Date: 5/19/17 6:52 am From: Barb GORGES <bgorges4...> Subject: Snowbirds, Cheyenne Big Day Bird Count tomorrow
It's time to return to the main reason all of us subscribe to Wyobirds: sharing our joy in birds and birdwatching.
The snow is 11 inches deep in my backyard this morning-and no, that's not a drift. And it is still snowing.
Though I was not glued to the kitchen window watching birds at our feeders yesterday, I was surprised at how few migrants joined the throng of resident house finches and house sparrows.
A typical May storm, like Mother's Day the last two years, is colorful. Yesterday we saw a black-headed grosbeak and a lazuli bunting briefly, and a Swainson's thrush, plus a couple goldfinches. Normally we would see them all day, and more of them, plus indigo buntings, rose-breasted grosbeaks and lesser goldfinches if lucky, and white-crowned sparrows, Lincoln's sparrows and orioles. The feeders were not refilled while we were away May 8-16, so maybe the birds gave up on us.
Tomorrow is Cheyenne's Big Day Bird Count and conditions don't look good for a large turnout of migrants-or birdwatchers! Last Saturday one of our favorite places for spring migration, Wyoming Hereford Ranch, was thoroughly searched by expert birders from Boulder and Laramie and the number of species reported was lower than I would expect if the peak of migration was then. For instance, Laramie Audubon reported only two warbler species, no blue-gray gnatcatchers.
However, when we (Cheyenne - High Plains Audubon Society) add up the species on our Big Day spring counts, we include the species we see at WHR Reservoir #1. Typically, it's about 80 species for WHR total, of the 100-150 species we see for the day.
Anyone who wants to join us trudging around in the snow tomorrow can meet us at Lions Park at 6 a.m. in the parking lot south of the Children's Village on South Lions Park Drive. If you want to join us later, please call Mark Gorges, 307-287-4953, to find out where we are.
We will bird Lions Park first, then WHR, then the High Plains Grasslands Research Station. Pack your lunch or pick something up as we pass through town.
You can also call Mark, or email him at <mgorges...><mailto:<mgorges...>, if you bird on your own in the Cheyenne area tomorrow and want to share your list. And you are invited to join us for the tally party potluck Sunday evening. Ask Mark for the details.