit a sick friend at nearby Aurora Life Care Center.

A male Red-winged Blackbird chased the female Rusty Blackbird from the north shore of Augie's Pond (northwest of the swim beach).  She disappeared in the grasses north of the floating log (northern center of pond).

I believe I observed the Red-necked Grebe reported several days ago.  It dove often and only stayed on the surface for short periods of time.  Looks were less than desirable.  I was scoping the Lake from the Dixon Grove parking area where light from the southern setting sun was terrible.  

Later I relocated the grebe while scoping from the Lake Loop.  The grebe was again far away in the center of the Lake.  The angle of the sun was better from the Lake Loop. 

Highlights from the Lake Loop included a nice assortment of gulls.  Among them were a Glaucous Gull, two Iceland Gulls (one Iceland & one Thayer's), Herring Gulls, California Gulls and of course many Ring-billed Gulls.

A search for an early Western Kingbird or any Kingbird was not successful.  My time ran out before an owl search could commence.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Wandering Around Arapahoe County

March 19, 2019

Richard Stevens: 

High temperature was 46 degrees.  Winds were 12-13 mph with gusts to 23 mph.

I scoped Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe County) before heading east.  Over four thousand gulls stood on the ice shelf just off the swim beach.  Another thousand swam in the open water.

One adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was the only uncommon gulls picked out of the tightly group gulls.  At least three dozen Herring Gulls and a dozen California Gulls were among the horde.

Afterwards I headed to eastern Arapahoe County.  Several Northern Mockingbirds have already shown up along the Front Range.  Perhaps historical nesting locations would yield another or two?

No Northern Mockingbirds were found in the loop, which included Arapahoe County Open Spaces along County Line Road and Arapahoe CR 61.  No Burrowing Owls or Red-headed Woodpecker were encountered.

Richmil Ranch Open Space in the southeast corner of Arapahoe County was quiet today.  Northern Mockingbirds have nested here at least three of the recent years.

A pair of Yellow-rumped Warblers flew around the old Byers Rest Stop.  Not much else was found.  Many Eurasian Collared-Doves were found around Strasburg (Arapahoe).  

A Good Day For Gulls & a Red-throated Loon, Adams County

March 18, 2019

Richard Stevens:

I spent most of the day in Adams County.  High temperature was 46 degrees under partly sunny skies.  Winds were 5-6 mph with gusts to 16 mph.

The Red-throated Loon was swimming along the southwest section of the lake south of 104th Avenue/east of McKay Road (south of Elaine T. Valente Open Space).  A large number of Canvasbacks were also on the Lake.

A large group of gulls stood on the sandbar on the gravel pit at the southwest corner of McKay Road and 100th Avenue.  These included a Glaucous Gull, Lesser Black-backed Gull, possible Glaucous-winged Gull and two Iceland Gulls (one Iceland and one Thayer's subspecies).

My next stop was the 89th Avenue Pond where a Glaucous Gull and Mew Gull were reported yesterday.  While no gulls were at the lake, the male Barrow's Goldeneye I found Sunday was still there.  

The Adams County gulls appear to move between the many lakes and gravel pits between I76 and McKay Road.

A stop at Rocky Mountain Arsenal found the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull still at Lake Ladora.  Still no Surf Scoter was found.   I drove the wildlife loop and found no Red-headed Woodpeckers, Eastern Phoebes or Burrowing Owls.

No Short-eared or Burrowing Owls appeared along the DIA Owl Loop as I drove home.

Rocky Mountain Arsenal and the First Creek Trail

March 17, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature reached 49 degrees.  Winds were 8-9 mph with gusts to 16 mph.

I did not make it as far west of 89th avenue Lake (Adams County) but was close.  The Red-throated Loon was not found yesterday by me so skipped the lake today.

Instead, I went to Rocky Mountain Arsenal.  Scoped Lake Ladora for over an hour, I could not find a Surf Scoter among the dozens of female Redhead Ducks and Ruddy Ducks.  The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was along the eastern side.

