Sunday, April 20, 2014

Trip Report - Laramie Plains Lakes, April 19

Eighteen people joined the Laramie Audubon field trip to the Laramie Plains Lakes and Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. It was a great day, filled with many fantastic birds. Spring migration is in full swing around Laramie: songbirds, including various sparrows, Marsh Wrens, and Say's Phoebes, are arriving, and various shorebirds are also moving through Wyoming. The trip had many highlights, including several large flocks of Franklin's Gulls flying low across the prairie, many Common Loons on Lake Hattie, many grebes (Horned, Eared, and Western) on Lake Hattie and Hutton Lake, as well as American Avocets and a Willet at Hutton Lake. Additional new migrants included a pair of Blue-winged Teals at Meeboer Lake, several Tree Swallows, and a growing number of Great-tailed Grackles in the marshes around Gelatt Lake.

American Avocet - Hutton Lake NWR, Albany Co., WY - May 2013
Eared Grebe - Travis Co., TX - March 2014
Blue-winged Teal - Hidalgo Co., TX - March 2014

After the official trip ended, several of us continued birding through the afternoon. We birded the prairie north of Laramie, where we found many McCown's Longspurs and the first Chestnut-collared Longspurs of the year.

McCown's Longspur - Albany Co., WY - April 2014
Chestnut-collared Longspur - Albany Co., WY - April 2014
Chestnut-collared Longspur - Albany Co., WY - April 2014

Note: all photos in this post are © Shawn Billerman

Monday, April 14, 2014

Plains Lakes Field Trip: Sat., April 19, 8am

April 19: Plains Lakes/Woods Landing - Shawn Billerman will lead a second Plains Lakes trips in search of the many interesting species that pass through Laramie this time of year. We will also go to Woods Landing, time permitting. In particular, we will be looking for early spring migrants, including longspurs (McCown's and Chestnut-collared), shorebirds (yellowlegs, dowitchers, avocets, etc), raptors, and waterfowl. Other interesting birds we may find include various species of gull (including such local rarities as Lesser Black-backed Gull), grebes (Horned, Eared, and Western), and loons.

Meet at Coal Creek Coffee, downtown Laramie, at 8am to caffeinate and carpool. Dress for the worst weather. Bring binoculars, field guide(s), spotting scope if you have one, snacks and water. Gas up ahead of time. This trip will last several hours driving from one lake to the next, but anyone may return home at any time if you are in your own vehicle. Call Vicki Henry 307-760-9518 for more information.

McCown's Longspur - Twin Buttes Reservoir, Albany Co.
Greater Yellowlegs - Hutton Lake NWR, Albany Co.

Note: all photos in this post are © Shawn Billerman

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sage Grouse Field Trip Sat., Apr. 5, 5:10 a.m., Eppson Senior Center parking lot

Please join Laramie Audubon Society to visit a Sage Grouse lek north of Laramie.  Watch the Sage Grouse strut their stuff in their annual mating display.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Meet at 5:10am to caravan, carpool
Eppson Senior Center parking lot (northwest corner of 3rd St and Curtis St)

We will leave the parking lot at 5:20 am sharp to be at the lek before sunrise.  Be sure to gas up ahead of time.  Call 307-760-9518 if you plan to attend or if you have questions.
It takes about 45 minutes to get to the lek and we will be traveling on rutted dirt roads so a 4WD and/or high clearance vehicle is a must.  If you do not have one and wish to attend, you may ride with someone who has the appropriate vehicle.
Bring very warm clothes and gloves, snacks and water, hot beverage optional. It will most likely be very windy and cold.  Don't forget your binoculars and spotting scope if you have one.
We will be back in Laramie by 8:00am.  So you'll have the rest of the day to do what you want.

Vicki Henry
Laramie Audubon Society

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Tropical Birds Night--Wednesday, March 26

FREE PROGRAM. All public welcome.

Laramie Audubon Society’s Tropical Birds Night. Come and chase away any lingering winter blues with an evening focused on tropical birds and birding. Sophie Osborn will introduce us to the tropics, tropical diversity, and some iconic tropical bird families. Then several Audubon members will share photos and travel stories from their tropical journeys.

Wednesday, March 26
UW Berry Biodiversity Center, Corner of 10th and Lewis St
6:30pm Bird Chat & Refreshments in lobby
7:00pm Program begins in auditorium

Narrow-billed Tody (Todus angustirostris) by Julie Hart

Monday, March 24, 2014

Sage Grouse Lek Trek, Saturday, March 29, 5:00 a.m.

It's nearly April and the Sage Grouse are strutting their stuff.  Weather permitting and if the roads are passable, Laramie Audubon Society will be heading out to the lek north of town on Saturday morning, March 29.  We will most likely have to walk about a mile in to the lek and a mile back out.  It will be cold in the early morning with a cold wind blowing.  So dress plenty warmly, wear your walking boots and be prepared to carry in your scope.

Meet at 5:00am at the Eppson Senior Center parking lot, Curtis St. & 3rd St.  We will carpool to the grouse display ground at 5:10 SHARP.  Please call Vicki at 307-760-9518 if you plan on attending and for weather/road updates. 

If the road is impassable from snow/mud/rain/pooling, the trip will be rescheduled to Sat., April 5, same time, same place.  Road update will be available on Thursday evening at 8pm (March 27).  Please call to see if the trip has been postponed. 

It is about a 35-minute drive to the lek so gas up ahead of time.  You will probably need 4WD and/or a high clearance vehicle.  Bring snacks, water, hot beverage, spotting scope if you have one, and binoculars.  You can take photos but we will not get any closer to the lek than about 1/4 mile so as not to disturb the mating rituals.

We are usually back in Laramie by 7:30am or 8:00 am, just in time for the Plains Lakes Tour by Libby Megna. 

Please call 307-760-9518 for more information or if you have any questions.

Vicki Henry