Date: 5/15/19 8:15 am From: Kevin <kevdeboer...> Subject: [cobirds] Wheat Ridge Greenbelt - JeffCo (Rose-breasted Grosbeak RFI Response)
I've been walking Wheat Ridge as often as possible over the last couple months. Sometimes I shoot out there at first light and bird up until I have to get over to my office and other days I'll go for a lunch hour walk. I typically start over at West Lake and work my way in a loop over to the Prospect Lake bridge then circle back. I'll also sometimes venture over to the west side of 70, but that area has seemed to be less birdy with all of the construction going on.
I birded for the *Rose-breasted Grosbeaks* multiple times after they were first reported without any luck, then finally came across a female yesterday. I was walking the trail back into the wooded area east of the fence across the creek from Prospect Lake. After about 100 yards the fence turns back west away from the trail and about 100 feet after that I walked into a big group of warblers. The grosbeak wasn't moving much and wasn't calling, but I ended up catching it in my binoculars at one point when chasing down a warbler. It was up high in a tree on the west side of the trail picking food off of the leaves. It was back behind some leaves so I tried some quick pishing that it didn't care at all for. After growing a little impatient I tried some playback for both grosbeak species and didn't get a response to that either. After sitting there another 5 minutes and losing the bird behind leaves multiple times it finally popped out onto an open branch so I could confirm that it was indeed a rose-breasted.
*Shorebirds* haven't been as easy to come by this year, but if I'm seeing anything unusual it's typically in the morning. By the lunch hour I'm guessing the mix of dogs and people have scared off anything that may have wanted to stick around, unless it's raining of course! The mud flat on the south side of West Lake looks so good for Plovers, but it's really rare for me to see anything other than *Killdeer* and *Spotted Sandpiper*s.
The colder temperatures that we've had most of the month so far were keeping a lot of the *Warblers* along the creek, mostly from the Youngfield parking lot east to the first bridge, then again along the length of the Prospect Lake parking lot. The warmer weather over the last couple days has seemed to allow the birds to move around a little more. A pair of *Common Yellowthroats* have been hanging out around the Bass Lake boardwalk. *Yellow Warbler*s are calling throughout the area. *Orange-crowned*s are piling up in the wooded area east of the fence across the creek from Prospect Lake. I had my lowest number of *Yellow-rumped*s of the year this morning, so it seems they're moving on, which makes things a lot less birdy, but should provide more opportunity to "bird every bird" in hopes of finding those less common migrants.
I recently had a pair of *Swainson's Thrushes* along the small creek south of Clear Creek about halfway between Bass Lake and Prospect Lake. I had a *Gray Flycatcher* catching bugs one morning on the west side of Prospect Lake. A pair of *Cinnamon Teal* are still hanging out - most recently in the river. I had a male *Wood Duck* in West Lake this morning. I've come across at least 4 *Bullock's Oriole's *nests, 3 *Flicker *nests, 2 *Tree Swallow *nests, 2 *Starling *nests, and a *Cooper's Hawk* nest. It also appears that there are at least 2 pairs of *Black-crowned Night-heron*'s, 2 pairs of *Great Blue Herons* and multiple pairs of *Canada Geese* nesting on the island of Tabor Lake
*Flycatchers* have been really slow this year, or I'm just not walking at the right times of the day. I've only had 2 empids and the Gray Flycatcher mentioned above.
The area doesn't prove to be one of the best for *Sparrows *but I've found *Lincoln's* in a few spots this year. *Chipping* have been all over in large flocks. I had some *Lark *and *Vesper* earlier in the season west of 70 on both sides of the pond.
For the most part the morning birding is by far superior to the early afternoon birding, although I'm noticing that flycatchers and warblers are much less active in the morning. I typically have to leave by around 7 to get to work, so by 8 things are probably picking up a little better. Weather has been playing a huge part in the birds as well, as I'm sure it is everywhere else. The only fall-out type conditions I've seen were with Pipits with the snow a couple weeks ago, but cold snaps and rain almost always produce something new and different. The species of birds are definitely changing as the month goes on, but these nice warm days aren't nearly as productive!