Monday, July 15, 2019

Gap Lakes Trip Report

The vast majority of us (myself included) missed a great trip last Saturday.  Here's Brian's trip report:

On 13 July 2019 Jimena Golcher-Benavides joined Brian Waitkus during the hike to the Gap Lakes in the Snowy Range.  The unusually large amount of snow this year required walking into the area from Highway 130 doubling the normal length of the hike and could have resulted in the lower number of birds being sighted.  During the walk into the area we reviewed the calls of the Brown-capped Rosy-finch.  While at the south slope of North Gap Lake we heard one Rosy-Finch call but were unable to sight the bird.  In addition to the Rosy-finch call we recorded numerous robin and White crowned sparrow with fewer American Pipit.  One male Peregrine falcon, one male Northern harrier and two Northern flicker were also observed.  Despite the snow and the lower number of birds being observed the great weather gave us a wonderful day in the mountains.
One of the many drifts across the road leading to the Sugarloaf Recreation Area trailhead
(photo courtesy of Brian Waitkus)

Sunday, July 14, 2019

LAS returns to Thursday Local Market for Kids' Activities!

We've had a busy summer with kids activities, including nature BINGO and planting pollinator-friendly flower seedlings at Thursday Local Market in Undine Park and monitoring tree swallow nest boxes at the Wyoming Territorial Prison.

Kids of all ages are invited to join us again at the market this Thursday, July 18, from 3 to 6pm at the SE corner of Undine Park. We will have nature BINGO for those intrepid explorers who wish to roam the park looking for birds and bunnies, insects and vegetables, and more. For those who are interested in a more artistic pursuit, learn about birds of the Rocky Mountains, including our own state bird the Western Meadowlark, with coloring pages, or try your skill at finding hidden birds and their eggs in a coloring camouflage "hidden feathers" activity.

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Field Trip Saturday - Snowy Range Hike

Join us on Saturday, July 13 for Laramie Audubon’s fourth annual trip to the Snowy Range to hike to the Gap Lakes with hopes of seeing Brown-capped Rosy-Finch.  We will carpool from Coal Creek Downtown, leaving at 7:30 am to the Sugarloaf Recreation Area. 
Brown-capped Rosy-Finch (courtesy of Brian Waitkus)
 This past winter was an exceptional year of snow in this area, the road into the Lewis and Libby Lakes parking area remains closed to vehicle traffic due to the eight snow drifts still crossing the road.  We will hike in from Highway 130 approximately 2.3 miles to the Gap Lakes area.  As of Monday, Libby Lake is mostly clear of ice, Lewis Lake is 60% open and South Gap lake is completely ice covered. 
The trail from the parking lot is more than 50% still covered with snow and the water in areas is running higher than normal.  It will be interesting to see the yearly weather variations of the Snowy Range and how this affects the local bird life.  The trip to the Gap could take 1.5 hours and with approximately 1 hour near north Gap Lake the total hike could take 4 hours.
Birds seen so far this summer include White-crowned Sparrows, juncos, warblers, American Pipits, and robins.  Marmots are in abundance with fewer numbers of pikas.  The snow has retarded the growth of wildflowers so could give a good show.
Bring binoculars, rain/windproof clothing and layers suitable for cold/windy weather as well as more clement conditions, sunscreen, insect repellent (was not needed this Monday), snacks/lunch, water, and hiking boots for walking on talus, wet ground, and snow. 
If you have questions, please contact the trip leader (Brian) at