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Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Bear Creek Lake Park - Jefferson County
Aliases:
Ownership: None Listed
Description: (Submitted by Mike Henwood) Lakewood's BCLP ($4 daily fee or annual pass) includes numerous trails along wooded riparian habitat (Bear Creek and Turkey Creek), across flat short grass prairie dotted with prairie dog colonies, among hilly short grass prairie interspersed with wetland drainages, and a trail around Bear Creek Reservoir (144 surface acres). A multiple use Trail Map and a Bird Checklist (over 150 species) are available at the entrance or at the Park Visitor Center.

Spring/Fall Migration – Park in the southeast corner of the parking lot above Pelican Point. Walk the east and north side of the parking lot to the pavilion and beginning of the Fitness Trail. Bird the trees and bushes around this area and then take the Cottonwood Trail around the lake and west along Bear Creek to the end of the Fitness Trail, where you can make a circle and take the Fitness Trail back to #1 and your starting point. During migration periods you can turn up several new songbird species daily. Some of the more unusual sightings have been Bobolink, Eastern Phoebe, Cassin's and Clay-colored Sparrows, and MacGillivray's, Nashville, and Worm-eating Warblers. This loop will turn up interesting breeding birds in late May/early June such as Lazuli Bunting, Blue-gray Gnatcatcher, Gray Catbird and Yellow-breasted Chat. The area south of the parking lot and north of Turkey Creek can also be productive.

Bear Creek Reservoir – Bird from Pelican Point, paying close attention to the inlets and coves along the west side of the lake. Some of the more interesting water birds have included an Ancient Murrelet, Horned Grebe, Barrow's Goldeneye, White-faced Ibis, and White Pelicans. The Reservoir can also be birded by parking at Mountain View and walking along the paved path on the east side. This is advisable in winter when much of the lake is frozen. There is usually a good variety of ducks in the spring and fall, and Black-crowned Night Herons are possible breeders in the area.

Bear Creek and Turkey Creek riparian woodlands – There are trails along both sides of Bear Creek and Turkey Creek which provide good birding any time of year. The park supports 3-4 pairs of Great Horned Owls and several pairs of Red-tailed Hawks which nest along the drainages as well as Kestrels and in some years Cooper's Hawks. A pair of Swainson's Hawks nested in the park in 2004.

Mountain View and Coyote Gulch – These open grassland areas provide good birding for open country migrants such as falcons, bluebirds, kingbirds, shrikes, Sage Thrashers, Say's Phoebe, and sparrows in March/April and August/early Sept. Check the light pole at the end of the road adjacent to the Fox Hollow Golf Course for Peregrine and Prairie Falcons as well as Kestrels. The marsh up Coyote Gulch has both Virginia and Sora rails. Soras wintered there during the winter of 2004-05.

Auto Loop and Bad Weather Birding – Driving the roads can be a productive way to bird the park after a snowstorm. Many of the birds will be close to the edge of the plowed roadway after a snowstorm. Spring snowstorms will especially yield some early migrants such as Mountain and Western Bluebirds, Shrikes and Say's Phoebe.

Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian, Grassland/Prairie, Marsh
Elevation:
Directions: From C-470 and Morrison Road (CO 8), go east on Morrison Road approximately 0.25 miles to the Bear Creek Lake Park entrance.
Restrictions/Hazards:
Other Wildlife:
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CBRC Records from Bear Creek Lake Park

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Ancient Murrelet2004-67 11/8/2004
Brambling2012-192 11/19/2012 - 11/22/2012
Cassin's Sparrow2004-538/22/2004