Date: 2/17/18 7:44 pm From: William H Kaempfer <William.Kaempfer...> Subject: [cobirds] Kiowa County plus
Wind in the Indian Peaks (gusts forecast to 80 MPH) changed my plans today, and I headed south east. I drove out to the Arriba area and managed to pick out a couple of Lapland Longspurs among the dozens of Horned Larks along CR 3E. Then I headed south through the brown parched landscape. Things were pretty much birdless other than more Horned Larks and an occasional raptor-mainly Norther Harriers, but one Golden Eagle and one Prairie Falcon on the road from Arriba to Boyero. Interestingly, I saw no Rough-legged Hawks today once I was beyond the eastern edge of the metro area.
Things changed when I pushed south past Eads. From a high point along US 287 it was obvious that Neenoshe Reservoir was full of water (either that or a mirage to make the French Foreign Legions' mouths water!). It was actual water, and the most I've seen in this spot since the mid-1980s (unfortunately, dating myself). I would estimate that the shoreline was extended by at least ½ mile in all directions around the lake from when I was last there in May 2017. For instance at that time you could drive way in along the outlet canal in the SE corner of the reservoir. Today, you couldn't get more than 100 feet off CR E. In other words, the lake pretty much extends to the limit of the blue if you look at hotspot map for the site on eBird. Compare the map function with the satellite function and you'll see what I mean.
Well, all that water meant lots of birds, several thousand. I confess to undercounting all of the duck and gull species out there (and probably missing something rare), but it was pretty awesome. Fortunately, both Steve Mlodinow and David Dowell were in Kiowa County today, so I'm expecting to hear the bad news of just what I missed from their reports later! I will note that I had a FOS Cinnamon Teal as a nice harbinger of spring. In any event, I expect the Great Plains Reservoirs will be well worth exploring this spring.