Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Upcoming talk: Small grants updates

Please join us this coming Wednesday, October 25 for three talks by our most recent Small Grants recipients. Jesse, Courtney and Rebecca received LAS funds to help with their research and outreach efforts. See below for descriptions of their projects.

As usual, we will meet in the Berry Center auditorium. Parking adjacent to the building is free after 5 pm. Bird chat and refreshments begin at 6:30 pm, and the talks will begin at 7:00 pm.



Communicating Science: Lessons from the Field Surveys Podcast by Jesse Alston

Jesse will tell us about the new podcast he started with the help of an LAS outreach grant--Field Surveys.  Field Surveys is an ecology and conservation podcast that takes listeners behind the scenes of how ecology and conservation really get done.



Living on the edge: Bird diversity on a grassland/sagebrush ecotone in Thunder Basin National Grassland by Courtney Duchardt



The Thunder Basin National Grassland, situated along the transitional zone ('ecotone') between the Great Plains and sagebrush steppe, is an extremely diverse place. Shaped by disturbances including fire and black-tailed prairie dog grazing, it is home to a surprisingly diverse community of birds including greater sage-grouse, mountain plovers, burrowing owls, and lark buntings (and about 90 more!). Courtney will present a little about the natural history and species diversity of the region, as well as her own research in this amazing landscape.




State of Emergency: Reducing the impacts of natural disasters through restoration by Rebecca Upjohn

Natural events, like hurricanes and wildfires, are essential parts of most ecosystems.  As ecosystems are altered through climate change, invasive species and human intervention, the frequency and intensity of these events increases, causing exceedingly more damage to human infrastructure and vital ecosystem services and functions.  Restoration ecology plays an important role in developing methods to address these underlying issues, reverse damage to critical habitats, and reduce the impacts of future events.

Photos courtesy of Jesse, Courtney, and Rebecca.

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Upcoming trip: Nest box cleanup

Grass, feathers, and poop left behind in a tree swallow box.
Photo by L Sanders


All of the birds using our nest boxes at Hutton and the Territorial Prison have fledged their nests, and the boxes need to be cleaned out for next year.  We have a couple of boxes to install at Hutton as well to replace boxes destroyed by cows this summer.  After we finished cleaning out boxes at Hutton, feel free to stick around to bird the lakes!




A tree swallow box in use at Hutton NWR.
Photo by L Sanders

We will meet at 8 am at Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse to carpool. Bring clothes to get dirty, close toed shoes (for cactus!), something to scrape out the boxes with if you have it (like a putty knife), and binoculars. Dress for the weather and bring water and snacks. We plan to be back in Laramie by 11:45 am; if you can only join us for part of the time, be prepared to drive your own vehicle or coordinate with carpool buddies.




Sunday, October 8, 2017

Upcoming trip: Plains Lakes

We will head to the Plains Lakes this Saturday, October 14. Hopefully we will find a variety of duck species across Blake's Pond, Twin Buttes, and Lake Hattie. Plus, raptor diversity out on the plains is almost always excellent.

We will meet at 8 am at Night Heron Books & Coffeehouse to carpool. Bring binoculars, a scope if you have one, and field guides. Dress for the weather and bring water and snacks. We should be back to Laramie around noon; if you can only join us for part of the time, be prepared to drive your own vehicle or coordinate with carpool buddies.

Birders of all levels are welcome! Our trips are free and open to the public.

Common-Goldeneye

Monday, October 2, 2017

Call for board members

Dear Laramie Audubon members & friends,

As you are probably aware, Laramie Audubon is dependent on the financial support of its members and on the interest of members and friends in our programs, field trips, and other activities. What you may not be as familiar with is the behind-the-scenes work that is done by volunteer board members to keep the organization operational. Board members serve two-year terms, which typically begin in November. This fall we have room for several new board members.

Anyone who is a member of Laramie Audubon, interested in our mission, and willing to donate time to the organization may be a board member. Board members are expected to attend board meetings (approximately three per year) and at least some of our programs. Otherwise, involvement is quite flexible. We generally take a divide and conquer approach!

Three of our board members are retiring this fall and one is on sabbatical, so we are looking for at least four new board members. We have specific vacancies which need to be filled:
1) Membership coordinator – manage database of members, send renewal reminders, coordinate with treasurer
2) Publicity chair – advertise events to our email list, ensure that events are advertised in the Boomerang, compile event descriptions for the newsletter/blog
3) Newsletter co-chair – work with newsletter editor to compile newsletter four times a year, write articles for newsletter or solicit articles from others

We are also looking for folks who are interested in being “odds-and-ends” board members, willing to fill in as needed for various activities: to arrange speakers, lead field trips, contribute articles to our newsletter or blog, or spearhead an outreach program in the community. If you would like become a board member to add a new facet or outreach project to Laramie Audubon, that’s an option as well--we are happy to hear your ideas!

If you are interested in becoming a board member for Laramie Audubon, please let us know at laramie.audubon@gmail.com. Provide a description of relevant experience or interests, explain what you would bring to the board, and note if you would like to fill a position listed above. We will distribute your description to LAS members so that they can be informed when they vote on board members in November. If you have questions before committing to be a candidate, please feel free to direct your concerns our way. If you join the board, your first commitment would likely be a board meeting in December; however, if you would like to get involved sooner we can bring folks aboard as interim members.

Libby Megna
LAS Secretary

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Upcoming trip: Rock Creek Canyon

We will travel to a birding hotspot at the north end of Snowies this Saturday, October 07. During fall migration, the morning flight of birds up Rock Creek Canyon can be really spectacular.

Because it is a bit of a drive to the canyon, we will meet at 7 am at the Eppson Senior Center to carpool. Bring binoculars and field guides, dress for the weather, and bring water and snacks.

Wilson's Warbler

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Trip report: Laramie hotspots

This past Saturday, we checked out two of Laramie's best birding spots: Greenhill Cemetery and the Greenbelt at Optimist Park. Despite chilly temps and overcast skies, the birding turned out to be pretty good.

Greenhill Cemetery was quite active, with a large warbler flock consisting of mostly Yellow-rumped Warblers and Wilson's Warblers. However, we also lucked into a Nashville Warbler. A flock of mixed sparrows, including several Clay-colored Sparrows, foraged in the community gardens. A Yellow-shafted Northern Flicker was present among several individuals of the Red-shafted subspecies. We also managed to get the nuthatch slam: Red-breasted, White-breasted, and Pygmy. In total, we encountered 36 species; our complete list is here.

The Greenbelt was not as birdy, but we did add a few species to our day list. Most notably, we had a distant flyby Lewis's Woodpecker. In total we had 27 species; our complete checklist is here.


Thursday, September 21, 2017

Migration Day at Commissary Ridge

HawkWatch International (HWI) announces the beginning of the 15th season of raptor migration research at the Commissary Ridge HawkWatch, located 25 miles north of Kemmerer, Wyoming, and will be co-hosting a migration celebration event.

This area hosts an amazing migration route for raptors traveling south for the winter, however few people are aware of the treasure in their own backyard.  Audubon Rockies, HawkWatch International, and the Wyoming Game and Fish Department have teamed-up to provide free public events on October 6 and 7.

Daly Edmunds, Audubon’s Director of Policy and Outreach in CO and WY, talks about Migration Day, October 6 and 7. "Together, we want to raise awareness and appreciation for these species," said Edmunds. "This is the first time we are offering this event and are really excited to be able to offer a variety of events that not only bring live raptors for people to see up close but also gives people an insider’s look at why Commissary Ridge is such an amazing place to see thousands of raptors each year."

For more information, visit www.hawkwatch.org/migratePlease register for these events so that organizers can stay in touch with you should weather conditions change. 


Click here for a downloadable PDF version of the poster.


Migration Day Events Schedule

Friday, Oct 6th – Come enjoy presentations by HWI, Audubon, and WGFD Nongame Biologist Susan Patla. Patla will briefly present about how Game and Fish manages bird (avian) species in WY and about avian species of conservation concern. Snacks will be available as the public learns about the unique migration route that sees thousands of raptors come by Kemmerer every year, and tips shared to help you identify a variety of beautiful birds.  Be ready to be amazed at seeing some of these live birds up close! Presentations will take place at the Kemmerer Public Library, beginning at 6 pm.

Saturday, Oct 7th – Start the day with a bird walk at Lake Viva Naughton, 8 am to 10 am.  If you have binoculars and/or spotting scope, you are welcome to bring them as we explore the lake and learn about the birds that call it home.  Note: Audubon and WGFD will have limited equipment that people can use at the site.

Saturday, Oct 7th – The public is invited to go hawkwatching with experts at Commissary Ridge HawkWatch from 11 am to 5 pm. Participants are welcome to stay as long as they want – to learn about raptor identification and why this area provides such unique opportunities for HWI to conduct migration research. Trapping efforts will be underway and if successful, participants will get to see one or more of these impressive birds up close and learn about measurements collected to help understand the health of our raptors.

This post written by HWI/Audubon Rockies/WYGFD, I just put it up. --Libby