Saturday, April 22, 2017

Upcoming trip: Hutton Lake NWR for pre-K kids

Laramie Audubon is partnering with Little Laramie Hikers to take a special trip to Hutton Lake NWR, tailored to pre-K kids--but all kids and their caregivers are welcome. We will look for waterfowl, check our tree swallow nest boxes, and learn about bird habitats.

We will head to Hutton this Wednesday, April 26. Meet at Bart's Flea Market at 9 am. We will return to Laramie around noon. Laramie Audubon will provide a couple of scopes for looking at wildlife on the lakes. Attendees should bring water, good walking shoes, and appropriate clothing for the weather.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Spring Exploration Event

Laramie Audubon will have a booth at the Territorial Prison's Spring Exploration event this Saturday, 20 April, from 12 - 4 pm. We will have information on our society, an activity for kids, and will take walks to check the nest boxes we have set up around the Territorial Prison property.

There will be a lot of family-friendly booths from many conservation- and science-related groups around Laramie. Admission is free! Here is more info on the event as a whole.

Remember that we also have a field trip to birding hotspots in town Saturday morning (details here), plus we will clean up our section of the Greenbelt. We will be done with the trip in time to enjoy the Spring Exploration event or the Laramie March for Science!

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Laramie Bird Notes -- 4/12 - 4/19


Yellow-rumped Warblers (both subspecies and lots of intergrades) are all over right now. Additionally, several Orange-crowned Warblers and a snazzy American Redstart were seen around town today. The warblers seem to be preferentially foraging in deciduous trees and shrubs right now, especially ones that are flowering or budding. The tree area and the Greenbelt have been especially good lately, while Greenhill Cemetery has been relatively birdless.

Waterfowl migration is still underway and there are plenty of birds on the lakes, but new arrivals are likely done for the most part this year. Nonetheless, a Cackling Goose was seen this past week. Furthermore, other waterbirds are just starting to show up. Highlights on the plains lakes this past week include Black-necked Stilt, Semipalmated Plover, Marbled Godwit, American Avocet, White-faced Ibis, Glossy Ibis, Great Egret, Bonaparte's Gull, Western Grebe, and Common Loon.

While checking the plains lakes, be sure to keep an eye to the sky, as swallow diversity also picked up this week, with Barn, Bank, and Northern Rough-winged joining Tree Swallows this week. Violet-green and Cliff Swallows should be right around the corner! American Pipits were also seen on the plains this week.

Sparrows are just starting to make a push into the area, with Savannah Sparrow, Vesper Sparrow, Chipping Sparrow, and Lincoln's Sparrow seen recently. An unusual find was a Harris's Sparrow along the Greenbelt. Over the next month or so, checking the Greenbelt and other areas with lots of low-lying vegetation around town could produce this species, which shows up regularly along the Front Range in migration. Why shouldn't they come through Laramie?

The first report of a Hermit Thrush in the area came from a residential area on the east side of town. This species should be picking up quite a bit soon, though perhaps they will skip town as some other songbirds have this year and head straight for the mountains!

Two interesting raptor sightings came this past week from the Greenbelt. The first Osprey of the season was seen flying over the river and a juvenile Northern Goshawk was perched in a cottonwood on the north end of the Greenbelt. Keep a look out for Broad-winged Hawks in the coming weeks!

In non-bird news, a massive movement of Painted Lady butterflies into the valley happened this past week, and they are now quite abundant around town. A few whites (Pieris spp.) have also been seen, though I haven't managed to get good enough looks to identify them to species. Wandering Garter Snakes have emerged from their winter hibernacula as well!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Upcoming talk: Melissa Hill with live raptors

Being a wild animal isn't easy, even if you are one of the top predators in North America. How can birds like hawks, vultures, falcons, and owls survive in an ever-changing world? Melissa Hill of the Draper Museum Raptor Experience will teach us about the phenomenal adaptations of these incredible animals, including amazing eyesight, hovering capabilities, camouflage, and the ability to soar for hours without flapping, just to name a few. Four live birds will accompany the program, bringing with them a greater appreciation for their species and their abilities.

Join us Wednesday, April 26, for this special live raptor program. We will meet in the Berry Center auditorium. Parking adjacent to the building is free after 5 pm. Bird chat and refreshments begin at 6:40 pm, and the talk will begin at 7:10 pm.

Melissa Hill is the Live Raptor Program Manager for the Draper Museum Raptor Experience at the Buffalo Bill Center of the West in Cody, Wyoming. She has a BS in Wildlife and Fisheries Biology and Management from the University of Wyoming and has been working with raptors since 1997 when she began volunteering with Laramie Raptor Refuge. Hill has worked with four different raptor education programs and more than 70 raptors in her career, teaching thousands of children and adults about the important role that birds of prey, and every species, play in our world.

Click the image below to download the poster.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Nest monitoring at Hutton - Volunteers needed

Laramie Audubon will be monitoring Tree Swallow nest boxes at Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge this summer, and we are looking for volunteers to help! We'll be monitoring from mid-May to early July.

If this sounds like fun and you want to learn more, please join us for an info session Thursday, April 27. We will meet in room 217 of the Berry Center at 6 pm.

Contact Lindsey Sanders with any questions.

Click the image below to download the flyer.

Upcoming trip: Laramie hotspots

Join us on a journey through the best birding spots within Laramie this Saturday, April 22. We'll look for migrating songbirds, especially warblers and sparrows. We usually visit Greenhill Cemetery, Labonte Park, and the Greenbelt. After birding, we will clean up our section of the Greenbelt.

We will meet at 8 am at Coal Creek Coffee downtown to carpool. Bring binoculars and field guides, dress for the weather, and bring water and snacks. This is a great trip for beginning birders and families.

Myrtle x Audubon's Warbler Hybrid

Friday, April 14, 2017

Volunteers needed for Mountain Plover and Sharp-tailed Grouse research

If you're interested in volunteering on avian research in Wyoming this spring/summer, check out these two opportunities through the University of Wyoming:

Volunteer Opportunity--Mountain Plover
Researchers at the University of Wyoming are looking for volunteers to help re-sight banded Mountain Plovers in Thunder Basin National Grassland. Volunteers will get a tour of field sites with a visit to an active nest (and a hatching event if the timing is right!) and potentially a banding demonstration, along with an overview of the ecology of Thunder Basin. Songbird and raptor diversity in the area is high (check out eBird sightings!), and both burrowing owls and swift foxes were regular sightings on colonies last year, so there are also lots of great opportunities for wildlife photography. Click the image below to download the flyer. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Courtney Duchardt for more details:

Volunteer Opportunity--Columbia Sharp-tailed Grouse
Researchers at the University of Wyoming are looking volunteers to help identify locations of new leks in the Baggs area this spring (April - May). The ideal search time is between twilight and an hour after sunrise, so volunteers would need to stay at field housing provided outside of Baggs. Volunteers who can commit to 3-4 days are preferred, especially if you are also interested in helping with grouse trapping efforts. In general, volunteers should be responsible and preferably have some field experience. You will also need to provide your own transportation to Baggs and while lek searching, preferably in a truck and/or an ATV as the roads can be rough. If you are interested in volunteering, please contact Aaron Pratt for more details: