Date: 2/28/18 7:18 pm From: DAVID A LEATHERMAN <daleatherman...> Subject: [cobirds] Fort Collins City Park including Sheldon Lake and Grandview Cemetery (Larimer) on 28Feb2018
Great Horned Owl female is on the traditional nest as of today. Two birds seen in a nearby spruce two days ago, so this initiation of egg laying and incubation was anticipated. She may have moved into the nest yesterday. This nest has failed the last two springs so here's hoping for success this year.
Not much else going on at present at the cemetery other than the usuals. No crossbills, no sapsucker, no kinglets, no bushtits of late. Bald Eagles are seen overhead most days. The red Eastern Screech-Owl appears to have been absent for a few weeks at the end of 2017-beginning of 2018. Somewhat surprisingly, it was reported in mid-Feb and activity by small birds all upset on 2/25 makes me believe the bird is back in its original cavity at times but not every day, and not showing itself very much at all. Construction activity in the roost tree area has been problematic and more is scheduled for this spring-summer (part of the cemetery master plan to expand the capacity for deposit of cremains, nothing any of us can do about it), so not sure what the prospects are for this bird. Too bad, because it is a beauty. Those of us lucky enough to have seen it should just be grateful for having had the opportunity.
Pygmy Nuthatches have been seen in the neighborhood east of the cemetery (alley between Grandview Ave and Frey Ave) but they were not present today. Think these are some of the birds that came down into the cemetery late last summer and have been the first to winter in the area in my experience. They have persisted by visiting feeders and getting seeds from Austrian Pine, not a traditional host.
Sheldon Lake in City Park
Lately I have been checking nearby Sheldon Lake at City Park southeast of the cemetery to monitor waterfowl turnover and action related to ice melt and fish kill becoming available to eagles, corvids and gulls. Very surprising today was a RED-NECKED GREBE. Hope it sticks around so more folks can see it. This is first one I have ever seen within Fort Collins proper. Other Red-necked Grebes for me in Larimer County have been at much bigger bodies of water like Hamilton Reservoir near Rawhide Power Plant and Timnath Reservoir. No doubt others have found this species at other water bodies like Fossil Creek Reservoir, etc. The Sheldon bird today was diving for crayfish (for more about birds eating crayfish, see "Colorado Birds" (Vol48 No2, Spring 2014, "The Hungry Bird" column)). I was relieved to see the author included Red-necked Grebe as one of the species know to eat these crustaceans. The best way to view this bird, assuming it sticks for a day or more, is to park on the north side of the lake (one block n of Mulberry Street between Shields and Taft) and walk the paved path that skirts the eastern and south edge of the associated City Park Swimming Pool. Today the bird was east of paddle boat docks that extend from near the southeastern corner of the pool.