Sunday, April 29, 2018

Upcoming trip: Arapaho NWR

We will head to Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge near Walden, Colorado, this Saturday, May 5. Meet at 8:00 am at Coal Creek Coffee downtown to caffeinate and carpool. The drive to Walden is about one and a half hours via Hwy 230 to Walden CO. We will probably also stop at Walden Reservoir on our way to Arapaho.

We will look for shorebirds and waterfowl in breeding plumage, raptors and grassland birds. We may get lucky and see the Western Grebes in courtship display running across the water at Walden Reservoir. At the refuge, there is a hiking/interpretive trail through wetlands where we should see swallows, wrens, warblers, and perhaps a moose. Be sure to bring plenty of snacks and water since this is a lengthy trip. It is possible to eat lunch in Walden after the field trip. We should return to Laramie by 2 pm, but participants in their own vehicles are welcome to leave at any time.

Birding the Wetland Nature Trail at Arapaho. Photo by Libby Megna.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Upcoming talk: Birding by Ear

Next Wednesday, April 25, Libby Megna will give an informal talk on common songbirds of Albany County, and how to identify them by sight and, especially, by sound. Taking your birding skills to the next level involves learning vocalizations--especially helpful for identifying sneaky species or those that spend a lot of time in dense foliage. This talk should be very helpful for beginning birders, and hopefully the experienced folks can learn some new things too. Birdsong is in full spring in April, so you will be able to practice what you learn from this talk right away!

We will meet in the Berry Center auditorium. Parking adjacent to the building is free after 5 pm. Bird chat and refreshments begin at 6:30 pm, and the talk will begin at 7:00 pm.

Baird's Sparrows have been reliable near Laramie the last couple summers--but only if you can find them by their song!

Sunday, April 15, 2018

Trip report: Snowy Range owling

The group prepares for an epic night of owling. Photo by Jimena Golcher-Benavides.

Last night, 18 hardy individuals braved the heavy snow, wind, and low temperatures of the high elevation forests in the Snowy Range in search of owls. I think I speak for everyone when I say it was completely worth it. Shortly after dusk, we heard a Boreal Owl singing its heart out. After a bit of work, most of the group was treated to stunning looks at the owl singing from a low perch. Later, some of us heard a second owl singing far away in the distance.

Below is a link to the eBird checklist from last night, including an audio recording of one bird singing and a few documentation shots from Adam Klessens.

Upcoming trip: Laramie hotspots

Join us on a journey through the best birding spots within Laramie this Saturday, April 21. We'll look for migrating songbirds, especially warblers and sparrows. We usually visit Greenhill Cemetery, Labonte Park, and the Greenbelt. After birding, we will clean up our section of the Greenbelt.

We will meet at 8 am at Coal Creek Coffee downtown to carpool. Bring binoculars and field guides, dress for the weather, and bring water and snacks. This is a great trip for beginning birders and families.
Fresh snowfall at LaBonte during this trip last year. Photo by Libby Megna.

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Upcoming trip: Owling in the Snowies

This Saturday, April 14, we will look for owls in the Snowy Range. Boreal Owls will be our target species, but Northern Saw-whet and Long-eared Owls are also possible. Depending on snow pack, this could mean up to a 3 mile hike, ski, or snowshoe. We will update this post with conditions as the trip approaches. Meet at Coal Creek downtown at 7:00 pm.

Boreal Owl

Sunday, April 1, 2018

Upcoming trip: Hutton Lake NWR

We will bird Hutton Lake National Wildlife Refuge this Saturday, April 7. The refuge is my favorite place near Laramie, and objectively one of the best places to bird this time of year--we should see ducks, shorebirds, grebes, raptors, and recently arrived songbirds. Migration is in full swing, so we could luck into a rarity!

We will meet at Coal Creek Coffee at 8 am to preemptively caffeinate and carpool. Please bring binoculars, a spotting scope if you have one, field guides, and snacks and drinks. Be prepared for windy conditions. Our trips to Hutton usually last until noon, but anyone is free to leave early if they bring their own vehicle or coordinate with carpool buddies.

Photo by Libby Megna