South Platte Park, December 3, with Chuck Aid

It was a bit nippy on Saturday morning as fifteen of us began surveying for birds at South Platte Park. Fortunately, the wind wasn’t blowing, the sun eventually made itself known, and by late morning it was gorgeous out. As for the birds, we tallied 39 species (see list below), and found ourselves pretty continuously occupied working on our identifications.

Among the highlights were the Hooded Mergansers that seemed to be everywhere with the males often raising their spectacular crests. We were also lucky to see three Wood Ducks sitting atop a large midstream boulder in the South Platte. The rare finding for the morning was a single Ruby-crowned Kinglet hanging out with some Black-capped Chickadees. We were fortunate in seeing three species of sparrows: American Tree Sparrow, White-crowned Sparrow, and Song Sparrow (photos courtesy of Bill Schmoker).  The White-crowned Sparrow photo is of a juvenile as we tend to see far more of them this time of year.


And we were additionally fortunate in seeing four species of raptors: Sharp-shinned Hawk, Bald Eagle, Red-tailed Hawk, and American Kestrel.

Overall, we didn’t see anything unexpected, but we were fortunate in seeing the diversity of the regularly occurring winter species that we did. Birds I had hoped for that we did not see were Long-tailed Duck and Greater Scaup. We also missed on a few of the more common species such as Common Merganser, Great-horned Owl, Blue Jay, and Dark-eyed Junco.

Finally, I hope that you all will find a Christmas Bird Count in which to participate. Here’s a link to all the areas in Colorado with contact info.

Happy Holidays!  Chuck

South Platte Park, Dec 3, 2016

39 species

Canada Goose (Branta canadensis)  527

Wood Duck (Aix sponsa)  3

Gadwall (Anas strepera)  23

American Wigeon (Anas americana)  2

Mallard (Anas platyrhynchos)  34

Northern Shoveler (Anas clypeata)  119

Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca)  6

Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris)  3

Lesser Scaup (Aythya affinis)  2

Bufflehead (Bucephala albeola)  36

Common Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula)  15

Hooded Merganser (Lophodytes cucullatus)  29

Ruddy Duck (Oxyura jamaicensis)  2

Pied-billed Grebe (Podilymbus podiceps)  7

Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias)  1

Sharp-shinned Hawk (Accipiter striatus)  1

Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus)  2

Red-tailed Hawk (Buteo jamaicensis)  3

American Coot (Fulica americana)  36

Killdeer (Charadrius vociferus)  1

Ring-billed Gull (Larus delawarensis)  13

Rock Pigeon (Feral Pigeon) (Columba livia (Feral Pigeon))  15

Eurasian Collared-Dove (Streptopelia decaocto)  1

Belted Kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon)  1

Downy Woodpecker (Picoides pubescens)  1

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)  8

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)  2

Black-billed Magpie (Pica hudsonia)  5

American Crow (Corvus brachyrhynchos)  55

Black-capped Chickadee (Poecile atricapillus)  11

Ruby-crowned Kinglet (Regulus calendula)  1

American Robin (Turdus migratorius)  8

European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)  130

American Tree Sparrow (Spizelloides arborea)  5

White-crowned Sparrow (Zonotrichia leucophrys)  17

Song Sparrow (Melospiza melodia)  4

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)  1

House Finch (Haemorhous mexicanus)  23

American Goldfinch (Spinus tristis)  2