ACES Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch 10/10/23

Rebecca Weiss

October 10, 2023

ACES Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch 10/10/23

Tuesday, October 10, 2023, 8:00-11:00am
Weather: Mostly sunny
Location: Rock Bottom Ranch, Basalt, CO

Today’s highlights included a Merlin that we saw in the cottonwood stand above the new native habitat garden and a Virginia Rail that gave its grunting calls at close range from within the cattails at the pond near the bird blind. The Merlin is a rare fall migrant in this area and we were thrilled to see this one. Key ID traits included its size (a little bigger and more bulky than a Kestrel); heavy, vertical streaking on the breast; and classic falcon proportions with pointed wings and powerful flight. The Virginia Rail did not emerge from the cattails, but gave several bouts of its grunting calls that were loud and clear, giving us the sense that the bird was nearly at our feet. Lewis’s Woodpeckers were busy caching acorns, as we have observed over the past two months. Evening Grosbeaks, sparrows, and blackbirds were active in flocks. Join us next Tuesday for Morning Birding at Hallam Lake!

Species List:

Canada Goose
Mallard Wild Turkey
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Virginia Rail
Lewis’s Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Steller’s Jay
Black-billed Magpie
Clark’s Nutcracker
American Crow
Common Raven
Black-capped Chickadee
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
White-breasted Nuthatch
European Starling
American Robin
House Sparrow
Evening Grosbeak
Chipping Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Orange-crowned Warbler

~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide

Featured photo: Merlin.

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