Monday, September 16, 2019

9/14: Hutton Lake trip report

Juvenile Bald Eagle flying over Rush Lake. Photo by Jimena Golcher-Benavides.
Ten of us enjoyed a beautiful day at Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge this past Saturday. However, the presence of at least 7 Bald Eagles seemed to have scared away many waterbirds, which are normally abundant at Hutton this time of year. Nevertheless, the group was treated to several highlights, including American Pipits, Virginia Rails, Baird's, Pectoral, and Least Sandpipers, and excellent looks at normally skulky Marsh Wrens. Non-bird highlights included a couple of coyotes and a few nice butterflies such as Melissa Blues, Purplish Coppers, and Painted Ladies.

Greater Yellowlegs (left) and Baird's Sandpiper (right). Photo by Jimena Golcher-Benavides.
Marsh Wren. Photo by Jimena Golcher-Benavides.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Hutton Lake Field Trip and 20th Anniversary Picnic

Join us Saturday!  In the morning we'll head to Hutton Lake, and in the afternoon we'll host a potluck picnic in Optimist Park to celebrate our 20th Anniversary!

September 14th: Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  This hotspot is just 12 miles south of Laramie.  We'll concentrate on migratory waterfowl, grassland birds, and raptors.  Hopefully there will be several spotting scopes to share.  Meet at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse (107 Ivinson Ave.) at 8 a.m. to coordinate carpools.  We'll be back to Laramie in time for you to prepare your dish for the 20th Anniversary Picnic Celebration.

September 14th:  Optimist Park - 20th Anniversary Potluck Picnic.  Join us from 2 - 4 p.m. for a potluck picnic and activities in Optimist Park to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Laramie Audubon Society!  We'll also share information regarding earlier iterations of Audubon in Laramie.  Please try to remember your own tableware and a dish to share.  LAS will be providing some food, plus ice cream. 

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Sept. 7th Field Trip - Wyoming Hereford Ranch

Join us Saturday (9/7) as we travel to Cheyenne to visit the Wyoming Hereford Ranch, an Important Bird Area.  We'll meet at 7 a.m. at Night Heron Books and Coffeehouse (107 E. Ivinson Ave.) and carpool from there.  There is a good reason that we visit WHR each fall - we often have sightings of migrating birds that do not visit Laramie.  With the mixture of habitats on the ranch, we typically see a variety of songbirds, with a few raptors and waterfowl added to the mix.  The terrain is generally flat, with gravel roads, grassy paths, and lawns.

Remember your warm clothes (just in case), sturdy shoes, snacks, water, sun protection, and binoculars, etc.  Feel free to leave at any time if you have your own transportation.  We expect the group to return to Laramie by approximately 1 p.m. 

Saturday, August 31, 2019

8/31: Snowy Range trip report

Thirteen birders ventured out to Brooklyn Lake Rd. in the Snowy Range to look for migrants in the high elevation spruce forests. Although we didn't have great luck with migrants, the group did manage to find a handful of Wilson's Warblers, a Townsend's Warbler, and a Cordilleran Flycatcher among others. The real highlights were great looks at a flock of Golden-crowned Kinglets, an Osprey above Brooklyn Lake, a flock of three juvenile White-winged Crossbills, and a group of three incredibly cooperative Pine Grosbeaks.

Male Pine Grosbeak. Photo by Brian Waitkus.

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Join Us at This Thursday's Local Market!

Join Laramie Audubon Society for our final Kids' Activity at the Thursday Local Market this Thursday, August 29, from 3-6 pm at Undine Park. We will have nature BINGO with prizes, for those who like to roam, and coloring pages for those who enjoy art.
Grown ups, we'll be available to answer your bird questions and to tell you about ways you can enjoy field trips and programs this fall!

Monday, August 26, 2019

August 31 Field Trip - Snowy Range

High elevation migrants. High elevation spruce forests in the Rockies host an impressive number of birds in early fall. Many of our local breeders (Dark-eyed Juncos, Yellow-rumped Warblers, Wilson’s Warblers, etc.) form large mixed species flocks that attract migrating species (including rarities like Tennessee and Nashville Warblers) on their journey south.
On this trip, we will venture to the high elevation forests of the Snowy Range to explore this relatively under-appreciated phenomenon. Expect to do a couple of miles of hiking on trails or dirt roads.
Meet at Night Heron Books (107 E. Ivinson Ave. in downtown Laramie) at 8 a.m. At Night Heron we'll coordinate carpools (and some of us will procure snacks/coffee!).  Make sure to bring food/water, warm clothes, rain gear, birding supplies (binoculars, etc.), sun protection, and sturdy shoes or hiking boots.  We plan to be back to Laramie around 1 pm, but those with their own transportation are free to return earlier or later. 

Monday, July 15, 2019

Gap Lakes Trip Report

The vast majority of us (myself included) missed a great trip last Saturday.  Here's Brian's trip report:

On 13 July 2019 Jimena Golcher-Benavides joined Brian Waitkus during the hike to the Gap Lakes in the Snowy Range.  The unusually large amount of snow this year required walking into the area from Highway 130 doubling the normal length of the hike and could have resulted in the lower number of birds being sighted.  During the walk into the area we reviewed the calls of the Brown-capped Rosy-finch.  While at the south slope of North Gap Lake we heard one Rosy-Finch call but were unable to sight the bird.  In addition to the Rosy-finch call we recorded numerous robin and White crowned sparrow with fewer American Pipit.  One male Peregrine falcon, one male Northern harrier and two Northern flicker were also observed.  Despite the snow and the lower number of birds being observed the great weather gave us a wonderful day in the mountains.
One of the many drifts across the road leading to the Sugarloaf Recreation Area trailhead
(photo courtesy of Brian Waitkus)