Date: 10/8/18 4:40 pm From: David Ely <mountainplover...> Subject: [cobirds] Metro Lake Birding on Sunday, 10-7 (Western gull, Spraque's Pipit)
On Sunday, 10/7, Steve Mlodinow and I embarked on a tour of some of the large reservoirs around the perimeter of the metro area. We started out at the SW corner of South Platte Reservoir attempting to see the tropical kingbird, which made it's first appearance around 7:10 AM and continued in the area throughout the day.
Next we moved on the Chatfield SP where I haven't been in a number of years and was befuddled to say the least about the current situation and access. We didn't have much of note here and thus, moved on to Platte Canyon Reservoir. A few hooded mergansers and wood ducks were the best birds at that location.
Cherry Creek SP was next and there was an impressive assemblage of passerines near the marina. There wasn't anything exceptional, but there were large numbers of ruby-crowned kinglets, yellow-rumped warblers, orange-crowned warblers, and chipping sparrows. It was great fun to look through. When we were able to turn our attention to the water we noted good numbers of lingering pelicans, snowy egrets, black-crowned night herons, and a sanderling, appropriately on the sand spit just off the dam. I believe a couple of sanderling were first reported the day before. As we worked our way around the lake we picked up a couple of common terns as well as a few Forster's terns (maybe getting late). Best, was a beautiful adult Sabine's gull. It was originally seen at the swim beach near the dam, but moved to the center of the lake by the time we left.
Quincy Reservoir didn't have much, save for a pair of Woodhouse's Scrub-Jays, which seemed a touch out-of-place.
We moved on to Aurora Res., where we had our best birds of the day. While standing on the dam and scoping the 3000+ gulls on the water, we noted a large, dark gull. Our first thoughts were that it was potentially a western gull. We were able to watch the bird fly to a location which was readily accessible for much closer looks and photographs. In surreal fashion, while Steve and I were diligently following the western gull in our scopes, a single Spraque's pipit flew directly overhead and fairly close, calling frequently. We both heard the bird very well for several seconds. Aurora Res. is actually surrounded by very good habitat for the species. At this point we left the dam and we went to the swim beach/marina and were able to find the juv. female western gull nearby in the bay with other gulls. Eventually it flew to the swim beach allowing very close looks and photo opportunities. See checklist here: https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S49055827
We finished the day in the drizzle at Barr Lake SP where there was a goodly number of landbirds around the banding station and HQ. The great crested flycatcher banded a day earlier called several times but went unseen. A few sanderling were the best birds on the lake proper.
Good birding, David Ely, Broomfield Steve Mlodinow, Longmont
P.S. Between meetings and appointments today I was able to see the continuing parasitic jaeger at Lagerman Res. (Boulder county) and vermilion flycatcher at Walden Ponds/Cottonwood Marsh in Boulder.