Monday, April 22, 2013

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 

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