Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Dawn Chorus - Birding by Ear at Happy Jack

The mountains surrounding Laramie host an exciting diversity of breeding species throughout the summer. This Saturday (May 25th), we will meet at 6 a.m. in the Laramie Mountains to focus on birding by ear: identifying our breeding species by the songs they use to defend territories and attract mates.  Possible species include Yellow-rumped Warblers, Wilson's Warblers, American Redstarts, Cordilleran Flycatchers, Golden-crowned Kinglets, Hermit Thrush, Lincoln's Sparrows, and many more. We will meet at the Happy Jack parking lot at 6:00 am.  Expect to walk 1-2 miles.

The Happy Jack Recreation Area lot is the second parking area/access road on the right if you are coming from I-80 - the US Forest Service sign says "Happy Jack."   Note that the Forest Service charges a $5 fee per car to park at this location. 

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Hereford Ranch Field Trip (Saturday, May 4th)

We will meet at 7am at Coal Creek Coffee (downtown location: 110 E. Grand Ave.) to coordinate carpools for the drive to Cheyenne. We’ll head to one of the best birding areas in Southeast Wyoming to view spring migrants - a chance to possibly see rarities and some birds more often associated with the Eastern US.  It looks like Saturday will be a beautiful day!

If you plan to meet us there, expect us to arrive around 8:15 a.m.  Note that you may want to visit the gas station on the north side of the I-80/Campstool Road exit on the way to the Ranch, just in case the Ranch's bathrooms are closed! 

Monday, April 22, 2019

Tricky Bird ID

Join us Wednesday evening (April 24th) for our April meeting.  Arrive early for refreshments and bird chat, beginning at 6:30 p.m.  At 7 p.m. Libby Megna will teach us the fieldmarks of commonly misidentified and otherwise tricky species around Laramie. Hone your skills for spring migration! 

As usual, the April meeting will take place in the lobby and auditorium of the Berry Center, which is located on the University of Wyoming campus at the corner of 10th and Lewis Streets.  Note that there is currently limited parking in the immediate vicinity of the building due to construction.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Two Field Trips on Saturday

SAGE-GROUSE LEK.  We'll meet at 5:15 a.m. Saturday (April 20th) at the Eppson Center (1516 N. 3rd Street) to arrange carpools and then leave promptly at OR BEFORE 5:20 a.m. - not the usual LAS leisurely start!  We'll then drive to the Greater Sage-Grouse lek north of Laramie.  We've scouted the access road and are very optimistic that it will be passable on Saturday.  Please bring a spotting scope if you have one!  And binoculars.  And plenty of warm clothes!  We will return in time to join the second trip of the day (see below).

LARAMIE HOTSPOTS.  We'll meet at 8:00 a.m. at Coal Creek Coffee (Downtown location - 110 E. Grand Avenue) and then head out to some of our favorite in-town birding locations.  An easy trip for the beginning or experienced birder.  Attendees should bring their own binoculars, warm clothes, water, and snacks. 

Feel free to attend either trip - or both! 

Wednesday, April 3, 2019

Art Show and Field Trip

Remember that the opening reception for our art show is tomorrow (THURSDAY) evening from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. in the Berry Center ground floor lobby (on the UW campus at the corner of 10th and Lewis Streets).  Food, conversation, and art - what great way to spend the evening!  We have work in a variety of media reflecting on the theme A Study in Biodiversity: Showcasing the Richness of Life

And then on SATURDAY morning, join us for a trip to Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge.  Meet at 8 a.m. at Coal Creek Coffee (110 Grand Avenue).  We will carpool from there.  Bring warm clothes!, water, snacks, binoculars and other birding equipment. 
(photo from last weekend's Plains Lakes field trip, courtesy of Laurel Armstrong)

Monday, April 1, 2019

Trip report: Plains Lakes

Despite chilly weather and frozen-over lakes, we had a good morning of birding! Jerry Johnson told me that Hattie and Twin Buttes were completely locked in ice, so we checked Blake's Pond, Meeboer Lake, and Gelatt Lake. Some of us also stopped at Sevenmile Lakes--but if you try this, be very careful as there is no public access and vehicles zoom down 230.

Embarrassingly, I haven't been birding much in Wyoming yet this year so I was hyped by the Red-winged Blackbirds and Western Meadowlarks along Pahlow Lane. Blake's Pond was almost frozen over, but we were treated to great looks at Bald Eagles and Mountain Bluebirds. A few Killdeer huddled in the snow at the edge of the pond. Click here for our complete list.

Mountain Bluebirds. Photo by Laurel Armstrong.
Meeboer Lake hosted a few hundred waterfowl--mostly Redheads and American Coots, but we found a few other species mixed in. The highlight was a Horned Grebe. Click here for our complete list.

As an added bonus, a herd of white-tailed jackrabbits were hanging with the cows along the road to Meeboer.

Photo by Laurel Armstrong.

However, the most exciting birds of the morning--in my opinion--were at Gelatt Lake. As we drove up, a Bald Eagle kicked up the gull flock and it was easy to pick out a Lesser Black-backed Gull! Ultimately, we were treated to five gull species. See our complete list here.

American White Pelicans. Photo by Laurel Armstrong.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019

Saturday Trip - Plains Lakes

THE PLAINS LAKES TRIP is still scheduled for Saturday morning - meet at Coal Creek Coffee (110 E. Grand Avenue) at 8 a.m.  Bring lots of warm clothes and warm footwear, as well as snacks, water, binoculars, and, if possible, a spotting scope (don't worry if you don't have one, I don't either and other people generally share!).  We plan to be back to town by 1 pm, although people should feel free to return earlier if they have their own transportation. 

Originally, we also had scheduled a trip to the Greater Sage-Grouse Lek for Saturday morning (earlier than the Plains Lakes trip) - THE LEK TRIP HAS BEEN CANCELLED due to the condition of the access road.  It is possible that we will reschedule the lek visit.