Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Upcoming talk by Beth Fitzpatrick

Our next fall speaker is Beth Fitzpatrick, a PhD candidate at the University of Wyoming who studies the effect of development on Greater Sage-Grouse. Please join us for her talk entitled "Using Science to Solve Problems: Planning Future Restoration for Long-term Persistence of a Species" this coming Wednesday, 29 September. The talk will begin at 7 pm at the Berry Center auditorium, but refreshments and mingling will start at 6:30 pm.

For a sneak peek, here is Beth's description of her work:
"This research focuses on the effect of development on genetic connectivity of Great Sage-Grouse leks. Leks are found at specific locations within sagebrush habitat and many habitat or landscape characteristics may influence those locations. Development is known to increase the likelihood of lek abandonment and has been associated with sage-grouse population declines. One process that helps breeding sites persist is dispersal of offspring to different lek sites. This can be assessed by measuring gene flow or connectivity between pairs of breeding sites. Certain habitat and landscape characteristics may also be associated with successful dispersal. Habitat and landscape characteristics found to influence connectivity of leks can then be used to predict how connectivity of leks might change with development or restoration of sagebrush habitat. This will allow both land managers and developers to make decisions on where to prioritize restoration efforts."

Beth's blog has more info on the project and great documentation of her adventures with sage-grouse.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Upcoming field trip: Plains Lakes and Hutton NWR

Tim Banks will lead a second Hutton Lake NWR and Plains Lakes trip this Saturday, October 18th. There are tons of waterfowl on the lakes this time of year! There could be rare gulls, or jaegers! Meet at 8:00 am at Night Heron Books to caffeinate and carpool. This trip usually lasts until 1 or 2 pm, but feel free to join us for only part of the time--though you may need to drive your own vehicle.

All Laramie Audubon field trips are free and open to the public; families are welcome. Bring water and snacks, binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, and dress for the worst weather.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Upcoming Field Trip: Laramie Hotspots!

Clay-colored Sparrow © Shawn Billerman
Join us this Saturday, October 4th for a morning outing to some of Laramie's birding hotspots, including the Greenbelt Trail, Optimist Park, and Greenhill Cemetery. If we have time, we will also stop to scan the pond at LaBonte Park for migrant waterbirds. Join field trip leader Shawn Billerman as we search for migrant songbirds, with a strong focus on sparrows and lingering warblers. Other potential birds we could find include sapsuckers, finches, kinglets, and nuthatches.

Meet downtown at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse at 8AM where we will caffeinate and carpool to our local birding destinations. We expect to be done no later than 12PM; if you can only join us for part of the time, be prepared to drive your own vehicle.

All Laramie Audubon field trips are free and open to the public; families are welcome. Bring water and snacks, binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, and dress for the worst weather.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Upcoming talk by Charlotte Gabrielsen

 Laramie Audubon Society will initiate its fall speaker program this Wednesday, September 24, with a talk by Charlotte Gabrielsen, entitled “Climate change effects on amphibian persistence in the Plains and Prairie Pothole Region".

Charlotte is a University of Wyoming doctoral student and Laramie Audubon small-grant recipient. She will share her findings regarding wetland drying under various climate change scenarios and tell us how such changes might affect the amphibians that depend on these ephemeral water bodies.

The talk begins at 7 pm at the Berry Center auditorium, but refreshments and mingling will start at 6:30 pm. Laramie Audubon will be hosting this program jointly with the Travelle Chapter of the Izaac Walton League.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Field trip report: Hereford Ranch

This past Saturday six intrepid Auduboners awoke extra early for a pilgrimage to one of the best migrant traps in southeastern Wyoming: the Hereford Ranch.

True to form, the cottonwoods and willows of the riparian areas at the Ranch were hopping with migrants. The vast majority were Wilson's Warblers, but we did turn up an American Redstart and a Cassin's Vireo in company with Plumbeous Vireos. The Eastern Screech-Owl continues to cooperate--he or she is still occupying the willow cavity near the corral next to the parking lot.

We saw 48 species total--plus several Empidonax flycatchers, likely comprising two species. Below is the link to the eBird checklist and the complete trip list.

Wyoming Hereford Ranch

Species List
Canada Goose
Gadwall
Mallard
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Swainson's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
Killdeer
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Eastern Screech-Owl
Red-naped Sapsucker
Northern Flicker
Western Wood-Pewee
Empidonax sp.
Say's Phoebe
Plumbeous Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Red-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Townsend's Solitaire
Swainson's Thrush
Hermit Thrush
American Robin
Gray Catbird
European Starling
Northern Waterthrush
Orange-crowned Warbler
MacGillivray's Warbler
American Redstart
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Wilson's Warbler
Green-tailed Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Clay-colored Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
Western Tanager
Common Grackle
House Finch
American Goldfinch
House Sparrow
Photos by Libby Megna.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Upcoming field trip: Hereford Ranch

Orange-crowned Warbler, Albany Co, WY. Photo © Shawn Billerman.
Our next field trip is this Saturday, September 13th. Note that we'll be leaving from Night Heron Books at 7 am (one hour earlier than usual) because we are heading to the Hereford Ranch on the east side of Cheyenne. Libby Megna will lead the search for songbird migrants; in particular, we should find good sparrows, vireos, and warblers.

Again, meet downtown at Night Heron Books at 7 am to caffeinate and carpool. We will be back to Laramie by noon--if you can only join us for part of the time, be prepared to drive your own vehicle.

All Laramie Audubon field trips are free and open to the public; families are welcome. Bring water and snacks, binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, and dress for the worst weather.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Ed Scholes at UW this week

Ed Scholes, evolutionary biologist and Curator of Video at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology's Macaulay Library, will be visiting the University of Wyoming this week. Scholes, with National Geographic photographer Tim Laman, recently finished a project documenting all species in the birds-of-paradise family. Check out the Birds-of-Paradise Project for more info and great video of gorgeous birds.

Scholes will give two talks:

Video analysis, specimen imaging and 3D modeling: New perspectives on courtship displays in a bird-of-paradise
     Friday, Sept. 12, 12:10 pm, Berry Center 138
     Part of the weekly Zoology/Physiology Departmental seminar, co-hosted by Biodiversity Institute

Birds of Paradise: Revealing the World's Most Extraordinary Birds
     Friday, Sept. 12, 7:00 pm, Berry Center 138
     Booksigning to follow
     Hosted by the Biodiversity Institute

Additionally, the Biodiversity Institute will show the National Geographic film "Winged Seduction: Birds of Paradise" on Wednesday, September 10 at 5 pm and on Sunday, September 14 at 2 pm.

All events are free and open to the public. 

Click on the image below to download a poster that you can share with interested parties.