ACES Morning Birding at Hallam Lake 02/06/24

Rebecca Weiss

February 6, 2024

ACES Morning Birding at Hallam Lake 02/06/24

Tuesday, February 6, 2024, 8:00-11:00am
Weather: Cloudy, relatively warm
Location: Hallam Lake, Aspen, CO

On this relatively warm February day, most of the open water at the Hallam Lake Nature Preserve was ice free with ice only covering the portion of the main lake that is farthest from the inflow end. A dipper foraged at the edge of the ice and shores of the lake while many mallards, a Hooded Merganser, a pair of Canada Geese, and a Pied-billed Grebe fed and rested on the open water. Mountain and black-capped Chickadees were active everywhere, and White-breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches were detected by ear in several spots. Near the beaver lodge, many fresh cut alders and other shrubs were evidence of this beaver family’s recent activity. As we approached this area, we had a brief sighting of one beaver swimming in the channel. We also heard what sounded like a Red-tailed Hawk, but thought it was probably a nearby Steller’s Jay giving some fake Red-tailed Hawk calls, given the jay’s presence, not seeing any hawks, and the cloudy conditions (not generally when soaring hawks are active). Today’s mini lesson focused on the different timings of seasonal plumages in birds out on the water in winter: waterfowl are currently in breeding plumage, while water birds (such as grebes) are in non-breeding plumage. Conversations flowed on a number of other interesting topics including the mechanism for seasonal bill-color change in birds, field marks to distinguish Pink-sided from Oregon Juncos, and identifying Dusky Grouse scat versus Ptarmigan scat. Join us on March 5!

Species List:

Canada Goose
Hooded Merganser
Pied-billed Grebe
Steller’s Jay
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
American Dipper
Song Sparrow

~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide

Featured photo: Steller’s Jay.

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