This week and next week are prime times to see thousands of Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes (not to mention other waterfowl) throughout the southeastern Wyoming region. Volunteers recently visited Springer/Bump Sullivan Wildlife Habitat Management Area and Table Mountain Wildlife Habitat Management Area – both just south of Torrington. Our thanks to Kirk Miller for the wonderful photograph of Snow Geese.
For those of you interested in a slightly longer trip, check out Rowe Sanctuary in south central Nebraska. Tickets are still available to view cranes for some April dates and you can also use their popular (and free!) Crane Cam (https://explore.org/livecams/national-audubon-society/crane-camera) to see the migration live from your home too! Look for activity at dawn and dusk. During the day, Sandhill Cranes leave the river to feed in nearly farm fields. Be sure to keep your sound on so that you can hear their calls as they come to and leave the Platte River.
Keep your eyes open for large white birds among the Sandhill Cranes. Whopping Cranes usually fly in later in the migration, mixing among the Sandhill Cranes both in the farm fields and on the Platte River.
Living in southeastern Wyoming, we are just a few miles away from the Central Flyway and one of the greatest migrations in the world. Don’t miss this amazing experience!
On Saturday, April 1st, the Laramie County Conservation District (LCCD) will hold a special “Cheatgrass Summit” at Archer Complex Building M. The time is 9 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. with coffee and donuts provided.
The Cheyenne-High Plains Audubon Society regularly partners with LCCD on projects such as improving wetlands, and planting native grasses and wildflowers in Laramie County.
As many local landowners know, Cheatgrass is highly invasive. It “cheats” by greening up earlier than many native grasses and robs these grasses of essential spring moisture. Once established, it is very difficult to control. Later in the summer as it dries, it becomes a fire hazard.
This conference will be of interest to Laramie County residents, agricultural producers, and herbicide applicators. Included on the program will be guest speaker Derek Sebastian of Envu; a company specializing in Vegetation Management (Envu). Mr. Sebastian will present on control methods. Rex Lockman, Wildlife & Range Specialist (LCCD) will also answer questions from the audience.
Please join the LCCD and Natural Resources Conservation Services to discuss the ABC’s of Cheatgrass in our area. Questions? Contact LCCD at 307-772-2600.
Are we rushing the season? Well, perhaps just a bit. After a few lovely spring-like days, many of us are ready for warmer days, little or no wind, bird migration and flowers!
The little fellow at left is a thrush that you might have seen in your neighborhood this winter. The Townsend’s Solitaire is about the size of an American Robin with a distinctive white circle around it’s eye. A primarily gray bird, this species sits at the top of trees and shrubs, staking out their territories throughout the year. In the winter, they come down from their preferred pine forests to enjoy juniper berries. You can learn more by checking out the Townsend’s Solitaire on The Cornell Lab’s “All About Birds“.
For more information about all of the events below, check out the February issue of “Flyer“, the CHPAS monthly newsletter!
March 18 – Field Trip – Torrington/Lingle to find the Cardinals
We will leave from the Lions Park parking lot at the Children’s Village at 8 a.m. We will drive north on US-85 to the Torrington area, about 82 miles. We will search the Rawhide Wildlife Habitat Management Area near Lingle for the Northern Cardinal and other birds. On the way back we may stop at Springer/Bump Sullivan WMA to see snow geese and other waterfowl.
We should return by 5 p.m., but if you drive, you can leave whenever you need to. Bring water and your lunch if you like.If you are interested in going, contact Grant Frost, 307-343-2024, so that he has a list of those expected, and can let you know if the plans change for any reason.
Mar. 21, at 7 p.m., at Laramie County Library in the Cottonwood Room, at 2200 Pioneer Ave.
Rustin Rawlings received permission from the arboretum to put up mountain bluebird nest boxes this winter and received a grant from Cheyenne Audubon for materials to build them. He will talk about the purpose of the nestbox project at the High Plains Arboretum, along with information about nest watch and general information about being a nestbox landlord. Rustin is looking for volunteers to help monitor the eight boxes during the breeding season. He’ll talk about his experience bringing other cavity-nesting birds to his Cheyenne backyard and what he has learned. By day he is a physician at the VA medical center.
