SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Great Plains Reservoirs (aka Queens)

This afternoon I drove north to a complex of irrigation reservoirs named the Great Plains Reservoirs. These have been known for years by other names like Neeska, Neenoshe as well as Queens Reservoir. Because their purpose is to store water for irrigation use, they have been drained and some are dry due to releases for irrigation of agricultural fields.

At Upper Queens-Neeska Reservoir, I found an Eastern Phoebe. In the small remaining shallow pools of water were a number of shorebirds. Since I only brought my binoculars down to the lake I wasn't able to identify all of them as I need my scope to check plumage. I was able to make out 4-5 Baird's Sandpipers and 20-30 Semi-palmated Sandpipers.

At Upper Queens-Neenoshe Res were a paltry 5 American White Pelicans. This is a low number for this area.

The area we refer to as the Locust Grove (due to a stand of locust trees) I saw a male Ring-necked Pheasant and 5 females in his harem. I also saw 2 Spotted Towhees. The winds were brisk and a thunderstorm was trying to happen so many small landbirds were staying down.

The Queens State Wildlife Area that surrounds these reservoirs was quite productive. Two Swainson's Hawks soared the area. I ran across a flock of 40-50 male Lark Buntings that were migrating back into Colorado and had stopped to feed. I also ran across a migrating flock of about 20 female Yellow-headed Blackbirds in the area. The fields were alive with Vesper, Lark and Chipping Sparrows. A cattle pen produced a number of Common Grackles, big numbers of Brown-headed Cowbirds, some Brewers and Red-winged Blackbirds.

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