Sunday, May 17, 2015

Trip Report - Hereford Ranch

Blue-gray Gnatcatcher © Shawn Billerman
Laramie Audubon's trip to the Wyoming Hereford Ranch in Cheyenne on Saturday, May 16 was very successful. We had up to 14 people join on us for at least part of the walk. We saw a total of 61 species over the course of the morning, including 5 species of warbler, including a young male American Redstart that was singing occasionally. In addition to the warblers, we found both Bullock's and Orchard Orioles, with one pair of each foraging together on the ground at one point, some nice sparrows, including Lark and Lincoln's, and a good variety of flycatchers. We ended up finding 3 species of Empidonax flycatcher, 2 species of kingbird, and Say's Phoebe. One particular highlight for everyone was a stunningly beautiful male Western Tanager that posed nicely in perfect lighting.

Swainson's Thrush © Shawn Billerman

The heavy rains and late snowstorms we have been experiencing here in southeast Wyoming have resulted in extensive flooding at the Hereford Ranch, with both foot bridges that cross the creek having been washed out. Though this limited the areas we could explore, it was still a great morning.

If interested, here is the link to our full eBird list from the trip: Wyoming Hereford Ranch

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Hereford Ranch Field Trip - Saturday, May 16

Bullock's Oriole - © Shawn Billerman
Laramie Audubon Society members and friends will be heading out to Hereford Ranch in Cheyenne, WY on Saturday morning. This is a great place to see eastern species that are migrating through the region, in addition to the other more expected regional migrants. This area is grasslands, riparian, and there is a lake in the vicinity for waterfowl and shorebirds galore.

Meet at 7:00 AM (earlier than usual) at Coal Creek Coffee, downtown Laramie, to carpool and caffeinate to Cheyenne. We will leave no later than 7:15 Be sure to gas up ahead of time--it will take about 50 minutes to get to the ranch. This trip will most likely last into the afternoon, but 
you can leave anytime you like if you drive your own vehicle.

Bring binoculars, spotting scope if you have one, snacks, water, lunch maybe (or you can eat somewhere in Cheyenne), and layer your clothes for weather. Forecast looks good for Saturday morning in Cheyenne!

Birders of all levels are welcome! This field trip is open to the public. Please join us!

Friday, May 8, 2015

CANCELLED - Field Trip to Arapaho NWR

Due to the arrival of heavy rain and the possibility of snow tomorrow, the field trip to Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge in Colorado has been cancelled for tomorrow, May 9. Stay tuned for the potential of a rescheduled trip later in the month.

If you are interested in a rescheduled Arapaho NWR trip on May 23, please contact Vicki Henry at 307-760-9518.

Stay safe and stay warm with the forecasted winter storm this weekend!

Monday, April 27, 2015

Trip report: Plains Lakes & Hutton

Both the weather and the birding were great for our trip to the lakes on Saturday. Duck numbers overall were down, but we still found quite a few species. Shorebird species are moving through; we got to see fantastic display flights by willets and Wilson's snipes. Songbirds were evident as well: recent arrivals are yellow-rumped warblers, Brewer's blackbirds, Brewer's sparrow, vesper sparrow, Say's phoebe, and multiple species of swallows.

Wilson's Snipe along Brubaker Lane. Photo © Shawn Billerman.

Tiger salamander found at Meeboer. Photo by Libby Megna.
Many fields have flooded since the snowstorm, providing good stopover habitat and birding opportunities. We found several Franklin's gulls and a few Bonaparte's gulls along Pahlow west of the Gelatt marsh.

In total we detected 72 species. Below are links to our eBird checklists and the species list for the day.

Blake's Pond
Meeboer Lake
Gelatt Marsh
Lake Hattie Reservoir
Brubaker Lane
Hutton Lake NWR

Species List - 25 April 2015
Canada Goose
Canada Goose
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Lesser Scaup
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Ruddy Duck
Common Loon
Horned Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
American White Pelican
Great Blue Heron

Hooded Merganser
Golden Eagle
Northern Harrier
Cooper's Hawk
Swainson's Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Coot
Sandhill Crane
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Long-billed Dowitcher
Wilson's Snipe
Bonaparte's Gull
Franklin's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Mourning Dove
Great Horned Owl
Belted Kingfisher
American Kestrel
Say's Phoebe
Ring-billed Gull
Common Raven
Horned Lark
Tree Swallow
Bank Swallow
Barn Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Marsh Wren
American Robin
Sage Thrasher
European Starling
McCown's Longspur
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Brewer's Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Common Grackle
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow
Auduboners at Hutton NWR. Photo by Libby Megna.

Friday, April 24, 2015

April Board Meeting

We will hold a board meeting today, Friday, April 24 at 5:30 pm. We will meet in room 227 of the Berry Center. Our board meetings are open to the public; if you are interested in the behind-the-scenes of the Laramie Audubon Society, feel free to join us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Upcoming trip: Plains Lakes & Hutton Lake

We'll head out to the lakes once again this Saturday, April 25. The lakes are one of the best places to bird this time of year--we should see lingering ducks, shorebirds, grebes, raptors, and some passerines. I've been out to some of the lakes with Ornithology students this week, and we got quite a few species; see our eBird checklists: Blake's and Meeboer.

Meet at Coal Creek at 8 am to fuel up. We will visit both the Plains Lakes and Hutton NWR, so be prepared for a longer day and more driving. Of course, you can leave early if you drive your own vehicle or arrange with carpool buddies. We will probably be back to Laramie around 2 pm after a visit to all the lakes. Bring binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, snacks/drinks and dress for the weather.

Blake's Pond after the snowstorm. Photo by Libby Megna, 21 April 2015.

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Upcoming trip: Hutton Lake NWR

Auduboners at Hutton Lake. Photo by Libby Megna.
Join us for a birding trip to Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge this Saturday, April 11. Tim Banks will lead the search for waterfowl, raptors, shorebirds, and songbirds. Migration is in full swing, so we are likely to find some surprises.

We will meet at Coal Creek Coffee at 8 am to carpool. Please bring binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, field guides, snacks and drinks. Be prepared for windy conditions. Our trips to Hutton usually last a few hours, but anyone is free to leave early if they bring their own vehicle.