Date: 4/4/17 9:56 am
From: David Suddjian <dsuddjian...>
Subject: [cobirds] Park County Apr 3
The scenery in Park County is spectacular. There are places in the northern
part of South Park where the array of peaks around two thirds of the
compass is simply sublime: Twin Cones, Rosalie, Evans, Bierstadt,
Squaretop, Landslide, Red Cone, Whale, Glacier, Guyot, Boreas, Bald,
Silverheels, Democrat, Sheridan, Peerless, Horseshoe, Weston, Buffalo,
Yale, Princeton, and so on. After a while, with the sun shifting through
clouds to highlight snow-blanketed peaks in a blaze of glory, it almost
becomes too much to take in any more. Enough. I'm full up.

And the birds were good, too.

Starting down at the southeast corner of the county along CRs 102, 100, 71
and Doe Valley Road (a really fun birding road) there were chugging *Wilson's
Snipes* (my imitation still works to draw them into view), *Pinyon
Jays*, *Northern
Goshawk*, a few *Evening Grosbeaks*, my 2 first of season *Red-breasted
Sapsuckers*, 6 flying *Sandhill Cranes*, *Loggerhead Shrike*, a migrating
*Osprey*, an early *Vesper Sparrow*, and a tide of drumming and
squawking *Williamson's
Sapsucker*-- eBird still has these as filtered for the date, but I had over
36 Williamson's this day. Of interest were *Spotted Towhees* and *Woodhouse's
Scrub-Jays* on a slope along a road off Doe Valley Road with Gambel oak.
Both species are pretty local in Park, and this is a "new" area, which will
likely yield another county spot for Virginia's Warbler if I go back in the
late spring.

Lake George had an early *Lincoln's Sparrow* along the South Platte near
Hwy 24, and a pair of *Am. Dippers* there was adding to a nest under the
highway bridge. The lake itself had a nice pile of several hundred ducks of
13 species, but Yellow-headed Blackbirds and Great-tailed Grackles were
missing, perhaps not yet arriven.

Eleven Mile Reservoir was great, if windy and cold. Among the rarer
highlights were 1 *Snow Goose*, 1 male *Red-breasted Merganser*, 1
female *Hooded
Merganser*, 1 alternate *Common Loon*, 1 alternate *Red-necked Grebe*,
1 *Peregrine
Falcon*, 1 *Osprey*, 2 *Bald Eagles*, and 2 early *Sage Thrashers*. The
rookery island in the southeast part of the lake had lots of activity.
Estimates and counts of three breeding species were: 1400 *California Gulls*
(100% adults, lots pairs hanging out, and a few carrying nest material),
180 *Double-crested Cormorants* (quite a few on nests), and 23 *Great Blue
Herons* (some loafing on nests). *American White Pelican*, which nested
there last year (first time?) was not at the island, but 7 pelicans were
elsewhere at the reservoir. Among returning grebes were 3 *Westerns Grebes *and
1 *Pied-billed Grebe*.

Other waterbird counts from Eleven Mile: *Canada Goose *(88), *Gadwall*
(3985), *Am. Wigeon* (44), *Mallard* (48), *Cinnamon Teal* (6), *Nor.
Shoveler *(153), *Green-winged Teal *(8), *Nor. Pintail* (11), *Canvasback*
(16), *Redhead* (775), *Ring-necked Duck* (330), *Greater Scaup* (22), *Lesser
Scaup *(1665), *Scaup sp.* (420), *Bufflehead* (790), *Common Goldeneye *(900),
*Common Merganser* (57), *Ruddy Duck* (750), *Am. Coot* (3300), 1 *American
Avocet*, *Franklin's Gull* (2), and *Ring-billed Gull* (4).

The two *Bald Eagles* were both molting, motley-looking young birds working
more or less together to harry flocks of coots that pulled into tight knots
on the water to avoid the eagles. Eventually, one eagle caught one coot and
took it over to the shore to dine, while a hopeful *Turkey Vulture* swung
in to see if it could share.

Spinney Mountain Reservoir had fewer waterbirds (still several 1000s) and
harder viewing, with a similar species mix to Eleven Mile, but nothing
unusual that I saw.

The saline pond along CR 59 near Mineral Road (north of Spinney) had 2 *Tundra
Swans* (adult and imm.). The pond along the Middle Fork of the South Platte
near CR 59 had 14 *Am. White Pelicans*, 1 *Greater Yellowlegs*, and a lot
of ducks. An early (for Park) *Say's Phoebe* had returned to a nest site in
an abandoned house along CR 59. Other ponds I looked at between Hartsel and
Jefferson all had good numbers of ducks, with 2 *Sandhill Cranes* at CR 34
Pond giving a highlight.

*American Dippers* were working on a nest at he Highway 9 bridge over the
Middle Fork of the South Platte, southeast of Fairplay, and way out in the
middle of South Park, away from the mountains.

Misc notes: lingering *Rough-legged Hawk* near Jefferson; *Am. Three-toed
Woodpecker* near Kenosha Pass Pond; eager *Wilson's Snipe* at the 10,000
foot elevation Kenosha Pass Pond even though it was 95% ice still;
early *Savannah
Sparrow* near Eleven Mile Res.; just three *Western Meadowlarks* for the
day... still mostly yet to come.

David Suddjian
Ken Caryl Valley
Littleton, CO
Tundra Swans along CR 59

Greater Yellowlegs along CR 59

Snow Goose at Eleven Mile

Poor image, but two Bald Eagles harassing a tight flock of coots

Sandgill Cranes at CR 34

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