March 25, 1:00 p.m. –High Plains Arboretum Bluebird Nest Box Project monitoring training
This is a hands-on training opportunity for those who might be interested in helping to monitor the nest boxes at the arboretum or are interested in knowing how it is done. We will meet at the arboretum at 1:00 p.m. located at the Cheyenne Field Station which is west of Cheyenne off of Round Top Rd. at 8301 Hildreth Road. We will also take some time to look for other spring migrants at the research station.
Registration is free but please sign up with Grant Frost, 307-343-2024, to be notified of any change of plans due to weather, etc. or for more information.
March 28, 6:30 p.m. – Board Meeting Contact Wanda Manley, email@example.com, if you would like to participate in helping to plan chapter activities. This meeting will be at the new Conservation District Office. Volunteers are needed!
March 31, 8:00 a.m. – Country Club Bird Survey Contact Chuck Seniawski to be on his email notice list: 307-638-6519 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The count will start in the Country Clubhouse’s main parking lot.
If you are like many of the CHPAS members, you are glad that a very cold January 2023 is behind us! But the snow brings higher water levels to the Front Range; hopefully bringing relief from the drought that we have been under for the last several years.
January was an exciting month, with a very successful presentation by author Bob Budd, discussing his book “Otters Dance: A Rancher’s Journey to Enlightenment and Stewardship“. Did you miss it? No problem! You can listen to the recorded presentation and learn more about his book here.
Four brave souls also braved the cold in January for a wonderful field trip to Wyoming Hereford Ranch. We all agreed that in addition to the beauty of the ranch in winter, a highlight was viewing our favorite Eastern Screech Owl who was contentedly sunning himself just outside his favorite hidey-hole.
Grant Frost took this photo of our little friend who surely must be the most photographed owl in the county! Note how perfectly he blends into the background. Our presence didn’t disturb him in the least!
For more information about all of the events below, check out the February issue of “Flyer“, the CHPAS monthly newsletter! February is a busy month!
February 4th – 9th Annual Habitat Hero Workshop“Landscaping for Water Realities on the High Plains” Learn how native plants can help us adapt to a drier future and support pollinators. Feb. 2nd is the last day to register for the workshop. Registration is capped at 100 in-person, but free virtual registration is also available. Interested? Learn more about the program and how to register here: 2023 Habitat Hero Workshop
February 16th – Library Presentation: Great Backyard Bird Count Introduction Thursday, Laramie County Library, 6 to 8 p.m., 2200 Pioneer Ave., Cheyenne. Chapter members will discuss common birds in our area in preparation for the Great Backyard Bird Count (GBBC). Then on Saturday, February 18th at 10:00 a.m., join chapter members in Lions Park at the parking lot for the Children’s Village for a bird hike in the park. Everyone, from beginners to experts, is invited to participate.
February 21st, 7:00 p.m. – Program: eBird Demystified: Tips, Tricks, and Best Practices to Get the Most out of eBird, with Don Jones.
Join us at the Laramie County Public Library in the Cottonwood Room for this fascinating presentation. eBird, the world’s largest citizen science project, is a powerful resource for birders and ornithologists alike. Despite its growing popularity, learning to use eBird can be intimidating and many birders are not familiar with all the tools and capabilities it has to offer. This presentation will cover all things eBird, including best practices for submitting checklists, using eBird to explore data and plan birding trips, the data review process, and how your eBird observations are being used by researchers in Wyoming. The program is also available via Zoom at: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84941419803?pwd=Q1JrbkNyZk15WHpKVmRLZ2lqZFlJQT09
February 24th, 8:00 a.m. – Country Club Bird Survey. Contact Chuck Seniawski to be on his email notice list: 307-638-6519 or email@example.com. The count will start in the Country Clubhouse’s main parking lot.
February 25th, 8:00 a.m. – Field Trip: Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge (Rescheduled from last month). We will tour the visitors center in Commerce City, Colorado, and look for bison, prairie dogs, bald eagles, other raptors and other wintering birds on the refuge.
