Sunday, February 3, 2008

Greenlee Preserve and Valmont 2-3-08

With a slew of rare birds around the Boulder area, I headed out in search of rare gulls and sparrows this afternoon. I went out to the Greenlee Preserve in Lafayette. This is a small open space in the midst of houseing developments. There are two small bodies of water and some riparian habitat. A Swamp Sparrow has been hanging out here for quite a while. I arrived at the preserve and soon ran into an active flock of feeder birds. A quick go through didn't produce any odd sparrows. But as soon as I got to the edge of Greenlee Reservoir where Walter Szeliga had the bird in the morning, I heard the SWAMP SPARROW out in the cattails. It called quite a few times and I finally spotted it sitting in a small shrub out in the marsh. Walter also had a White-throated Sparrow here this morning, so I started to beat the bushes. I worked my way slowly down towards Waneka Reservoir. In the brush beside the trail I had a male SPOTTED TOWHEE (#75) scratching about. Out in Waneka, there was a pair of female/imm GREATER SCAUP snoozing with a bunch of Common Mergs and Ring-necked Ducks. As I was headed back towards my bike, I spotted three groups of Bohemian Waxwings flying up from the neighborhood off of Salina St. There were about 120 birds total. Back near where I parked my bike there were a few bird feeders that had lots of activity. The Swamp Sparrow made another appearance here undernieth the feeders on my way out. I found the flock of Bohemians out near a big brown water tank near the corner of Gold Hill Dr and Baseline.
The next stop was at Legion Park overlooking the Valmont Reservoir complex. A whole bunch of rare gulls were found here on Saturday and this morning. When I got up there, several birders were already looking through the quickly growing gull flocks out on the ice on Valmont. Soon, Norm spotted the adult GLAUCOUS GULL. Soon thereafter, we both got on an adult LESSER BLACK-BACKED GULL preening vigorously. More and more birds where streaming in. Norm spotted a group of 1st year gulls way out. There was a 1st winter Herring Gull, a dark 1st winter Kumlien's ICELAND GULL and a 1st winter Thayer's. The Kumlien's was very dark, but paler overall than the Theyer's, with primaries that were the same shade as the body. I later saw this bird flying and it had a paler tail and secondaries than a Thayer's. While watching these young birds, a 1st winter Glaucous flew through my field of view. I couldn't stay on it, but it later showed up in one of the flocks standing off by itself, giving good looks. Later on I picked up another adult Lesser Black-backed. No sign of the reported Great Black-backed.
Total: 79

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