Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Spring Migration Under Way

Despite the recent cold weather and snow, spring migration is already under way around Laramie. Some warm weather created open water patches on many of the local lakes and ponds, and ducks have already started filling them. Redhead (Aythya americana) appear to be one of the most abundant ducks arriving back, but many other species are also showing up, including Northern Pintail (Anas acuta), American Wigeon (Anas americana), Green-winged Teal (Anas crecca), and Canvasback (Aythya valisineria), among others.

Redhead - Lake Hattie, Albany Co.

In addition to the returning waterfowl, gulls, dominated by California Gulls (Larus californicus), are also showing up on many of the lakes in the area. Some early songbird migrants are also returning, most notably Red-winged Blackbirds (Agelaius phoeniceus) at many marshes, and Cassin's Finches (Haemorhous cassinii) in the foothills. In addition to new arrivals, many resident species are also showing clear signs of spring, as many can be heard singing loudly across town, setting up territories and attempting to attract mates.

California Gull - Albany Co.
Cassin's Finch - Albany Co.

Get out and enjoy these early migrants, and get ready for the arrival of many more in the coming weeks and months as spring migration continues to march onward.

Note: all photos in this post are © Shawn Billerman

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