We will leave from the Lions Park parking lot at the Children’s Village at 8 a.m. We will drive south on I-25 to the Arsenal. We should return by 3 p.m., but if you drive, you can leave whenever you need to. Bring water and your lunch if you like. If you are interested in going, contact Grant Frost, 307-343-2024, so that he has a list of those expected, and can let you know if the plans change for any reason
February 28th, 6:30 p.m. – Board Meeting. Contact Wanda Manley, firstname.lastname@example.org, if you would like to participate in helping to plan chapter activities. This meeting will be at the new Conservation District Office.
Audubon Friends, this is a reminder that ticket sales at Audubon’s Rowe Sanctuary (Gibbon, NE) are now open. If you have never seen the migration of the Sandhill Cranes, do put this on your “bucket list”. In March and into early April, Rowe Sanctuary reports that “over a million Sandhill Cranes converge on the Platte River Valley in central Nebraska”. They are on their way north to breed and the Platte River environment has everything that they need to rest and refuel for their trip.
We are so fortunate to be right next door to this amazing migration event.
Rowe Sanctuary is an easy ~ 5-hour drive from southeastern Wyoming; just get on I-80 and head east. Tickets go quickly! There are other viewing locations in the area including the Plautz Crane Viewing Deck (on Lowell Road) and Fort Kearny State Recreation Area.
What an exciting day we had on December 17th for the Cheyenne Christmas Bird Count! You can read more about the species that we saw and the numbers of birds in Barb Gorges article written for the January 23 Edition of Flyer. Some highlights include a flock of Bushtits seen by a number of our members during the months of November and December in Lions Park. These adorable little fellows were hanging out with the Mountain Chickadees in the scrub by Peanut Pond and near the stage area. A Pine Warbler has been a regular visitor during the fall to Chuck Seniawski’s backyard and fortunately, he stayed around for the count. Two Great Horned Owls and an Eastern-screech Owl made the count (both found east of Cheyenne), two Northern Shrike were spotted, as were one Merlin and one American Kestrel. Read about all of the species that were identified (a total of 51 were identified in the Cheyenne survey area) in Flyer.
More information about all activities can be found in the January 2023 issue of FLYER.
January 17, 7:00 p.m. – Program: “Otters Dance: A Rancher’s Journey to Enlightenment and Stewardship” book talk by Bob Budd.
Join us for the program held at the Laramie County Library in the Cottonwood Room, at 2200 Pioneer Ave. Books will be available for sale. Bob is a fifth-generation Wyoming native who has been executive director of the Wyoming Stock Growers Association, managed ranches for The Nature Conservancy and currently is executive director of the Wyoming Wildlife and Natural Resource Trust, a state agency. He’s also served as chair of the Wyoming Sage-Grouse Implementation Team.
January 21, 8:00 a.m. – Field Trip: Location TBA due to snow.
Due to expected snow, the location for this field trip will be changed to a site within Laramie County TBA. If you are interested in going, contact Grant Frost, 307-343-2024, so that he has a list of those expected, and can let you know if the plans change for any reason.
January 24, 6:30 p.m. – Board Meeting – Laramie County Conservation District Headquarters
The January meeting will be held at LCCD’s new headquarters at 1923 Whitney Road. Contact Wanda Manley, email@example.com, if you would like to participate in helping to plan chapter activities. We need more volunteers!
January 27, 8:00 a.m. – Country Club Bird Survey
Contact Chuck Seniawski to be on his email notice list: 307-638-6519 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The count will start in the Country Clubhouse’s main parking lot.
Don’t forget to register for the 9th Annual Habitat Hero Workshop, “Landscaping for Water Realities on the High Plains” scheduled for February 4, 2023 at LCCC.
An interesting array of species have been viewed in our region over the past months. Members have seen unusual visitors (staying well into the cold months) in Cheyenne, at Lions Park, and at Curt Gowdy State Park. At left is a Pine Warbler, seen visiting a north Cheyenne feeder throughout the latter part of November. Bushtits have been observed by a number of Audubon members in Lions Park. These rare visitors are primarily seen in Utah, Nevada, and Oregon; not in Wyoming. This year, eBird data reports Bushtit sightings in Cheyenne and throughout the Front Range; from Colorado Springs to Wellington, CO.
More information is included about the upcoming Cheyenne Christmas Bird Count, scheduled for Saturday, December 17th. With such a number of rare visitors in the area, the opportunity for “life birds” is a real possibility. Join us!
