Monday, September 4, 2017

Laramie Bird Notes (8/24 - 9/4)

Migrant activity has been really good over the past week, especially in the songbird department. Although the Laramie Valley doesn't generally get a great diversity of warblers in migration, a respectable 11 species were recorded this past week. Orange-crowned and Yellow-rumped Warblers seem to have made a decent push into town recently, while a few Yellow Warbler reports may be some of our last for this early migrating warbler. In addition to the expected migrant warblers, we also had reports of two unusual species for our area, Black-and-White Warbler and Magnolia Warbler. Good places to find migrating warblers include Greenhill Cemetery, UW campus, the Greenbelt, and generally anywhere with lots of trees. Rock Creek Canyon on the north tip of the Snowy Range can be quite good for warblers in fall migration.

Magnolia Warbler. Photo by Nate Behl.

In other songbird news, a decent selection of vireo species has been found around town lately, including Warbling, Red-eyed, Cassin's, and Plumbeous. Sparrows are also on the move, with a few juncos (both Gray-headed and Pink-sided) and Clay-colored Sparrows being seen around town, as well as gobs of Chipping Sparrows. Chipping Sparrows have actually been moving out of the mountains since mid-July, on their way to wetter and more productive regions to complete their molt.

Flycatchers have also put on a good show lately. In town, several Empidonax species have been moving through, including Dusky, Hammond's, Gray, and Willow, along with Olive-sided Flycatcher and lots of Western Wood-Pewees. Further out on the plains, Western and Eastern Kingbirds continue to move through. Be sure to check those yellow kingbirds closely for a Cassin's, or maybe even something more unusual!

In addition to a few miscellaneous songbirds such as Hermit Thrush, Gray Catbird, and Western Tanager around town, crossbills are still around in decent numbers, though the big push of types 3 and 4 has calmed down a bit lately. Most Red Crossbills around right now are type 2. Even more exciting, an immature White-winged Crossbill was seen at Greenhill Cemetery in a flock of Reds, so be sure to pick through those crossbill flocks carefully! Crossbills moving through are really struggling to find food, so now is a good time to make sure your feeders are filled -- you might get lucky and have a flock visit for a while!

Compared to last week we have several more waterbird species to report. Baird's Sandpiper, Least Sandpiper, Solitary Sandpiper, Lesser Yellowlegs, Greater Yellowlegs, and Semipalmated Plover are some of the more notable shorebird species. Other waterbirds include good numbers of Franklin's Gulls and White-faced Ibis. Despite modest effort at searching Hutton Lake and Lake Hattie for jeagers and rare gulls, nothing has been found. Those intent on finding these and other rare waterbird species should continue to monitor these lakes, as several reports from Colorado and other nearby states have really picked up recently.

Baird's Sandpiper. Photo by Shawn Billerman.
 A couple noteworthy birds that didn't really fit well into the rest of the post include Rufous Hummingbirds (which will likely leave our area entirely in the next couple weeks) around the Berry Center on campus and a somewhat early Merlin on the Greenbelt.

No comments:

Post a Comment