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A Winter Sampling

December 6, 2005

I made my first-ever venture down to Chatfield Reservoir south of Denver today. My hope was to get there before the bad weather set in, and try to re-find the Yellow-billed Loon and Black Scoter seen there last Sunday. But I was too late, and not bundled up enough, and the bitter cold wind kept me from doing a real search of the water. Bummer.

Mystery Goose amid Canadas, Dec 6, 2005Still, I got a couple decent bird photos out of it, so it wasn’t all for naught. Here’s a bird that I first thought was a “bluish” Snow Goose, but may actually be a partial albino or a mystery hybrid. (Any thoughts? Feel free to comment, I’m open to suggestions.) I found it hanging with some Canadas in a field west of the reservoir.

While driving to the boat ramp on the north end, I spotted a California Gull hunkered down alone in the middle of a parking lot. Wouldn’t have been my first choice for roosting spot, but hey, it’s not my call.

California Gull, Dec 6, 2005

Northern Flicker, Dec 6, 2005I headed home not long after that. When I got there, I came upon a grateful Northern Flicker at my suet feeder, on the coldest day we’ve had so far this season. Memo to myself – next time I want to do cold weather birding, wear thicker gloves. Fingers that get numb after 5 minutes do not help you find rare birds.

Update (8:20pm): I removed the “Snow Goose” ID in lieu of something more indeterminate for the time being.

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