More information about all activities can be found in the December issue of FLYER.
Saturday, December 17 – Cheyenne Christmas Bird Count
Meet at the downtown Post Office at 8:00 a.m., 2120 Capitol Ave. or be a field observer on your own! If you are interested in participating, contact Grant Frost, 307-343-2024, so that he has a list of those expected, so he can let you know if the plans change for any reason such as stormy weather. Complete instructions are found in the December newsletter.
If you are doing an area assigned by Grant, please start there by 8 a.m. Throughout the rest of the day, you are free to look for birds anywhere within the Cheyenne count circle—see map on Page 3 of the newsletter. Record numbers of each species you observe and the amount of time and distance you walk and the amount of time and distance you drive. Keep track of where and when you saw species of note so we can tell if you counted the same bird or flock as someone else.
Watching your home feeder? Please visit the December issue of FLYER to get a Feeder-Watcher Data Sheet. You will find instructions about how to count birds at the feeder and how to report your results.
Come to the tally party (December 17 at 5:30 p.m., Perkins Restaurant – 1730 Dell Range Blvd.) with your results or contact Grant Frost, CBC coordinator, 307-343-2024, email@example.com.
Friday, December 30, 8:00 a.m. – Country Club Bird Survey
Contact Chuck Seniawski to be on his email notice list: 307-638-6519 or firstname.lastname@example.org. The count will start in the Country Clubhouse’s main parking lot.
If you are going to join the count, please let Jane Dorn know at 307-640-4002. Also call her if the weather turns nasty; she will set an alternate date. Bring water, lunch, warm clothes, binoculars, and a scope if you have one, and whatever you need for a day watching birds at Guernsey State Park, Ft. Laramie National Historic Site, the Oregon Trail Ruts and Hartville.
Birding on your own or watching your feeders? The center point of the 7.5-mile radius count circle is where Highway 26 crosses the Goshen County/Platte County line. Please send in your results ASAP to the count compiler, Jane Dorn, 307-640-4002, email@example.com.
Anyone in the neighborhood of the count area is welcome to meet Jane at 8 a.m. at the Ft. Laramie Post Office, or at 9:30 a.m. at the main entrance to Guernsey State Park.
The 9th Annual Habitat Hero Workshop will be held at Laramie County Community College on Saturday, February 4th. Program details are now available on the CHPAS Habitat Hero webpage with registration information to follow shortly. Lunch is included with the $ 25.00 registration fee. In-person attendance is limited to 100 participants. Zoom information will be available at a later date.
Highlights will include “A Prairie Reconciliation” with Jim Tolstrup, Director of the High Plains Environmental Center; “Groundwater Essentials” with Cheryl Miller, Hydrologist with the United States Geological Survey; “Native Prairie Islands” with Rex Lockman of the Laramie County Conservation District; “Urban Strategies for Caching Water in the Soil” by Nancy Loomis, Master Gardener; and “Habitat Hero Pollinator Monitoring” with Zach Hutchinson, Community Science Coordinator for Audubon Rockies. The afternoon will include the popular Winter Sowing with opportunities to learn more about the PrairieSeeding Program, Ground Water education, and Q & A with Jim Tolstrup.
More information about how to register for both the in-person workshop and Zoom will be coming in the next weeks.
On Thursday, November 3rd, the Front Range had it’s first snow for the 2022/2023 winter season. Ever concerned about our feathered friends, our bird feeders went up to host a multitude of birds that winter in our area. To date, business has been heavy, with American Goldfinch, Mountain Chickadees, Blue Jays, and the regular assortment of sparrows, finches, and doves. We’ll keep our feeder filled now for the duration of winter. I hope that our little Red-Breasted Nuthatch comes back to visit. His little “peep, peep, peep” call is one that I love to hear; even when he is chiding us for not keeping the feeder filled!
Many interesting birds are still visible at Lions Park and Wyoming Hereford Ranch.
Observers report multiple sightings of the Blue-headed Vireo, Bushtits, and more. Kirk Miller provided CHPAS with a lovely photo of a Belted Kingfisher seen at Lions Park this week. So dress warmly and get out there … the birds are waiting!
More information about all activities can be found in the November issue of FLYER.
