North Star Birding Species List | August 22, 2019
Thursday, August 22, 2019, 7:30AM - 9:30AM
Location: North Star Nature Preserve (in partnership with Pitkin County Open Space & Trails)
Great Blue Heron
Early bird migration was observed today in the ever-diminishing number of swallows present in this part of the Roaring Fork Valley and in the behaviors of many birds that are barely still singing, spending nearly all of their time foraging (to build up fat reserves), and in some species, gathering into flocks. We had to work hard for our observations this morning as birds darted between openings among trees and willows, diving deeply into dense foliage or perching only briefly in view. This did not daunt the group, however, as we know that such experience ultimately helps us practice seeing the subtler field marks, flight styles, and behaviors that can help us clinch or at least get very close to a positive identification. Song sparrows were particularly abundant, as were yellow warblers and robins. Two great blue herons flew over, giving us excellent views of this distinctive bird's flight style and body structure in flight. A red-tailed hawk perched briefly on a spruce tree was a nice reminder of the active red-tailed hawk nest that we spotted on a birding outing at North Star earlier in the summer. We noted adult birds with very worn plumage following the breeding season as well as young birds in fresh, crisp plumage produced by their recent post-juvenile molt. In addition to the birds, we were treated to wonderful looks at a small group of mule deer including a young buck with velvet antlers and two white-spotted fawns. North Star Nature Preserve is distinguished by National Audubon as an Important Bird Area, a landscape whose habitats are particularly critical to a great number of bird species, both resident and migratory. Join us again next summer for another series of ACES/Pitkin County Open Space birding outing at this spectacular and richly bio-diverse preserve.
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong