November 12, 2022 Bird Walk to Lagerman Reservoir with Patrick Morgan

November 26, 2022

The Boulder Front Range Birding Company November walk was held at Lagerman Reservoir on November 12 at 8:00 am. The morning was a little frigid, with the temperature in the 20s and a frozen reservoir shoreline. 5 intrepid birders showed up to brave the cold, though we weren’t the only ones. Two other birding groups were there, along with a running group. We joked that there might be more observers than birds at the park this morning. 

Looking south across the reservoir with the sun right in your face can make viewing the birds on the water somewhat difficult, so we aimed to make it to the south shore of the reservoir to get a better view. Viewing backlit birds can be a good test of identification skills, however, and we used some of these skills to identify some Buffleheads, Ruddy Ducks, and the ubiquitous American Coots that frequent the reservoir in the winter months. 

Female Ruddy Duck. Photo by Jamie Simo

While we were on the western shore, we noticed multiple Killdeer flying around. These were the only shorebirds that we were seeing, but then we noticed one that was quite smaller in size. The sunlight was making a confirming id difficult, but we were able to narrow in on a Least Sandpiper. The small “peep” had a slightly down-turned bill and greenish yellow legs, good identifiers for this shorebird. They can be pretty rare this time of year, but this one seems to have been hanging out at the reservoir for a couple of weeks. 

Least Sandpiper. Photo by Jamie Simo

As we continued on to the south shore, we noticed multiple juvenile Bald Eagles flying around. There is a nest south of the reservoir, barely visible with the naked eye, so these ones could be offspring of that nested pair, but they could also be winter migrants that move into the area in the winter. We noticed them flying low to the ground west of the reservoir, along with multiple Black-billed Magpies and two Ferruginous Hawks. There must have been some type of carcass over there, as a couple of Bald Eagles stayed perched on the fence over there for the duration of our walk. 

Snow Goose. Photo by Jamie Simo

We finally made it to the south shore after walking less than a mile in about an hour and a half (you tend to not make it very far when the birds are flying around!) and decided that we would view the birds from here and then turn around. We could spot Northern Pintails, Redheads, and Lesser Scaups, but we were most amazed by the flocks of geese flying overhead. This time of year is great to view geese, as thousands of them come down from the north and congregate on the various reservoirs in the area. Most of what we saw were Canada and Cackling Geese, which when flying overhead can be pretty difficult to distinguish. What really excited us was a group of about 12 Snow Geese that flew over the reservoir. After watching the birds flying around and on the water we decided to head back to the trailhead. 

Hope to see you next month for our December Bird Walk!

Taxa Reported 

13 Snow Geese

500 (est) Cackling/Canada

8 Mallard

7 Northern Pintail

5 Green-winged Teal

7 Lesser Scaup

8 Bufflehead

3 Common Goldeneye

6 Ruddy Duck

30 American Coot

4 Killdeer

1 Least Sandpiper

3 Ring-billed Gull

1 Northern Harrier

4 Bald Eagle

1 Red-tailed Hawk

2 Ferruginous Hawk

1 American Kestrel

4 Black-billed Magpie

2 Common Raven

3 American Tree Sparrow

2 Western Meadowlark


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