Thursday, August 17, 2017

September Membership Month

We hope you are all enjoying this beautiful August weather, and are looking forward to fall migrants that will soon be heading south through town.  We at the Laramie Audubon Society are excited both for the influx of migrants and for September Membership Month!  

As you probably already know, we’ve changed our membership renewal to be once yearly, rather than every 365 days.  So by renewing this September, your membership will be good until we send you a reminder for renewal again in August 2018.  You can send your check to our mailing address using the attached form, or you can go online to www.laramieaudubon.blogspot.com and click on the “JUST GIVE” button to renew your membership with a credit or debit card. 

LAS continues to be an effective voice for conservation and education around Laramie thanks to the support of our members. With your LAS membership you will continue to receive the Laramie Audubon Society newsletter and support the projects and vision of your local Audubon chapter.  We encourage you to receive your newsletter electronically, to save paper.

Remember, September will be Membership Month for Laramie Audubon Society.  If you haven’t already, renew your membership now and it will last until August 31, 2018.

Board meeting

We will hold a board meeting Wednesday, 23 August at 6 pm in the second floor conference room of the Berry Center. Our board meetings are open to the public; if you would like to see the inner workings of LAS, feel free to attend!

Saturday, August 5, 2017

Field Surveys Podcast

Last fall, Laramie Audubon funded a small grant request for a local podcast called Field Surveys.  The goal of the podcast is to take listeners behind the scenes of how ecology and conservation really get done.  We are excited to share that the first two episodes have been released!  New episodes will come out monthly for the next year or so.

You can listen to the podcast here: https://soundcloud.com/field-surveys-podcast

It is also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Stitcher, so you can download it straight to your phone.

Jesse Alston, the creator of Field Surveys, will be speaking at our monthly LAS meeting on Wednesday, October 25.  Be sure to drop by if you want to learn more about this new podcast.


Monday, July 24, 2017

Trip report: Rosy-finches in Snowies

This post is by Brian Waitkus, I'm just putting it up. - Libby

July 22, 2017
14 members and friends of Audubon gathered at the Sugarloaf Recreation Area, Lewis and Libby Lake parking area for a one mile hike to the Gap.  The quest for the trip was to locate Brown Capped Rosy-finch, but other birds, mammals, and butterflies were also observed.  The weather was great with cool temps and mostly blue skies.  At the Gap, after 45 minutes, we were fortunate to locate a pair of Rosy-finch marking a new species for many in the group.

The following birds were noted:
2 Brown Capped Rosy-finch                       2 Robin
9 American Pipit including 3 chicks            2 Yellow Rumped Warbler
2 Wilson’s Warbler                                     1 Ruby Crowned Kinglet (call)
12 White Crowned Sparrow                       2 Flicker
2 Townsend’s Solitary                                1 Red Breasted Nuthatch
1 California Gull                                         3 Swallow (sp?)
1 Bald Eagle                                               1 Golden Eagle
1 Lincoln’s Sparrow                                    1 Vesper Sparrow

The Laramie Audubon crew. Photo by Laurel Armstrong.

Trip Report: Visit to the banding station

The group crowded around the banding table to observe.
Photo credit: Lindsey Sanders

We had a very successful trip to the banding station this past Sunday!  10 Laramie Audubon members and 6 Cheyenne Audubon members ventured out to the LIND banding station to see the station in action.  Libby Megna taught us about the history of the banding station, and the importance of studying breeding birds to get a grasp on demography and survival of local species.

Hatch year Lincoln's Sparrow (left) and Song Sparrow (right).
Photo credit: Libby Megna



We observed many birds being extracted from mist nets and banded--they caught 29 total birds at the station on Sunday!  Species observed in the hand included Song Sparrow, Lincoln's Sparrow, Orange-crowned Warbler, Yellow Warbler, Black-capped Chickadee, and  more.  The two most exciting species of the day were Northern Waterthrush and Rufous Hummingbird!  We got many opportunities to see hatch year birds compared to adults, and to observe the differences between hatch years of the same species, which was a treat.  Along with birds caught in the mist nets, some of our other birding highlights included Broad-tailed Hummingbird, Sandhill Crane, Belted Kingfisher, Cordilleran Flycatcher, Bullock's Oriole, and Williamson's Sapsucker.

The LIND banding station runs every 10 days for the entire breeding season, so we hope to be able to take trips like this again in the future.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Upcoming trip: Visit to bird banding station

Second-year female Bullock's Oriole. Photo by Libby Megna.
This Sunday, July 23, we will head out to the MAPS banding station at Fred Lindsey's place near Centennial. This banding station is run by Audubon Rockies, and is part of the North American Monitoring Avian Productivity and Survival banding network. The goal of this banding program is to monitor demographics--survival and reproduction--of breeding birds. We will learn about how birds are banded, what we can learn from banded birds, and how we are able to determine the age of birds by looking at details of their plumage. Families and kids are welcome!

The banding station is on private property that is the best place for Northern Waterthrushes and Gray Catbirds in the county. This is a good opportunity to see and learn about bird banding as well as visit a great place. Meet Lindsey Sanders at Coal Creek Coffee downtown at 8 am to caffeinate and carpool. This is a nice chance for kids to get up close and personal with birds, but be aware that both the grass pollen and mosquitoes can be intense at this location, although usually aren't too bad at the banding station itself. Feel free to hang out at the banding station, but if you want to walk the net lanes you will be traipsing through standing water. Be prepared with mosquito repellant and appropriate clothes (long sleeves recommended), antihistamines, and boots or shoes that you don't mind getting wet.



Tuesday, July 11, 2017

RESCHEDULED: Rosy Finch Field Trip

UPDATE: The Rosy Finch field trip has been rescheduled!  The road from the highway to the parking area at Lewis & Libby Lakes will still be closed this weekend, so we are pushing the field trip date back to July 22.  We will meet at the Lewis & Libby Lakes parking lot at 9am!


Our next field trip is this Saturday, July 15 July 22.  We'll head up to the Snowies to look for Brown-capped Rosy Finch, and other high-elevation summertime species.


Black-capped Rosy Finch, 
photo by Shawn Billerman
We will park at the Lewis and Libby Lakes parkings areas and head down a walking trail of one mile to the north end of South Gap Lake.  The area may still have some snow, could be wet, and crosses sections of boulder fields.  The hike will go up to 11,000 feet.

The Brown-capped Rosy-Finch is a species of concern because it breeds only in the Snowy Mountains and on mountain peaks in Colorado and northern New Mexico. If the current global warming trend continues, its mountain habitat islands are likely to shrink and to be invaded by other avian species that are currently excluded by the harsh conditions. In spring and summer, Brown-capped Rosy-Finches often feed at the edge of snowdrifts, where seeds that were blown onto the snowpack during winter emerge from the melting snow cover.  In past years we have done surveys for rosy finches in this area, but this year we will just be heading out to see if we can find any.


Meet at the Lewis and Libby Lakes parking area at 9 am. Please bring binoculars and/or spotting scope, a field guide, warm clothes and rain gear, good hiking shoes, hat, lunch and snacks, water, sunblock, and insect repellent.

All Laramie Audubon field trips are free and open to the public; families are welcome.