Date: 7/16/17 2:50 pm
From: David McDonald <DBMcD...>
Subject: Purple Martin Sierra Madres

Beth and I just returned from camping in the Sierra Madres (W of Saratoga/Encampment). We were hoping to see the Flammulated Owls that son Will and I saw about 10 days ago. No luck.

But … on an evening walk while waiting for it to get dark I watched a male Purple Martin in with a mix of swallows for at least 10 minutes at close range. For some reason (emergence of ant alates?) the swallows and the martin were landing on the rocky slope above the road, so I had very close, static looks at it as well as the size comparison as it flew amongst the swallows. This was at the Battle Creek Campground, about halfway between the “campground” (very neglected) and the bridge.

The RMBO crews found Purple Martins near Savery (W end of the Sierra Madres, closer to Baggs) some years back, but I am not aware of reports from the Battle Creek valley. I think I saw one driving south from Laramie on 287 years ago, but did not feel comfortable calling it a sighting. This one was satisfyingly close.

During our owl quest, we did have a black bear cross the road in front of us, in the (unusual for WY) oak zone between the belts of aspens where the Flamms often occur. Aspen alley was very quiet – no sign of owls. But the stars were perhaps that either of us has ever seen.

We also heard Sandhill Cranes during the night. Several Northern Three-toed Woodpeckers when we hiked north on the Continental Divide trail this morning.

Happy trails, Dave McDonald

David B. McDonald <dbmcd...>
Dept. Zoology & Physiology, Dept. 3166
1000 E. University Ave.
Laramie, WY 82071

cell (307)-760-9360
Office: BioSci 415; Lab. BioSci 441
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