Sunday, March 30, 2008

Walden Ponds, 3/30

More and more birds are arriving. I had several new birds for the season, and for my BGBY, today. After waking up to a dusting of snow, I thought my hopes for a ride out to Walden Ponds were destroyed. But by lunch time the sun was peeking out and the roads were dry, so I saddled up. I took a route that followed some urban trails (Skunk Creek and Boulder Creek Paths) to Valmont Rd, then east to 75th St. Near the Foothills Parkway underpass, I had my first BGBY bronze COMMON GRACKLE (#84). I went up to the bridge on 75th that crosses Boulder Creek. My friend Ben and I discovered a pair of American Dippers building a nest here last week. Today, the male was sitting on a rock singing away under the bridge.
As soon as I arrived at Cottonwood Marsh, I picked out a few new birds including GREEN-WINGED TEAL(#85), CINNAMON TEAL (#86) and a GREATER YELLOWLEGS (#87). After repositioning for better lighting, I spotted two male BLUE-WINGED TEAL (#88) as well. No snipe or Marsh Wrens were evident, though, so I took a walk out around the perimeter of the ponds. A few small groups of TREE SWALLOWS (#89) were hunting over the ponds and Boulder Creek. When trying to get a better look at a strange dark-morph Red-tailed Hawk, I discovered a series of trails that led down to the creek on the west side of the property. Some great riparian habitat back there that should be productive as spring progresses. I found these two primaries from an intergrade Red-shafted x Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker. I was thrilled to find 2 male, 1 female WOOD DUCK (#90) hiding back there. I was alerted to the presence of a day-roosting Great Horned Owl by a few noisy Black-capped Chickadees. 4 TURKEY VULTURES (#91) floated overhead.
When I arrived back at Cottonwood Marsh, there was a large flock of swallows feeding low over the water. I stared at the flock for a few minutes and was able to pick out 2 CLIFF SWALLOWS (#92) from about 70 Trees. A single WILSON'S SNIPE (#93) was sitting right where it was supposed to be at the edge of the cattails. Another check of the swallows produced a BARN SWALLOW (#94), and the local MARSH WREN (#95) began to chatter near the boardwalk.
Although the sun had come out for about two warm hours, by 5:30 the cold clouds had rolled back in and I packed it up and headed home. I made a quick stop at Legion Park to see the OSPREY (#96) sitting on its nest. An added bonus was a flock of 20 Bohemian Waxwings sitting in a willow tree with fresh spring leaves on the side of Baseline Rd. A healthy 13 new birds!

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