Date: 3/10/17 8:59 pm From: Ted Floyd <tedfloyd57...> Subject: [cobirds] Black Swan (Cygnus atratus), Weld County, etc.
If I were the most interesting man in the world, I would say:
"I don't go birding in Weld County very often...
...but when I do, I usually see a Colorado lifer."
Thus did I venture this sunny Friday morning, March 10, to an innominate pond off Colorado Hwy 119 just east of Longmont. And what, pray tell, was I doing there? Well, on a lark, and, more to the point, on a tip from Elena Klaver, I went to see a *black swan* she'd discovered a few days earlier. It was immediately clear to me that I wasn't in Boulder County anymore, for the businesses in the general vicinity of the stakeout included the following: Phoenix Weaponry, Longmont Electromagnetic Interference, Smart Start Ignition Interlock, the City of Longmont Police Department Firing Range, and Mountain View Fire Rescue. I am not making this up. I was close enough to Boulder County that I could smell the lattes brewing and incense burning over in Longmont, but, still.
Anyhow, the bird was there, just where Elena had found it. The best viewing--and probably the only legal viewing--is from the terminus of Weld County Road 5, just south of Hwy 119. Park by the gate, have a scope (the pond is large and somewhat distant), and keep an eye on the black helicopters...
The record has already been promptly deleted from eBird's public database. That's messed up. No diss on eBird's hardworking and brilliant Colorado reviewers, they're just doing their job. But this is one where eBird policy is out to lunch. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge fan of--and tireless advocate for--eBird. But on the matter of known or presumed exotics, they're just wrong--at least from any credible biological, statistical, or logical perspective. The swan was there. It was in the environment, cycling nutrients, transferring energy, and interacting with other organisms, as real as any Purple Sandpiper or Rufous-collared Sparrow or other wild bird in Colorado.
Delighted with my find--I mean, Elena's find--I celebrated at a convenience store in Longmont with a 44-oz. Big Gulp (Mountain Dew - Cherry Coke cocktail), which, sometime later this year will have a $4.40 tax added to the cost. Can you say Referendum 2H? Expect me to indulge even more of my vices in Weld County, once the sugar tax kicks in.
Okay, I birded a few spots in Boulder County on the way back down to Lafayette, with the following results:
1. Boulder Creek crossing at Sandstone Ranch, County Line Road. An early *Say phoebe* on the Boulder County side of the line.
2. Panama Rez. A distant *swan sp.*, tundra or trumpeter, ecologically equivalent to the Weld County swan, but judged by eBird to be somehow different. Sorry. Also 2 early-ish *blue-winged teals,* 4 *mountain bluebirds,* 7 *northern pintails,* 2 *American white pelicans,* and a passel of grebes, at least 62 *horned,* 1 *eared,* a couple *pied-billeds,* and 1 distant bird that I think might have been a red-necked; not sure on that one, though.
3. Kenosha Road. *Swan geese, graylag geese, mallard x muscovy, Indian runners,* and more; *Canada geese* and *"northern" mallards* mixed in with them. Got pix and audio. Will eBird explode?
4. Prince Lake No. 2. Still a lot of *cackling geese* hanging on, plus at least 10 *pink ring-billed gulls* on the far (west) shore. Two *bald eagles* in high, soaring courtship flight were impressive.
5. Greenlee Preserve. Another *pink ring-billed gull* and *American bushtits* gratuitously adding to their Brobdingnagian nest.