A check of Lower Derby Lake found no uncommon birds.  Missed my target birds during a drive around the Wildlife Loop, no Burrowing Owls, Red-headed Woodpeckers or Eastern Phoebes were found today.

Later I walked the First Creek Trail from the Light Rail Tracks to the 56th avenue Bridge.  There was no sign of the Rusty Blackbirds for the second day in a row.  Perhaps they moved on during last week's blizzard?

No Short-eared Owls or Burrowing Owls were found along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver) this evening.

Search For The Red-throated Loon

March 16, 2019

Richard Stevens:

The day was cold with a high of 49 degrees with winds 9-10 mph, gusts to 17 mph.

After dropping a friend at DIA, I went back to Adams County and the South Platte Birding Area.  We enjoyed a successful grouse trip missing few birds and the horrific weather that hit Denver and the Eastern Plains.  Only target bird misses were Northern Bobwhite and Scaled Quail.

The pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes was just upstream of the green/white tower (approximately 1/2 mile south of the 88th avenue parking area).

Another birder and I scanned the 89th Avenue Pond for 30 minutes or so.  No loons were found.  A male Barrow's Goldeneye hung around a group of Common Goldeneyes.

I checked East Gravel Lakes, Dahlia Ponds and Tani Reservoir and found no loons.

A walk along the First Creek Trail (Denver) did not find the Rusty Blackbirds and Barn Owl this afternoon.

The female Rusty Blackbird continues at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  She was along the eastern drainage that runs into Angie's Pond (northwest of the swim beach).  The bird was 25 feet south of the paved path.

No owls showed up for me along the shooting range entrance road.

FOS Grouse Trip

March 11-16, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Jan Baker and I enjoyed a strenuous first grouse trip of 2019.  Recent avalanches in the Colorado Mountains had delayed and several days were lost.

On the fortunate side, we had to reverse my usual route to avoid the hundreds of avalanches and closed roads.  We birded Colorado Eastern Plains first.  As a result, we were in and out of the areas that were hit by blizzards the next day!  In fact, we experienced relatively nice weather the entire trip!

March 11

High temperature in Wray was only 37 degrees.  Winds were calm to 6 mph.  Later the high temperature in Springfield was 42 degrees.  Winds were 5-6 mph with gusts to 12 mph.

Jan and I began with a long day, which demanded 700 miles on the road.  At first light, we scoped the Yuma County Road 45 Lek.  Three Greater Prairie-Chickens did visit the lek briefly.  However, they did not perform their mating dance.

Regrettably, we had to pass numerous interesting birding locations to get to Baca County in the early afternoon.

A drive through Cottonwood Canyon contributed some nice birds to our trip list.  We came across Canyon Towhee, Rufous-crowned Sparrow, Wild Turkey, Chihuahuan Ravens, Bewick's Wren, Ladder-backed Woodpecker and Cooper's Hawk.

I am fortunate to have a friend nearby who has one of the few Lesser Prairie-Chicken Leks still active in Colorado.  Thirty minutes before sunset, we parked a distance away from the lek and watched two male Lesser Prairie-Chickens wandered around the lek.  They briefly danced for an audience that did not show.

We passed through Cottonwood Canyon on the 400 mile drive to Gunnison.  One Western Screech-Owl called near the camping area.  While a Great Horned Owl called quite a distance to the west.

March 12

High temperature in Gunnison was 39 degrees.  Temperatures at sunrise were only 24 degrees.  Fortunately, winds were calm to 3 mph.

Shortly after first light, Jan Baker and I discovered two Gunnison Sage-Grouse walking along Gunnison County Road 887!

Note: the Waunita Hot Springs Lek is not open until April 1.  Parking on CR 887 is not allowed.   There is a legal loophole in their rules.  I will let others figure out what that is.

We searched traditional Rosy Finch spots north of Gunnison; however, none was found.

Then, we drove to Crested Butte and meandered around town.  A few Gray-crowned and Brown-capped Rosy Finches were eventually found.  Unluckily, no Black Rosy Finches were among the small flocks.

Blue Mesa Reservoir (Gunnison) was mostly ice covered.  There was no uncommon waterfowl to report.

We exhausted the last couple of hours of daylight sightseeing and searching for Dusky Grouse at the Black Canyon of Gunnison National Park (Montrose).  The road is closed near the Visitor's Center due to snow.

Eventually a male Dusky Grouse was found along the South Rim Road, just east of the Campgrounds.

March 13

High temperature was 44 degrees in Grand Junction.  Winds were something else 12-13 mph with gusts to 22 mph.  Strange however, winds on the Grand Mesa were less than 5 mph?

We stayed in Delta and visited Fruitgrower's Reservoir in the morning.  Nothing uncommon was on the lake.  We did see two Sandhill Cranes, our only cranes of the trip.

A Lewis's Woodpecker flew around west of Evelyn Horn's home.  Another was by the Eckert post office!

Highline Lake State Park was the hotspot of the day.  We missed the Tundra Swans but did find the two Trumpeter Swans, Greater Scaups and Bonaparte's Gull.

A detour to Rabbit Valley contributed a Sagebrush Sparrow to our trip list.  More importantly, this avoided the long drive up Mesa County Road 4 north of Mack to inspect their traditional nesting grounds.

We enjoyed better fortune at Coal Canyon (Mesa).  A Chukar appeared to respond to our recording played at the large parking area near the second iron pipe.

Then we headed up the Grand Mesa, Mesa County section.  An avalanche closed the highway before the Old Lodge.

An American Three-toed Woodpecker was heard and observed drumming behind the Powderhorn Maintenance building.  A Northern Pygmy-Owl responded to a recording south of the buildings near the entrance.

It took several hours; however, we did find a Boreal Owl at the second pullover south of the Spruce Grove Campgrounds!

March 14

Temperatures only reached 43 degrees today.  It felt much warmer than yesterday with winds 4-5 mph.

After a late start, we drove through the Colorado National Monument (Mesa) from the eastern entrance.

Several Gambel's Quail were found around the subdivision just outside of the entrance.  We listened for Black-throated Sparrows; however, none was found.  The Devil's Kitchen Trail just inside the entrance was quiet.  It is really a month too early for migration to come to the area.

Three Pinyon Jays and a Juniper Titmouse were found at the Campgrounds.

Continuing north, we checked around Craig unsuccessfully for Bohemian Waxwings.

Then we decided to drive to the Timberline Greater Sage-Grouse Leks near the Wyoming border (north of Craig).  Weather reports predicted inclement weather to the east.  Additional grouse may not be encountered later.

One Greater Sage-Grouse was observed walking along Moffat County Road 3.  The road did not allow us to drive all the way to the Timberline Lek; however, we were close.

March 15

Yesterday's 43 degrees would have been welcomed.  High temperature was only 28 degrees (high?).  Winds were 6-7 mph with gusts to 16 mph.

Shortly after sunrise, we drove Twenty 27 Road to the Twenty Road Leks.  Locals call the road one name while maps list it different.  Two Sharp-tailed Grouse eventually visited the lek a good hour after sunrise.  No Greater Sage-Grouse appeared this morning.

The Hayden Airport and the Carpenter Ranch did not add new species to our trip list.  It was too early for Yellow-headed Blackbirds to show.

We checked out the 80 Route Road.  Snowdrifts prevented any travel to the leks north of Hayden.

No Sharp-tailed Grouse were found at their usual wintering grounds east of Steamboat Springs.  My friend has not seen any grouse since December.

Our birding day ended at the Jackson County Road 26b Leks.  While two Greater Sage-Grouse walked the road, neither displayed any mating rituals.

Afterwards, we stopped at four Boreal Owl spots along highway 14 west of Cameron Pass (Jackson).  Boreal Owls responded to our recordings at two of the locations.

March 16

It was another frigid day with a high of only 27 degrees.  Winds were calm to 3 mph.  However, once we arrived at Loveland Pass, winds were measured at 39 mph.

Only four Gray-crowned Rosy Finches flew around the Colorado State Forest Visitor's Center.  The resident American Three-toed Woodpecker (north of hwy 14) was not enticed to appear.

A visit to a friend's ranch west of Gould found a flock of 200+ Rosy Finches (three species).  Then we headed back to Denver by way of Kremmling (Grand).

Loveland Pass was finally open after a week of storm storms.  We scoped from the top of the Summit, trying to steady our scopes from the raging winds.   After 30 minutes, we finally found a White-tailed Ptarmigan hunkered down from the blowing snow near the ragged rock line.

Then we rushed to DIA to catch Jan's flight.  Great Trip!  2318 miles!

Sunday, March 10, 2019

Little Dry Creek Trail

March 10, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High Temperature today was 52 degrees.  The winds made it free quite cold at 14-15 mph with gusts to 25 mph.

I headed southwest today.  The Black Scoter that has been wintering on South Platte Park Reservoir (Arapahoe/Jefferson) was not found.

The Harris's Sparrow continues at South Platte Park (Arapahoe).

I received a text message about a Northern Mockingbird along Little Dry Creek and stopped on my way home.  Text stated the bird was along Walnut Hills trail, which was interpreted to mean the spur off Little Dry Creek trail, west side of Walnut Hills Elementary School.

I walked the spur and Little Dry Creek trail from South Uinta Street west to South Quebec, no Northern Mockingbird.

It was too nice a day to go home; I hiked east to Walnut Hills Park and continued to South Yosemite Street, no Northern Mockingbird.

On the returned to Uinta Street, I checked the two yards, which I had picked as good places for a Northern Mockingbird.  Out of nowhere, the Northern Mockingbird flew into a willow bush along the chain link fence just west of the Harley Davidson trailer.

Unfortunately, the Northern Mockingbird stayed deep in the bush or on the ground behind the fence.  While I waited for a better view and dog walker came by and asked what was so interesting.  Her dog started barking and the Northern Mockingbird flew south across Little Dry Creek to the yard with the blue gate on its chain link fence.

It is a beautiful bird even it flight!  I put terrible witness photos on the "recent witness photos" link of the Colorado Birding Society's website

I passed through Cherry Creek State Park on my drive home.  No interesting birds, but I did take photos of the white deer near the intersection of Lake View Road and old Parker Road.

No Short-eared or Burrowing Owls appeared along the DIA Owl Loop again this evening.

Birding Around Eastern Metro Area

March 9, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature was 48 degrees today.  Winds were 9-10 mph with gusts to 18 mph.

Rebecca and I visited some of the locations of previously reported birds.

The three Rusty Blackbirds were again walking along First Creek just north of the 56th Avenue Bridge (Denver County).

The adult Lesser Black-backed Gull was again on the ice at Lake Ladora in the Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).  The juvenile Lesser Black-backed Gull that I first photographed yesterday was also there.

We scoped Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe).  One adult Lesser Black-backed Gull stood on the ice hundreds of yards east of the Lower Parking Area pavilion.  The Long-tailed Duck was not found (now three trips in a row).

The Rusty Blackbird at Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe) was along old Parker Road.  She walked along the western drainage about 25 feet south of drainage pipe.

No owls showed up along the shooting range entrance road.

Friday, March 8, 2019

South Platte Birding Area, First Creek Trail & Rocky Mountain Arsenal

March 8, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Temperatures reached 53 degrees today.  Winds were 12-13 mph with gusts to 18 mph.

I celebrated the fantastic winter day with a hike from the South Platte Birding Area parking area at 88th avenue (Adams County) south to the sewage treatment plant south of I76 and back.

My route was down the west side of the S. Platte River with a return on the east side.  From 2002 to 2018 except 2014 & 2017, a Long-tailed Duck has wintered in the area.  None was found today (last seen on 11/10/2018).

The pair of Barrow's Goldeneyes was diving in the Platte below the green/white tower about 1/2 mile south of the 88th avenue parking area.

Passerines were few.  The highlight was a Swamp Sparrow on the east side of the Platte River about 50 yards north of the two green benches on the west side of the Platte.  

Shorebirds were represented by four Killdeer and a Spotted Sandpiper.  A Prairie Falcon zoomed upstream during my return trip.  Other raptors included a Sharp-shinned Hawk and a pair of Northern Harriers.

On the drive over, I made several stops.  The three Rusty Blackbirds were still along First Creek just south of the 56th Avenue Bridge (Denver).

The Lesser Black-backed Gull stood on Lake Ladora at Rocky Mountain Arsenal (Adams).

No Short-eared or Burrowing Owls appeared this evening along the DIA Owl Loop (Denver/Adams).

Thursday, March 7, 2019

Walking the Highline Canal In Arapahoe County

March 7, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Our first Grouse Trip of 2019 is still delayed.  Predictions of snowstorms with 2-4 inches accumulation in the Walden and Craig areas does not fair well for driving up there.  Loveland Pass was closed today and probably tomorrow because of avalanches.

High temperature was 51 degrees today.  Winds were 5-6 mph with gusts to 16 mph.  

Today was an Eastern Screech-Owl Day.  Five Screech Owls in all were found.  Three other locations were misses (DeKoevand Park, Marjorie Perry Nature Preserve and a private yard in Denver.  I should note that all owls were staked out (previous sightings).

My day started by finding the resident Eastern Screech-Owl at Ketring Park (Arapahoe).  Then I walked the highline canal from E. Belleview to S. Colorado Blvd, and then took buses back to my car.

Three other Highline Canal sightings (all Arapahoe County) were the Quincy Wildlife Area, Dahlia Tennis Courts and Dahlia Hollow Park.  The fourth owl was observed when I visited a friend who lives near Washington Park (Denver).

Passerines were few today.  The highlight was my first Hermit Thrush of 2019.  It was seen as I tried to photograph a Spotted Towhee in the Dahlia Hollow Park Willow Grove east of the Beaver statue.

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Aurora Reservoir and First Creek

March 6, 2019

Richard Stevens:

High temperature was 39 degrees today.  Winds were 6-7 mph with gusts to 10 mph.

Rebecca and I drove to Aurora Reservoir in the afternoon.  Most of the Lake was snow and ice covered.  The few slivers of open water hosted few waterfowl.  The majority were American Coots with eight Lesser Scaups and six Common Goldeneyes.  The Long-tailed Duck was not spotted as I scoped the Lake five times.

Highlights would be the adult Great Black-backed Gull, two Lesser Black-backed Gulls, at least one California Gull and one Herring Gull.

On the way home, we stopped at First Creek and 56th Avenue.  Two Rusty Blackbirds walked the creek just north of the Bridge.

No Short-eared Owls appeared again this evening as we drove the DIA Owl Loop.

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

An Hour at Cherry Creek Reservoir

March 5, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Terry and I have been wishing for a break in the snowstorms waiting for our first grouse trip of 2019.  Our hope to set new early records has gone.  Still it would be nice to be back on the birding road.

High temperature today was only 32 degrees.  The lack of winds, only 3-4 mph made for a pleasant winter day.

I took an hour out of finishing chores to stop by Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  My usual walk is from the Dixon Grove parking lot, along old Parker Road to the western stream flowing into Augie's Pond.  Then I go over to the eastern stream and down to the pond, returning to my car by walking along the cattails at the south side of the pond.

Today, as I approached the western stream at old Parker Road, the male Rusty Blackbird was searching for bugs about 20 feed south of the drainage pipe.  He walked into the cattails and did not return in 30 minutes.

