North Star Birding Series Species List | June 7, 2018
Tuesday, June 7, 2018, 7AM - 9AM
Location: North Star Nature Preserve and James Smith Open Space
Great Blue Heron
The morning chorus was diverse and rich in all areas where we birded this morning: the put-in at the South Gate, the East of Aspen Trail, and James Smith Property outside of the year-round heron closure area. Picking out individual songs against the background was good exercise, helping us focus on various common birdsongs and keying in on their 'handles' - a handle is a certain phrase or quality of a song that resonates with you as a birder. With experience, we can catalog these handles in our memory and gain the valuable skill of birding by ear. Highlights today were a Fox Sparrow that perched in good light and sang, providing an opportunity to study it through the scope. We also studied Violet-green Swallows in low flight as well as perched to practice seeing their key field marks. Yellow Warblers gave us more practice with their unique song, and a distant, singing Swainson's Thrush also allowed us to get experience with its flute-like song. The Great Blue Herons were quiet this morning, but we were able to note at least three (probably more) nests in spruce trees just downriver from their historic nesting site. The birds appeared to be brooding young, rearranging nesting material, preening, and just hanging out on the nests. We also heard and saw Spotted Sandpipers, one of a handful of ground-nesting birds that rely on the extensive, prime habitat at North Star for breeding. Join us for the next Pitkin County-ACES outing on June 22; see details at aspennature.org.
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong