Thursday, December 12, 2019

Aurora Reservoir, First Creek Trail & Barr Lake

December 12, 2019

Today felt colder than yesterday with a high temperature of 49 degrees.  Winds of 12-13 mph with gusts to 22 mph made it feel even colder.

I returned to Aurora Reservoir (Arapahoe) and circled the 8.7 mile path with my bike.  Target bird/question, is the Yellow-billed Loon still around?

I carried a smaller Nikon Scope and light tripod instead of my heavy Vortex Scope and stopped to scope the Lake every 0.5 miles.  After many stops, I concluded that the Yellow-billed Loon is no longer on the Lake.

Highlights included the Pacific Loon found yesterday (off mile 4.5), the adult Lesser Black-backed Gull (lower parking area), 2nd winter Lesser Black-backed Gull (Lone Tree Cove) and a Mew Gull (Lone Tree Cove).

No uncommon geese or waterfowl were encountered.  Several dozen Snow Geese (two Blue phase) were among tens of hundreds of White-cheeked Geese.  

My next stop was the First Creek Trail, which I walked from the eastern 56th avenue bridge (Denver) across Buckley Road and continued to the eastern Rocky Mountain Arsenal fence line.

No Rusty Blackbirds appear to be around this year.  Sparrows were scarce; only a handful of White-crowned Sparrows and two Song Sparrows counted.  Dark-eyed Juncos were the majority bird.  Two Red-tailed Hawks circled over Adams County section.

I spent 30 minutes or so trying to relocate the Harris's Sparrow Rebecca and I had found in the high weeds south of 56th avenue and the horse corrals; without success.

Continuing north, I scoped Barr Lake (Adams) from the Niedrach Boardwalk and the boat ramp.  No Tundra Swans were found.  The Bald Eagle count was 38 birds of various ages.

Various common ducks were obscured by thousands of Common Mergansers swimming on the Lake.  Nothing uncommon could be separated from the horde.

I did find one Long-eared Owl in surrounding windbreaks.  No Short-eared Owls appeared this evening along the DIA Owl Loop.  I parked along West Cargo Road at 0.2 miles south of Third Creek.  One Ferruginous Hawk, two Red-tailed Hawks and an adult Bald Eagle flew by before sunset.

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