North Star Birding Species List | August 8, 2019
Thursday, August 8, 2019, 7:30AM - 10:30AM
Weather: Mostly sunny
Location: North Star Nature Preserve (in partnership with Pitkin County Open Space & Trails)
Great Blue Heron
Bird activity was high at the beginning of our walk along the East of Aspen Trail where Lincoln's sparrows were active in the willows along with yellow warblers, a black-chinned hummingbird, and a lazuli bunting. We observed a Lincoln's sparrow feeding a fledgling brown-headed cowbird here as well. On our way along the varied habitats of the western edge of North Star Nature Preserve, we saw cedar waxwings, Woodhouse's scrub-jays, and a flock of lark sparrows. The lark sparrows are early migrants, one of the first signs of fall movements in the upper Roaring Fork Valley. A family of mountain bluebirds gave us the chance to watch young birds learning to forage and being fed by parents, as well as learning the field marks of these fledglings (lightly spotted breast and little blue in wings and tail). After some mild bushwacking to reach the far side of the preserve, we spent some time in the edge of an aspen grove on an alluvial fan below a ravine where we were in good position to see a variety of birds in this 'edge' area. A family of red-tailed hawks was particularly vocal, house wrens were foraging and calling, and flickers were active in the forest. Other highlights were green-winged teal on a small body of open water and sora and spotted sandpiper that were detected by ear. Special thanks to Sandy Smith who joined us for this outing on the ranch formerly owned by her father, James Smith. Sandy shared stories from her childhood days on the ranch and the history of the property's transfer to Pitkin County's open space program. Join us next Thursday for the last of the outings in this series, with a focus on early fall bird migration.
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong