Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trip report: Laramie hotspots

This past Saturday, we checked out two of Laramie's best birding spots: Greenhill Cemetery and the Greenbelt at Optimist Park. Despite chilly temps and overcast skies, the birding turned out to be pretty good.

Greenhill Cemetery was quite active, with a large warbler flock consisting of mostly Yellow-rumped Warblers and Wilson's Warblers. However, we also lucked into a Nashville Warbler. A flock of mixed sparrows, including several Clay-colored Sparrows, foraged in the community gardens. A Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker was present among several individuals of the Red-shafted subspecies. We also managed to get the nuthatch slam: Red-breasted, White-breasted, and Pygmy. In total, we encountered 36 species; our complete list is here.

The Greenbelt was not as birdy, but we did add a few species to our day list. Most notably, we had a distant flyby Lewis's Woodpecker. In total we had 27 species; our complete checklist is here.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Migration Day at Commissary Ridge

HawkWatch International (HWI) announces the beginning of the 15th season of raptor migration research at the Commissary Ridge HawkWatch, located 25 miles north of Kemmerer, Wyoming, and will be co-hosting a migration celebration event.

This area hosts an amazing migration route for raptors traveling south for the winter, however few people are aware of the treasure in their own backyard.  Audubon Rockies, HawkWatch International, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department have teamed-up to provide free public events on October 6 and 7.

Daly Edmunds, Audubon’s Director of Policy and Outreach in CO and WY, talks about Migration Day, October 6 and 7. "Together, we want to raise awareness and appreciation for these species," said Edmunds. "This is the first time we are offering this event and are really excited to be able to offer a variety of events that not only bring live raptors for people to see up close but also gives people an insider’s look at why Commissary Ridge is such an amazing place to see thousands of raptors each year."

For more information, visit register for these events so that organizers can stay in touch with you should weather conditions change. 

Click here for a downloadable PDF version of the poster.

Migration Day Events Schedule

Friday, Oct 6th – Come enjoy presentations by HWI, Audubon, and WGFD Nongame Biologist Susan Patla. Patla will briefly present about how Game and Fish manages bird (avian) species in WY and about avian species of conservation concern. Snacks will be available as the public learns about the unique migration route that sees thousands of raptors come by Kemmerer every year, and tips shared to help you identify a variety of beautiful birds.  Be ready to be amazed at seeing some of these live birds up close! Presentations will take place at the Kemmerer Public Library, beginning at 6 pm.

Saturday, Oct 7th – Start the day with a bird walk at Lake Viva Naughton, 8 am to 10 am.  If you have binoculars and/or spotting scope, you are welcome to bring them as we explore the lake and learn about the birds that call it home.  Note: Audubon and WGFD will have limited equipment that people can use at the site.

Saturday, Oct 7th – The public is invited to go hawkwatching with experts at Commissary Ridge HawkWatch from 11 am to 5 pm. Participants are welcome to stay as long as they want – to learn about raptor identification and why this area provides such unique opportunities for HWI to conduct migration research. Trapping efforts will be underway and if successful, participants will get to see one or more of these impressive birds up close and learn about measurements collected to help understand the health of our raptors.

This post written by HWI/Audubon Rockies/WYGFD, I just put it up. --Libby

Monday, September 18, 2017

Trip report: Hutton Lake NWR

Despite looming rainclouds, eighteen birders headed out to Hutton Lake NWR on Saturday, September 16. It turned out to be a good decision! We had a sprinkle of rain but then the cloud cover cleared.

I noted more waterfowl on Hutton Lake during this trip than when I was out there a couple of weekends ago, but they were still mostly dabblers and relatively few diving ducks. There are definitely a lot more Eared Grebes out there now, and Redheads are increasing--so hopefully diving duck diversity will pick up in the next few weeks. We found six species of shorebirds as well.

We accumulated 48 species; the highlights were Red-necked Phalaropes, Black-crowned Night-Herons, Horned Grebes, and cooperative Virginia Rail and Sora.

Our full checklist is here.

Birding from the back side of Hutton. Photo by Libby Megna.

Upcoming talk: Buzz Hettick

Please join us next Wednesday, September 27, for a talk by Buzz Hettick from Backcountry Hunters and Anglers. Buzz will discuss issues related to public lands in Wyoming.

As usual, we will meet in the Berry Center auditorium. Parking adjacent to the building is free after 5 pm. Bird chat and refreshments begin at 6:30 pm, and the talks will begin at 7:00 pm.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Higher Ground Fair

Laramie Audubon will have a booth at the Higher Ground Fair, 23 and 24 September. The fair will be open 9 - 6 am on Saturday and 9 - 4 pm on Sunday at the Albany County Fairgrounds.

Visit our booth to find out about our upcoming field trips and programs. We love talking about birds in the area, hearing your bird stories, sharing the best local birding spots, and discussing local conservation projects and priorities. You can also join us for Bird Bingo to win prizes!

Check out Higher Ground's website here to see a list of activities and vendors at the fair. Click here to download a copy of the poster.

Upcoming trip: Laramie hotspots

Join us on a journey through the best birding spots within Laramie this Saturday, September 23. We'll look for migrating songbirds, especially warblers and sparrows. We usually visit Greenhill Cemetery, Labonte Park, and the Greenbelt. This is a great outing for beginning birders or families.

We will meet at 8 am at Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse downtown to carpool. Bring binoculars and field guides, dress for the weather, and bring water and snacks. If you'd like to meet up with us later in the morning, feel free to email to find out where we're at.

Lincoln's Sparrow

Monday, September 11, 2017

Citizens' Climate Lobby events

Our local chapter of the Citizens' Climate Lobby has a couple of events this week. See the poster below if you'd like to get involved in climate action locally! Click here to download a copy of the poster.

Note that the Encana Auditorium is in the Energy Innovation Center at the University of Wyoming. The Advocacy Training event on the 15th will be a good chance to learn about the Carbon Fee and Dividend proposal.