Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Wind Herding

As one who has been birding for many years, I know that strong winds and heavy rain are the two weather factors that most often keep birds inactive and out of sight.  On the other hand, a steady wind often concentrates our quarry, encouraging them to forage in sheltered areas.

This morning, at South Platte Park, a strong northwest wind raked the valley and I clearly noticed the herding effect described above.  The waterfowl congregated along the western and northern shores of Eaglewatch Lake, almost negating the need for binoculars.  Songbirds gathered in the same regions, sheltered from the wind by the reservoir levee and by a housing development north of the lake.  Of course, we birders find those areas more pleasant as well, bathed in sunshine yet protected from the chilling effect of the wind.

Among this morning's highlights were a common loon, two horned grebes (in breeding plumage), blue-winged teal (just beginning to populate the Front Range), a greater yellowlegs and a few yellow-rumped warblers.  Though I hoped to see double-crested cormorants, American white pelicans and an osprey or two, none were encountered on this windy morning.