Monday, April 28, 2014

Audubon Program Wednesday, 6:30pm, Sage Spirit Project Update by Dave Showalter

Audubon Program Wednesday, April 30, 2014
UW Berry Biodiversity Center
10th Street & Lewis Street (free parking after 5pm)
6:30 pm Bird Chat & Refreshments in Lobby
7:00 pm Program begins in Auditorium
Free and open to all public
Sage Spirit Project by Dave Showalter. Dave Showalter is a conservation photographer who is finishing a book and multi-media project—the Sage Spirit Project—that features our imperiled sagebrush ecosystem. Dave is not unique in his belief that the “sagebrush is the beating heart of the Intermountain West” but he does have a remarkable ability to capture its beauty and highlight the diversity of species that call this habitat home. He also has photographed the industrial development in this region and has worked to draw attention to these threats and foster protection for this ecosystem. Come and see spectacular photographs and support this important work to highlight and protect the sagebrush ecosystem.

Field Trip Arapaho NWR, Walden CO, May 3, 7:30am

When: Saturday, May 3, 2014

Where: Meet at Coal Creek Coffee, downtown Laramie, at 7:30am to caffeinate and carpool to Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge near Walden, Colorado.

Saturday is predicted to be a beautiful spring day while we travel to the refuge and other lakes near Walden CO, about 1.5 hours from Laramie.  Trip could take longer with many stops along the way.  We will look for waterfowl migrants and residents, shorebirds, raptors, birds in the short-grass and long-grass prairie, sagebrush ecosystem birds, riparian birds, and large mammals such as moose, deer and elk.  Sophie Osborn and Vicki Henry will co-lead this trip which is scheduled to last many hours but anyone may leave early if they have their own vehicle.

Swainson's Hawk - Albany Co., WY

Be sure to gas up ahead of time.  Bring plenty of snacks, a lunch possibly, and water.  Don't forget your binoculars and spotting scope if you have one.

Last year we were able to see the Western Grebes in their unusual mating ritual displays.  We hope to see them again this year.

Western Grebe - Albany Co., WY

Call 307-760-9518 or 307-742-6138 for more information.

Note: all photos in this post are © Shawn Billerman

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Trip Report - Laramie Plains Lakes, April 19

Eighteen people joined the Laramie Audubon field trip to the Laramie Plains Lakes and Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge. It was a great day, filled with many fantastic birds. Spring migration is in full swing around Laramie: songbirds, including various sparrows, Marsh Wrens, and Say's Phoebes, are arriving, and various shorebirds are also moving through Wyoming. The trip had many highlights, including several large flocks of Franklin's Gulls flying low across the prairie, many Common Loons on Lake Hattie, many grebes (Horned, Eared, and Western) on Lake Hattie and Hutton Lake, as well as American Avocets and a Willet at Hutton Lake. Additional new migrants included a pair of Blue-winged Teals at Meeboer Lake, several Tree Swallows, and a growing number of Great-tailed Grackles in the marshes around Gelatt Lake.

American Avocet - Hutton Lake NWR, Albany Co., WY - May 2013
Eared Grebe - Travis Co., TX - March 2014
Blue-winged Teal - Hidalgo Co., TX - March 2014

After the official trip ended, several of us continued birding through the afternoon. We birded the prairie north of Laramie, where we found many McCown's Longspurs and the first Chestnut-collared Longspurs of the year.

McCown's Longspur - Albany Co., WY - April 2014
Chestnut-collared Longspur - Albany Co., WY - April 2014
Chestnut-collared Longspur - Albany Co., WY - April 2014

Note: all photos in this post are © Shawn Billerman

Monday, April 14, 2014

Plains Lakes Field Trip: Sat., April 19, 8am

April 19: Plains Lakes/Woods Landing - Shawn Billerman will lead a second Plains Lakes trips in search of the many interesting species that pass through Laramie this time of year. We will also go to Woods Landing, time permitting. In particular, we will be looking for early spring migrants, including longspurs (McCown's and Chestnut-collared), shorebirds (yellowlegs, dowitchers, avocets, etc), raptors, and waterfowl. Other interesting birds we may find include various species of gull (including such local rarities as Lesser Black-backed Gull), grebes (Horned, Eared, and Western), and loons.

Meet at Coal Creek Coffee, downtown Laramie, at 8am to caffeinate and carpool. Dress for the worst weather. Bring binoculars, field guide(s), spotting scope if you have one, snacks and water. Gas up ahead of time. This trip will last several hours driving from one lake to the next, but anyone may return home at any time if you are in your own vehicle. Call Vicki Henry 307-760-9518 for more information.

McCown's Longspur - Twin Buttes Reservoir, Albany Co.
Greater Yellowlegs - Hutton Lake NWR, Albany Co.

Note: all photos in this post are © Shawn Billerman

Friday, April 4, 2014

Sage Grouse Field Trip Sat., Apr. 5, 5:10 a.m., Eppson Senior Center parking lot

Please join Laramie Audubon Society to visit a Sage Grouse lek north of Laramie.  Watch the Sage Grouse strut their stuff in their annual mating display.
Saturday, April 5, 2014
Meet at 5:10am to caravan, carpool
Eppson Senior Center parking lot (northwest corner of 3rd St and Curtis St)

We will leave the parking lot at 5:20 am sharp to be at the lek before sunrise.  Be sure to gas up ahead of time.  Call 307-760-9518 if you plan to attend or if you have questions.
It takes about 45 minutes to get to the lek and we will be traveling on rutted dirt roads so a 4WD and/or high clearance vehicle is a must.  If you do not have one and wish to attend, you may ride with someone who has the appropriate vehicle.
Bring very warm clothes and gloves, snacks and water, hot beverage optional. It will most likely be very windy and cold.  Don't forget your binoculars and spotting scope if you have one.
We will be back in Laramie by 8:00am.  So you'll have the rest of the day to do what you want.

Vicki Henry
Laramie Audubon Society