The female Rusty Blackbird was in the cottonwood above the stream.  She flew about 20 yards south of the drainage and walked the small puddle formed by the stream.

I continued my route, however found the Brown Thrasher around the pond or up at the Smoky Hill Group Picnic Pavilion.

Three Western Bluebirds and two Mountain Bluebirds perched on the cattails along Lake View Road (between the main road and Shop Creek parking area.

No owls were found along the shooting range entrance road.  Half a dozen birders were looking.  I did not stay until dusk.

Monday, March 4, 2019

Birding East of Aurora

March 4, 2019

Richard Stevens:

After spending all day yesterday in the house (high temperature was single digits), I had to get out this afternoon.  High temperature today was 19 degrees.  Winds were 5-7 mph.

The three Rusty Blackbirds made it through the snowstorm.  They were walking along First Creek (Denver) and could be viewed from the 56th avenue Bridge.

Nothing uncommon was found at Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) and I returned home by way of the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver).  No Short-eared Owls appeared 30 minutes either side of sunset.

Saturday, March 2, 2019

A Brief Stop at Cherry Creek Reservoir

March 2, 2019

Richard Stevens:

Before the snowstorm, I went to Walmart and purchased a Black and Decker leaf blower/vacuum ($45).  There was a good 4-5 inches of empty sunflower shells under our feeders.  The vacuum sucked them all up and solved our messy problem!

On the way home, I made a brief detour over to Cherry Creek Reservoir (Arapahoe).  The female type Rusty Blackbird was again along the western stream that flows into Augie's Pond (northwest of the swim beach).  The other Rusty Blackbird was not relocated.

No owls (Barn or Long-eared) were found along the shooting range entrance road this afternoon.  It did start to snow rapidly at 5:00 pm.

To address another problem we had, a birder I met along the High Line Canal last month solved it.  Squirrels continually would climb up the eight foot poles holding up our bird feeders.  I spent hours chasing them down over the years.  

She suggested putting a toy slinky around the pole, hanging it from the feeder.  Squirrels unsuccessfully attempted climbing the poles several times and have not tried since.  If I knew the birder's name, I would offer her great thanks!  $3 at Walmart gave my sanity back!

Friday, March 1, 2019

Wandering East of Barr Lake

March 1, 2019

Richard Stevens:

It was a warm "calm" day before the storm with temperatures to 47 degrees.  Winds 15-16 mph with gusts to 28 mph.  Forecasts are for 4-6 inches of snow in the next two days.

I left home shortly after sunrise in search of owls along the DIA Owl Loop (Adams/Denver).  None was found.  Burrowing Owls should show up any day now.  March 1 is "birders spring" not to be confused with official spring March 20.

A detour over to the First Creek Trail found three Rusty Blackbirds walking along the east and west forks of First Creek, just north of the 56th Avenue Bridge.

Back at Barr Lake, I was not able to relocate the Glaucous Gull reported this morning.  The Bald Eagle count stood at thirty-eight (assorted ages).

A three-hour hike at Banner Lakes Wildlife Area (Weld) was quite interesting.  My owl count was seven Long-eared Owls, two Barn Owls and one Great Horned Owl!

Two Long-eared Owls were in the Pond 3 western windbreak.  Another four were in the windbreak west of Pond 3 and the Canal.  A final Long-eared Owl was in the windbreak west of Pond 7.

A Northern Shrike hunted at the southwest corner of the Wildlife Area.  While a Say's Phoebe flew around the northern parking area.  Misses included the Swamp Sparrow found on my last two visits.

The Great Horned Owl was in the cottonwoods south of Pond 12.

Nothing uncommon was found at Ireland Reservoir #5 and Ireland Reservoir #1.

Four male and two female Great-tailed Grackles flew around the Town of Barr.  A return visit to Barr Lake did not find the Glaucous Gull.  

No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening along the DIA Owl Loop.