Saturday, Dec. 2 Bird Walk to Prospect Park at Wheat Ridge Greenbelt with David Suddjian

December 6, 2023

Today we were reminded we were in Colorado in December. Yes, we had some sunshine and pretty blue skies, but also a biting chill wind picked up as we began; our cheeks, fingers, and toes suffered. Wind makes land birding pretty tough, but our waterbirds may still be enjoyed. It was not so windy yet as we began at Prospect Lake, where hundreds of geese were the dominant theme. They were mostly Cackling Geese (short stature, near vertical forehead, short triangle bill, high barking calls) with great comparisons to the much larger  but less numerous Canada Geese (sloped forehead, long bill, much bigger than Mallards). Prospect Lake also had a pair of Wood Ducks, some Lesser Scaup and a few others.
The winds grew and we dropped down to follow the trail up Clear Creek where there was a bit of shelter. Green-winged Teal added some flair among handsome Mallards and Gadwalls that love the creek, and an American Dipper buzzed in to offer great views! Up at exposed and windy Tabor Lake we found many ducks had sheltered along the west side, including a wonderful assembly of over 120 Hooded Mergansers. Red-breasted Mergansers were also there, along with Pied-billed Grebe, Great Blue Heron, and lots of Shovelers. The heron flew in and flushed the crowd of shovelers from their sheltered shore. The flock flew fast over us, while flocks of Cacklers passed over higher up in other directions, blown to the side in the wind. It was a magical late fall moment. 
December birding brings cold and sometimes wind, but there is great beauty, too. And always some treat awaits us birders who venture out to take a look.

Northern Shoveler & Hooded Merganser © Charles Hundertmark


Write Comment