Spring Bird Census

The annual spring bird count was conducted at South Platte Park this morning, a swath of ponds, meadows and riparian woodlands along the South Platte River in Littleton, Colorado.  Setting out from the Interpretive Center by 7AM, the groups endured chilly air and a dense gray overcast, hoping to complete our counts before more heavy rain descended on the valley.

My partner and I were assigned to woodlands and wetlands east of the river.  On our two hour tour, house wrens, tree swallows, American robins, mourning doves and red-winged blackbirds were the most abundant species, followed by mallards, Canada geese, great blue herons, northern flickers, yellow warblers, killdeer, western wood pewees, black-capped chickadees, western kingbirds and white-breasted nuthatches.  Individual sightings included an American kestrel, a spotted sandpiper, a wood duck, a northern oriole and a Say's phoebe.

Though the weather was threatening, the trails were muddy and the sightings were far from exceptional, strolling through that riverine ecosystem was, as always, an enjoyable and rewarding experience.  Besides, until we completed our loop (just before the rain arrived), we remained vigilant for rare migrants and residents, an exercise that, while futile, fueled our enthusiasm.