Monday, April 22, 2013

Come hear about RMBO's Colony Watch - Wed April 24th at 7 pm

The Laramie Audubon monthly meeting will be held this Wednesday, April 24th. This month we will be hearing about colonial waterbirds from Chuck Hundertmark with the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.

Meeting Schedule:
6:30 pm - Bird Chat and refreshments
7:00 pm - Update on Mortenson Lake and Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuges Expansion Project
7:15 pm - Colonial Waterbirds of North Park: Preliminary Results of a Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory Citizen Science Project by Charles A. Hundertmark, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory.

Program Description:
From 1998 through 2012, biologists and volunteers from Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory (RMBO) monitored breeding populations of 12 species of colonial waterbirds as well as Osprey, Bald Eagle, and Willet in North Park. The colonial waterbird species predominantly nest on or near the numerous reservoirs and ponds of this north-central Colorado mountain park.

This monitoring, conducted through Project Colony Watch, was initiated as an integral part of the comprehensive Monitoring Colorado’s Birds program. After 15 years, a picture is emerging of dynamic population fluctuations that respond to sometimes abrupt or dramatic changes in water levels. While populations of some species (e.g., Eared Grebe, American White Pelican, California Gull) appear to be stable, others (e.g., Franklin’s Gull, Black and Forster’s Tern) endure at marginally viable levels. This presentation will discuss colony locations, changes in colony size and location, and movement of species among colonies.

Our meetings are held on the University of Wyoming campus in the Berry Biodiversity Center located at the corner of 10th & Lewis Streets. There is free parking after 5pm. Laramie Audubon Society programs are free and open to all public.

White-faced Ibises

Liz Young is a long-time member of National Audubon Society and recently moved to the Laramie area.  She lives in the mountains near Vedauwoo at about 8700 feet above sea level.  This morning during the snow storm, she spotted three White-faced Ibis in her yard.  Here are some pictures of the wayward visitors to her yard. 

Plains Lakes Trip Report

Nesting Great Horned Owl
After a week of cold and snow, the sun finally emerged for Laramie Audubon’s Plains Lakes field trip, and the birds were equally cooperative. Waterfowl and raptors predominated. Large numbers of ducks fed, loafed, and engaged in early courtship displays on Osterman Lake, Meeboer Lake, Gelatt Lake, and Twin Buttes Lakes. (We did not have time to visit Lake Hattie or Woods Landing). American White Pelicans showed off their breeding season bill horns while American Avocets swept their elegant bills through the shallow water. A beautiful cream-colored Great Horned Owl peered at the assembled birders from her nest as did a more nervous incubating Red-tailed Hawk. We were delighted to see a late-season male Rough-legged Hawk and some of us were fortunate enough to see a female Merlin. A male McCown’s Longspur perched in the gravel in front of our car by Meeboer Lake and regaled us with his beautiful song. A possible Greater Scaup and a Clark’s Grebe garnered lots of attention and some debate. But the bird that stole the show and made everybody’s day was an achingly beautiful Peregrine Falcon that treated us to lengthy close-up views. She seemed unconcerned by our presence as she stretched her wings and legs, and gazed out over the snowy landscape. She lingered on her fencepost perch long after we’d moved on in search of other birds. And she lingers still in the minds of those fortunate few who had a chance to fill their binoculars and scopes with her elegant image during our field trip. We saw 44 species in total and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Come and join us for the next one: Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge (in Colorado) on May 4, 2013.
Birding at the Plains Lakes
Laramie Audubon Society trip to Laramie Plains Lakes – 44 species:

Pied-billed Grebe 
Eared Grebe 
Clark's Grebe 
Double-crested Cormorant 
American White Pelican 
Canada Goose 
Northern Pintail 
American Wigeon 
Northern Shoveler 
Cinnamon Teal 
Green-winged Teal 
Ring-necked Duck 
Greater Scaup – One possible
Lesser Scaup 
Common Goldeneye 
Ruddy Duck 
Turkey Vulture 
Northern Harrier 
Red-tailed Hawk 
Ferruginous Hawk 
Rough-legged Hawk   
Bald Eagle 
American Kestrel 
Peregrine Falcon 
American Coot 
American Avocet 
Franklin's Gull 
Ring-billed Gull 
California Gull 
Great Horned Owl 
Northern Flicker 
American Crow 
Common Raven 
Horned Lark 
McCown's Longspur 
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark 
Yellow-headed Blackbird 

Friday, April 19, 2013

Poaching Around Laramie

We have received reports of poaching around Laramie, both at the Plains Lakes and Hutton National Wildlife Refuge. It is illegal to hunt within the refuge and it is illegal to hunt migratory birds (Migratory Bird Treaty Act). If you encounter poaching, please protect yourself and then contact officials. You may be given a reward if an arrest and citation are made. 

The "STOP POACHING" Hotline phone number is 1-877-WGFDTIP (1-877-943-3847) or 1-307-777-4330 for out-of-state "STOP POACHING" calls only. Here's a link to their website: 

Alternatively, you can call the local police at 911.

Field Trip to Plains Lakes/Woods Landing, April 20

Tomorrow Sophie Osborn and Catherine Symchych will lead a Laramie Audubon field trip to the Plains Lakes and Woods Landing. The lakes and plains could be filled with migrants and passers-through, while eagles and other raptors cruise the skies. Depending on conditions, we will head to Osterman pond, Meebor, Gelatt, and Twin Buttes, and then Woods Landing to see what's hanging around the river and mountains. Call 307-721-9841 (Catherine) or 307-760-8546 (Sophie) for more information.

Meet at Coal Creek Coffee at 8 am, 110 E. Grand Ave., downtown Laramie to caffeinate and carpool.

Field Trips are free and open to all levels of birders. You may drive your own car or ride with someone else. Bring binoculars, scope (if you have one), field guide(s), snacks and water. Dress for the worst weather and then add a layer. Families are welcome. Be sure to gas up ahead of time. Field trips may last for several hours. You may return to Laramie at any time if you have your own transportation.

***Please note that the trip to the local Sage-Grouse lek has been CANCELED for this weekend and is now scheduled for Saturday, April 27th.***

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Sage Grouse Trip CANCELED

**UPDATE** The field trip on Saturday, April 12 to the Greater Sage Grouse Lek has been CANCELED due to impassable road conditions to the lek.

The field trip has been rescheduled for Saturday, April 20.  Further updates will be posted to the website as the new trip date approaches.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Weekend Trip to Local Sage-Grouse Lek

Saturday morning, April 13th at 5:00 am. Come watch the grouse strut their stuff!

Meet at 5am at the Eppson Senior Center parking lot, Curtis & 3rd St., Laramie.  We will carpool to the lek at 5:10am sharp.  Please call 516-376-4587 (Shawn) or 307-760-9518 (Vicki) if you plan on attending so we will have an idea about how many people to expect.  4WD recommended.  Carpooling encouraged.  It is very windy at the lek so dress extra warm.  We are usually back in Laramie by 8 or 8:30 am. 

Alternate date in case of inclement weather or impassable roads is April 20, same time and place. If that day is bad, then we will try April 27, 4:30 am, leaving at 4:45 am sharp.

Dress for the worst weather.  Bring snacks and water, hot beverage optional, binoculars, scope if you have one, and field guides.  You may return to Laramie at any time if you have your own transportation.  Families are welcome.  We stay close to our automobiles so as not to disturb the grouse.  Be sure to gas up ahead of time!