SE Colorado Birding

Birding and discussion: A conservation-oriented birding blog that emphasizes low-impact birding and sustainable birding practices together with the enjoyment of birds. Southeast Colorado offers a diversity of habitats which provide premiere birding opportunities. Save Sabal Palm

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Lake Teshekpuk, nursery for many birds at risk

My last post on the sound recordings by Cornell Lab of Ornithology on Alaska's North Slope leads to another NPR program "Oil or birds", also about Alaska's North Slope. Some of you may have heard of Teshekpuk Lake, one of the most important breeding areas in the Arctic, where the Bureau of Land Management has renewed it's efforts to drill for oil (National Audubon Society successfully sued them last year to stop the drilling until they did an environmental impact statement). This is a very sensitive area with vast vital wetlands important to many bird species including birds we see in Colorado such as Long-tailed Duck and Yellow-billed Loon. You can read the transcript of the program or listen to it at NPR online

As important as it is for birders to take action to support conservation of habitat in Colorado, it is also important to help protect those species we are priviledged to observe that breed in the Arctic including at Teshekpuk Lake. Those of you who are parents and grandparents will hopefully put forth a special effort to help ensure that a diversity of bird species survive so future generations can enjoy them. You can read more about this issue at Audubon Alaska . Do you have 10 minutes to help save nesting grounds for all the birds listed above and dozens more? Send comments opposing opening Teshekpuk Lake to oil drilling--see options to send comments including a web form on BLM's website(comments due Oct 23). The full draft EIS is available at that site though it will take more than 10 minutes to read. Or just click on the banner for the below to fill out an easy form. SeEtta



Gosh, it's been over 2 weeks since I have posted-thanks to my aging and problem-prone computer. This photograph a Black-bellied Plover was taken by Peter Wallack and comes courtesy of the National Biological Information Infrastructure. These species breed in the Arctic and relate to the following.

I heard a program on Colo Public Radio today from "Living On Earth" entitled "Birds of the North Slope". It describes a biologist working for Cornell Lab of Ornithology who recently spent time in the Arctic getting recordings of many of the birds that breed there including a number that either winter in or migrate through Colorado including Semipalmated Sandpiper, Greater White-fronted Geese, Horned Grebes, Arctic Terns and Brandts as well as uber-rarities found only in that area such as Grey-headed Chickadees. If you missed it, you can catch it at NPR online .

Even better than the program is the travel log, annotated with great photos, of this Alaska Audio Expedition. I strongly recommend it as fascinating reading with wonderful photography. It can be found at Living On Earth online and there are links to both a photo and a sound gallery.



Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Swainson Hawks migrating through Colorado

I enjoyed watching good numbers of Swainson Hawks as they begin their fabulous long migration to their wintering grounds in Argentina, the longest migration of any American hawk. I saw the bird in these photos in Otero Co. on the road to Blue Lake. You can see what long slender wings they have.
I see a number of Swainson Hawks in this area, which has large swaths of grassland, in the fall. There are usually a good percentage of juveniles among them.
Swainson Hawks also nest in southeast Colorado and so they can be seen throughout the breeding season here. Read more about them onCornell's All About Birds website.



Sunday, September 09, 2007

Fall migration in lower Arkansas Valley

I have been down in the lower Arkansas Valley of Colorado for the past week to enjoy fall migration. Last night a cold front moved through and there was a small "fall-out" of migrants at the Lamar Woods, a migrant trap behind Lamar Jr College. Among a number of Wilson Warblers were a Blue-headed Vireo (a rarity here), and two Warbling Vireos including the one in this pic. There was a flock of Cedar Waxwings that I heard several times before watching them fly over.

Sadly, this important neotropical stop-over is being taken over by more and more non-native weeds. Though the warblers and other landbirds use the very invasive Tamarisk and Russian-Olive trees that are there, there is an increase in plants such as annual kochia and grasses that do not provide good habitat.

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Sunday, September 02, 2007

Mission Migration-Audubon online video game

As part of Audubon's outreach efforts, a conservation oriented online video game has been developed. It actually teaches conservation as scoring is based on it as you fly flocks of migrating birds over various landscapes and try to find appropriate habitat. I suspect that our younger birders can come up with high scores. I played it a few times (my scores are confidential) and it was kind of a kick.

Check it out here

Please forward it especially to younger folks. It's a free and fun way to teach bird conservation.

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