ACES Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch 05/14/24

Rebecca Weiss

May 15, 2024

ACES Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch 05/14/24

Tuesday, May 14, 2024, 6:00-8:00pm
Weather: Mostly clear with mixed spring weather
Location: Rock Bottom Ranch, Basalt, CO


Mixed spring weather made the sky especially beautiful this evening as we gathered at Rock Bottom Ranch to observe birds and their activities as the day came to a close. In the warm, late-day lighting, a small flock of evening grosbeaks called from the cottonwood canopy above us, and we quickly equipped everyone with binoculars to see these showy birds while they were present. Then, after introductions and some basic field craft tips, we walked the ranch paths through patches of richly varied habitat. We saw killdeer foraging with their chicks in the vegetable fields and four species of swallows perched side by side as they preened. Wild turkeys moved through a distant hay meadow and Lewis’s woodpeckers were active in trees at close range. We learned about display behaviors as we watched red-winged blackbirds in the cattail marsh, noting the different plumages of the males and females. Other highlights included a red-tailed hawk carrying a small rodent in its bill as it flew to its nest, great blue herons sailing overhead, and a tiny ruby-crowned kinglet gleaning insects from spruce boughs. We experienced the rise and close of the evening chorus as the evening progressed, and discussed how birds roost and which local species were becoming active for the night. Join us on Thursday for a field trip at the Airport Open Space, an area of exceptional native habitat adjacent to the airport and Owl Creek Road where special permission allows us access during the airport’s annual maintenance closure.

Species List:

Canada Goose
Wild Turkey
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Great Blue Heron
Red-tailed Hawk
Lewis’s Woodpecker
American Kestrel
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
American Robin
European Starling
Evening Grosbeak
Pine Siskin
Red-winged Blackbird

~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide

Featured photo: Violet-green swallow.

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