Tuesday, November 15, 7:00 p.m. – Program: “Cheyenne’s Water Supply – from the source to you” with Sarah Bargsten, Cottonwood Room, Laramie County Library, Cheyenne.
We will be taken on a journey through time and across Wyoming to learn how Cheyenne gets its water.
Sarah brings technical knowledge and a collaborative spirit from a career in environmental science to her position as Water Conservation Specialist for the City of Cheyenne Board of Public Utilities. In this role, she is working with stakeholders in careful stewardship of our water resources to ensure a sustainable future for Cheyenne.
Cheyenne Audubon takes our guest speakers out to a no-host dinner before our meetings If you would like to join us at 5 p.m. at 2 Doors Down, 118 E. 17th, please call Barb at 307-287-4952 so that we can reserve enough room. We usually sit upstairs where there are fewer people. It’s a good way to meet a few of our members. The program will also be accessible via Zoom at: https://us06web.zoom.us/j/84716468658?pwd=N1d5dkE5Y0pLZzJGUjM2T2xDckNxQT09
November 19, 8 a.m. – Field Trip: Birding Curt Gowdy State Park
We will be leaving at 8 a.m. from the Lions Park parking lot between the Children’s Village at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens and the picnic shelter to drive to the Curt Gowdy Visitor Center. We will be mainly on hiking trails with uneven ground. Bring water and dress for variable weather. We expect to head to town by noon. We hope to see Red Crossbills and a variety of other wintering birds including three types of nuthatches.
Please contact Mark Gorges at 307-287-4953 if you plan to join us, so that we have a list of those expected and can let you know if the plans change for any reason such as bad weather. If you plan to drive, be aware that you will need a day pass which you can buy there if you do not have an annual pass for your vehicle.
November 22, 6:30 p.m. – Board Meeting – Laramie County Library, Sage Room
What a lovely fall we have had in the Front Range. The aspens are almost a neon yellow in the mountains – we hope that you’ve enjoyed a fall drive or hike in the Snowy Range or another lovely area.
Back in Cheyenne, we are still seeing migrants flying south. Just yesterday (10/02), one of our members was fortunate to see a Black-throated Blue Warbler at their home in Cheyenne. A photo by National
Audubon Photography winner Lorraine Minns shows this little jewel of a bird. What a rare treat!
For those who can’t get to the mountains before the snow flies, remember that Wyoming Hereford Ranch (WHR) is an “Important Birding Area” for Audubon. A walk by the creek may reveal many species of birds who pass over our region, stopping at WHR for a needed rest.
Lions Park always delights and here too, many passing migrants may take a rest. Lions Park is the second “Important Birding Area” for our community. For more suggestions on where to hike this fall and winter, see “Birding Our Area – Locations” on the CHPAS website.
More information about all activities is provided in the October issue of FLYER
October 15, 8 a.m. – Field Trip: Colorado State University Environmental Learning Center
We will leave at 8 a.m. from the Lions Park parking lot between the Children’s Village at the Cheyenne Botanic Gardens and the picnic shelter. We will be hiking trails and some uneven ground. Bring water and dress for variable weather. We expect to be done by noon.
The 212-acre property offers visitors the opportunity to explore four distinct ecosystems: riparian, cottonwood forest, wetland and grassland. We can expect to see waterfowl and a variety of other birds including some of our summer birds, like the Yellow-rumped Warbler, that has been reported in that area through the fall. The area is an eBird hotspot boasting a list of 265 bird species. Carpooling may be available. If you wish to drive to the location yourself you can find directions in the October issue of Flyer newsletter.
Please contact Mark Gorges at 307-287-4952 if you plan to join us, so that we have a list of those expected and can let you know if the plans change for any reason such as bad weather.
October 18, 7:00 p.m. – Program featuring Zach Hutchinson, Cottonwood Room, Laramie County Library, Cheyenne
The Cheyenne – High Plains Audubon Society invites the public to a free, in-person program, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Cottonwood Room of the Laramie County Library, 2200 Pioneer Avenue. Zach Hutchinson, community science coordinator for Audubon Rockies, will present on past, current, and future community science projects conducted by Audubon Rockies and their partners. He will focus on projects in Wyoming but also touch on projects occurring outside of the state that might be used in the Cowboy State in the future.