Monday, February 27, 2017

Laramie Bird Notes: Week of February 20, 2017

Hello readers of the Laramie Audubon Society blog! We (Cody and Doug) are going to begin a weekly report of the birds we see in and around town. You can let us know what birds are around your neck of the woods, too, by leaving a comment below our post!

Last week, we made a concerted effort to break the doldrums of winter and try to see what birds were hiding in Laramie. During daily bird walks on the University of Wyoming campus we were rewarded with a Swamp Sparrow (Melospiza georgiana), presumably the same one found earlier in the winter by Don Jones and still hanging around the Agriculture building. Other noteworthy birds on campus were a flock of Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum) and singing Pine Siskin (Pinus spinus) and Townsend’s Solitaire (Myadestes townsendi). One of Doug's favorite birds, Dark-eyed Junco (Junco hyemalis) also showed up this week. You can keep track of what birds are on campus by checking the eBird hotspot for the University of Wyoming.

Moving off campus, we lucked into a flock of Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus) in West Laramie near the Laramie River. While picking through the flock, Cody noticed a smaller bird that turned out to be a vagrant Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus)! We were pretty excited to see an unexpected bird, let alone a species that is almost never seen in southeast Wyoming.

Rusty Blackbird (Euphagus carolinus) found by Cody Porter in West Laramie. Photo by Nate Behl.
Also in the fields west and north of town we found many wandering mixed flocks of Horned Lark (Eremophila alpestris) and Lapland Longspur (Calcarius lapponicus). We didn't manage to find any Snow Buntings in those flocks, but they have been heard flying over town. Mountain Bluebird (Sialia currucoides) has returned to the Laramie Basin and you can also find plenty of predatory birds on the plains like Rough-legged Hawk (Buteo lagopus), Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), and Northern Shrike (Lanius excubitor).

Lastly, we wanted to report that some of the plains lakes have open water. Blake's Pond and Lake Hattie both had open water where we found Redhead (Aythya americana), Ring-necked Duck (Aythya collaris), and Mallard (Anas platyrynchos).

There's a lot of winter ahead, but if you look hard enough you just might find something on the wind-swept plains of Laramie!

Good birding,
Cody and Doug

No comments:

Post a Comment