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

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Caspian Tern in Upper Arkansas River area

I have been at a Quiet Commotion event (for quiet users of public lands) in Glenwood Springs and took the opportunity on my way home this afternoon to do a little birding in a few upper Arkansas River locations. I first stopped briefly at Twin Lakes just south of Leadville where I saw a few Yellow-rumped Warblers in the sage brush on the shore. I didn't see any waterfowl but didn't drive all the way around the lake.

I next stopped in Buena Vista at a private lake called Ice Lake. Though the owners don't want birders on the private trail around the lake or on the properties, they have said its ok to drive around the lake and bird from the road. I was surprised to find a Caspian Tern flying around the lake. These very large terns have a heavy red bill and complete black crown from nape to bill, even covering their eyes. The size of this tern's bill is evident in the top photo which shows up better by double-clicking on the pic to enlarge it. I took the bottom pic through my spotting scope, a trick that only occasionally produces reasonable photos with my set-up. Caspian Terns are rather uncommon terns in Colorado and especially at this 8,000 foot elevation.

Flying with this tern were 2 Bonapartes Gulls. Other uncommon finds here were 3 Snowy Egrets, about 40 Willets, 1 American Avocet, some Yellow-headed Blackbirds and assorted waterfowl and swallows.

More upper Arkansas River birding in the next post.

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