City Park Rookery and Stearns Lake

Rookery at Denver City Park
Visiting the Denver City Park Rookery is a bit like going to the zoo.  Walk in and see birds, guaranteed.

Probably 100+ nests are on a small island close to the shore. No binoculars are needed, but with their help we were occasionally able to see pretty blue eggs in some of the nests.

Two hours flew by while we observed and photographed Double-crested Cormorants, plus two new birds for our life list: Snowy Egrets and Black-crowned Night Herons.

Black-crowned Night Heron
The funky little Night Herons often flew directly over our heads, repeatedly gathering nesting materials. We had to laugh at their considerable determination in biting off tree branches, while awkwardly straining to keep their balance. No doubt they were motivated by the possibility of mating should the female accept his twig. The only juvenile in sight reminded me of another bird we've yet to see: the American Bittern.

Somewhat less active, the Snowy Egrets were fun to watch in their flowing plumage and unique "golden slippers."

A crazy number of images later, we dragged ourselves away from the show, stopping at Stearn's Lake to check out a report of a Black-necked Stilt sighting. Just before reaching the lake I noticed a farmer's pond and, there among other migratory waders was our Stilt! Not to be confused with the endangered Black Stilt we saw in New Zealand, the Black-necked Stilt is classified as a Species of Least Concern. We watched it foraging among the other waders then walked over to nearby Stearns Lake.

Black-necked Stilts (right)

Western Grebes at Stearns Lake
Many Western Grebes were out in the middle of the lake, a Great Blue Heron moved in and out of the reeds, and a couple of white dots on the distant shore proved to be egrets. When we got around to the other side, we discovered not only one Great Egret and two Snowy Egrets, but also a Black-crowned Night Heron.

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