It was a week of moody weather in the Laramie Valley, with a couple of signs that bird life is returning to the high plains.
Overhead, you may have begun seeing several groups of birds common during early Spring migration: ducks, geese, and gulls. Due to open water on the plains lakes, many ducks have been reported. Some diving ducks like Lesser Scaup, Redhead, and Canvasback as well as dabbling ducks like Northern Pintail, Green-winged Teal, and Gadwall all appear to be spending time in our fair county. If you pay attention to the skies above you, even in town, you might have noticed several groups of Canada Goose as well as a dozen or so solitary gulls flying overhead. Yesterday, two birders found a Lesser Black-backed Gull at Meeboer Lake. Gull diversity has certainly grown leaps and bounds in the past week!
Bald Eagle, a bird seen pretty commonly in our area, seem to be migrating through in large numbers lately. Over 30 individuals were reported on the drive back to town from Lake Hattie yesterday.
Up in the Medicine Bow Range on the other side of the valley, our local crossbill experts are still finding birds pairing up to raise young. If you've ever wondered why crossbills breed at all times of the year or anything else about crossbills, check out Cody's lead article in our December 2015 newsletter which you can download here.
As far as songbirds, a quick look on the eBird data report for Albany County shows the only newly reported bird last week was a Cassin's Finch. Mountain Bluebirds continue to pour onto the plains; Cody saw 50 or so yesterday when out birding with a friend. Be heartened, early migrants typically begin showing up in our area beginning in mid- to late-March. Who among us will see the first Lincoln's Sparrow, or Say's Phoebe, or Hermit Thrush of the year? These are all birds that you might expect to show up early, especially if you look hard enough for them. I hope all of you have a chance to go out and look for birds as the weather becomes a bit more friendly.
Cody and Doug