Crown Hill Park/Lake/Cemetery
- Jefferson County
Aliases: Arvada Cemetery, Maple Grove Reservoir, Kestrel Pond
Ownership: None Listed
Description: Crown Hill Lake, in the park of the same name, is a good place to look for geese and for diving ducks, including Red-breasted Mergansers, in winter. Mew Gull has shown up also. On the north side of the park are a couple of groves worth birding. One is the fenced Wildlife Preserve around Kestrel Pond in the northwest corner of the property, which is closed to protect nesting birds from March to June. During the closure, the only access to this area is during guided nature walks scheduled by Jefferson County Open Space. Several blocks east of here is a shelterbelt of mature cottonwoods and underbrush, best accessed from a small roadside pullout on the south side of 32nd Avenue near Estes. This shelterbelt should be checked in spring and fall for migrant landbirds.
East of the park and the lake is the massive Crown Hill Cemetery. Bird the evergreens in winter hoping for irruptive species like crossbills, Carduelis finches, Evening and Pine Grosbeaks, and Bohemian Waxwing. Warblers may come through in spring and fall.
Another cemetery to check when you are in the area is the Arvada Cemetery about two miles north. Smaller, more secluded and (ironically) much "hillier" than Crown Hill, the Arvada Cemetery has an okay number of evergreens of varying sizes.
If waterbirds are your goal, a side trip to the medium-sized, steep-sided Maple Grove Reservoir may be of minor interest. 26th Street west of Crown Hill Lake will take you over the Maple Grove dam in 1.5 miles. The reservoir can be scanned from a couple of residential side streets, but the best option may be to park in Chester Portsmouth Park below the dam and walk back over it to scan.
Habitat: Park/Cemetery, Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
Directions: The park and the cemetery together take up a third of a section of land, stretching from Kipling in the west to Wadsworth on the east between 26th and 32nd Avenues in Wheat Ridge, two miles south of the Kipling and Wadsworth exits off I-70. Access to the lake is from 26th; there are two parking lots just east of Kipling. Access to the cemetery is from Wadsworth. Access to the northwest corner of the park, where Kestrel Pond is located, is via roadside parking on the south side of 32nd just east of Kipling. To get to the Arvada Cemetery, take Kipling north about three miles from Crown Hill (that is, a mile north of I-70 exit 267) to 58th Avenue. Turn right (east) on 58th and right (south) on Independence. The entrance to the cemetery is on the right (west) at the top of the hill.