Sunday, August 23, 2015

August Board Meeting

We will hold a board meeting this Monday, August 24 at 6:30 pm 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.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Are you a Habitat Hero?

Habitat Heroes are people who practice a form of landscape stewardship, called ‘wildscaping’ - landscaping designed to attract and benefit birds, pollinators and other wildlife. Whether the landscape you tend is a residential yard, a few pots on a balcony, a public park, or schoolyard garden, Habitat Heroes believe in growing a healthy community. By combating the loss of open spaces and creating green corridors that link your wildscape to larger natural areas by providing habitat for wildlife we can feel good about doing something positive for ourselves, the environment and our wild friends.

Take part in the Audubon Rockies Habitat Hero program to provide resources for birds and other wildlife!

Saturday, August 8, 2015

The Sagebrush Sea

In conjunction with the Ruckelshaus Institute, the Biodiversity Institute, Audubon Rockies, and the Wyoming Outdoor Council we are pleased to present a free screening of The Sagebrush Sea this Wednesday, August 12. The Sagebrush Sea is a documentary produced by biologists and filmmakers from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology which explores life in the sage desert from the perspective of a Greater Sage-Grouse. The screening will be held in the Berry Center auditorium. Doors will open at 5 pm and the film begins at 6 pm

A panel discussion moderated by Willow Belden, host of Out There: A Podcast about the Outdoors, will follow the film. Panelists include Marc Dantzker, producer of The Sagebrush Sea; and Wyoming Sage-Grouse experts Brian Rutledge and Matt Holloran.

Enjoy light food an beverages while learning even more about Wyoming’s sagebrush ecosystems via displays and material provided by the Ruckelshaus Institute of Environment and Natural Resources, the Biodiversity Institute, the Wyoming Outdoor Council, Laramie Audubon Society, Audubon Rockies, The Nature Conservancy, Medicine Bow Conservation District, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NRCS’ Sage Grouse Initiative, and the Wyoming Game & Fish Department.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Trip report: Rosy-Finch hike

This past Saturday Laramie Auduboners were treated to excellent views of Brown-capped Rosy-Finches, right at the north end of South Gap Lake were our intrepid leader Brian Waitkus said they would be!

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch. Photo © Brian Waitkus.

The Rosy-Finches were actively foraging, and some were carrying food. No nests have been located this year, but the birds' behavior certainly indicated that they have nestlings somewhere nearby.
American Pipit eggs by Libby Megna.

White-crowned sparrows, Lincoln's sparrows, and American pipits are also actively feeding young along the trail to South Gap Lake. Brian had previously located two American pipit nests, one with eggs and one with nestlings. If you are walking along the Gap Lakes Trail in the near future, keep your eyes open and place your feet carefully--the nests are right along the trail!
American Pipit. Photo © Brian Waitkus.
American Pipit nestlings. Photo © Brian Waitkus.

The complete trip list is available on eBird here. The weather and wildflowers were excellent as well. If you're looking for a short hike in scenic country, or want to see Brown-capped Rosy-Finches in their breeding habitat, I highly recommend Gap Lakes Trail! The trail takes off from the north end of the Lewis Lake picnic area.

Gap Lakes Trail. Photo by Libby Megna.

Friday, July 17, 2015

Upcoming trip: Brown-capped Rosy-Finch hike

Brown-capped Rosy-Finch © Shawn Billerman.
Join the Laramie Audubon Society this coming Saturday, July 17th,  to take a hike into the high country of the Snowy Range to search for the elusive Brown-capped Rosy-Finch. This rosy-finch, one of the highest-nesting birds in Wyoming, nests in the northern Colorado Rocky Mountains and Wyoming’s Snowy Range, which are some of the most spectacular vistas in this part of the country.
The mountains this time of year are also blanketed by native wild flowers along the trail that winds between Medicine Bow Peak and Browns Peak. In addition to the rosy-finch, we will likely view American Pipits, White-crowned Sparrows, Violet-green Swallows, California Gulls, raptors, yellow-bellied marmots, and pikas.

The hike will begin at the parking area beside Lewis Lake in the Sugarloaf Recreation Area above Centennial, WY. We will hike approximately one mile each way, to the northern end of South Gap Lake. Do not let the short length of the trail fool you, though. The high altitude of the area and the steepness of short sections of the trail can make this a challenging outing. The constructed trail winds through small wet drainage valleys and across talus boulder fields. It is essential that one wear good hiking shoes or boots that can get wet and give good support. Weather in the high country can be very variable from beautiful sunshine to cooler, with wind and rain. Dress accordingly and bring a coat to protect against the elements.

Sunglasses, insect repellent, and sunscreen are recommended, as are water and snacks, if desired. Binoculars, cameras, and bird, plant, or geology books are also encouraged.

We will meet at the parking area at the end of the gravel road by Lewis Lake at 8:30. The Sugarloaf Recreation area is a U.S. Forest Service fee area ($5); the USFS yearly pass and golden age card are accepted. The drive from Laramie takes the better part of an hour. People can park at the gate and car pool in if desired to cut down on the cost. The hike will last the entire morning, though since it will occur along a designated trail people may return any time at their own leisure.

For further information call Brian Waitkus at 307-343-3121.

Medicine Bow by Libby Megna

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Upcoming Trip: Saturday June 6, Pole Mountain/Happy Jack Trails

Cordilleran Flycatcher © Shawn Billerman
Please join Tim Banks this Saturday, June 6, as he leads a birding trip along some trails in the Pole Mountain area (Happy Jack Trails) to see what forest birds can be found. Many birds are back and singing on their breeding grounds, including various flycatchers, warblers, and other goodies. It should be great birding weather!

We will be meeting at Coal Creek Coffee (downtown) at 8:00 a.m. to caffeinate and carpool. Bring binoculars, water, snacks and suitable hiking shoes and clothes. Be sure to gas up ahead of time. It is about a 20 minute drive from Laramie to the Happy Jack area.

Questions? Call 307-742-6138 or 307-760-9518.

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Upcoming Trip - Laramie Hotspots, May 30

Western Tanager © Shawn Billerman
Join Tim Banks this Saturday, May 30, as he leads a walking field trip along the Laramie Greenbelt, LaBonte Park and other birding hot spots in Laramie. We will be searching for late spring migrants, including warblers, flycatchers, and any other lingering birds passing through, as well as breeding birds that have already set up territories. Over the past week, Laramie has seen some good migrants, including Western Tanager, Rose-breasted Grosbeak, Blackpoll Warbler, and Red-eyed Vireo, so who knows what we will turn up on our trip on Saturday.

We will meet at 8:00 a.m. at Coal Creek Coffee, downtown Laramie, to caffeinate and carpool. Bring binoculars and field guides. Dress for the weather. Bring water and snacks. This will be a shorter trip, and will likely be over by noon or 1 p.m., though participants are free to leave at any time.

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