Date: 6/19/18 1:02 pm From: William H Kaempfer <William.Kaempfer...> Subject: [cobirds] Morgan Playas
I remember flying into DIA three years ago and noticing from the air several large playas somewhere between Prewitt Reservoir and Jackson Reservoir. I decided to do some exploring and in Mid-August 2015 I was able to track the spots down overland. It wasn't very difficult, really, in fact I think I had seen one of them once before while driving down CO 71 toward Brush. The three large playas (and a few smaller ones) had lots of water, but sufficient shoreline to host large numbers of shorebirds and waterfowl. One nice feature is that Morgan County roads ran right next to these playas, in fact right through one of them. The three spots are at CO 71 and MCR JJ, MCR 26 and JJ, and MCR 23 and HH.
Over the next couple of years, the water gradually dried up and became more saline. Bird lists dropped from total species lists in the 30s to 20s, teens to single digits. But there were still some surprises-how about the Snowy Plovers with chicks that Kathy Mihm Dunning and David Dowell have photo documentation for? Right now the three playas have eBird hot spot lists of 106, 103 and 85 species, of which shorebirds account for 19, 20 and 20 species.
So why all this field ornithology history right now? Well, two reasons. Have you tracked the weather in the past week? Last night's storm dropped a band of 4 to 6 inches or rain basically right over these playas. While I wouldn't urge anyone to race out there right now-the roads are probably impassable at the present, my guess is that the playas have been nicely refreshed with the recent rains. Second, while it is technically not summer yet, southbound shorebird migration is actually starting. So plan a trip to Morgan County this summer and bring your scope for some shorebird study.