Birding by Habitat a West Sopris Creek Species List
Wednesday, May 19, 2021 7am-11:30am
Location: West Sopris Creek
This field trip was an immersion experience in dry, upland mid valley habitats (pinyon-juniper woodlands, oak mountain shrublands, sagebrush shrublands) as well as nearby agricultural pastures and willow/cottonwood streamside riparian areas. We learned about the special suites of birds that associate with these habitats and spent time observing them at five sites between the Emma Schoolhouse and locations along West Sopris Creek Road. Despite having to work rather hard to see the birds, our trip list totaled a very respectable thirty-four species! Birds were at work on territories, and we were delighted to discover a blue-gray gnatcatcher pair and a yellow warbler pair, each building their nests.
Other special moments included seeing a wild turkey fully puffed with tail fanned, a dusky flycatcher singing (but out of sight), a Cooper's hawk soaring near a turkey vulture, and seeing a couple of black-headed grosbeaks in excellent light. For fun birding stories, including a photo of fledgling blue-gray gnatcatchers, read this article in Sojourner Magazine. Interested in knowing how can you help birds? There are many ways including bird safe glass, keeping cats indoors, eliminating plastics, and landscaping with native plants. But did you know that a couple of highly effective ways include your choices of coffee and rice? Farmers following bird friendly criteria for growing these crops provide critical migratory and wintering habitat that supports billions of birds, including many songbirds and shorebirds. Buying these products directly preserves bird habitat. Inspire your friends to choose bird friendly products and increase your positive impact for birds. Stay tuned to ACES website for upcoming birding outings in June!
Black-throated Gray Warbler
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong