Date: 4/7/17 8:04 pm From: Tom Wilberding <twilberding...> Subject: [cobirds] Waterton Canyon, Jeffco & Douglas
Today Barb and I biked 6.5 miles up Waterton Canyon alongside the South
Platte River, sometimes on the Jefferson County side, sometimes on the
Douglas County side. Our first time there, loved it. Wild plum, very
fragrant, in bloom along the river. Siberian elms green with samaras. Saw a
pair of Say’s phoebes (what were they doing in a canyon?), golden eagle,
Western bluebird, Townsend’s solitaire, belted kingfishers, lots of spotted
towhees, heard canyon wrens. And lots of bighorn sheep, including rams with
BIG horns. And fly fishermen, who knew exactly what flies were hatching out
of the river today.
Enjoyed close views of several pairs of common mergansers, a.k.a.
goosander, saw tooth, *mergus merganser*. I’m used to seeing this species
in big flocks on large reservoirs. Surprising to see them on a narrow river
in a mountain canyon. “Do they have enough room to take off?” One male
sailed through whitewater like a kayak. The pairs were all on large rocks
mid-stream, looking rather cozy and romantic.
Wikipedia says: “Nesting is normally in a tree cavity, so it requires
mature forest as its breeding habitat. In places devoid of trees (like
Central Asian mountains), they use holes in cliffs and steep, high banks.”
Lots of cliffs and steep, high banks in Waterton Canyon. Do they nest there?