ACES Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch 8/29/23

Rebecca Weiss

August 29, 2023

ACES Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch 8/29/23

Tuesday, August 29, 2023, 7:30-10:30am
Weather: Mostly sunny
Location: Rock Bottom Ranch, Basalt, CO

Diversity and activity were high points on today’s outing, with 36 species observed. We began the outing on the Rio Grande Trail where the morning sun activates birdlife on the steep band of shrubby habitat south of the trail. Catbirds, chickadees, and Yellow Warblers were abundant here, with sparrows and other birds darting across open areas. We saw the regular flock of Wild Turkeys as we passed by the agricultural fields. Highlights included many hummingbirds at close range around flower beds and two Eastern Kingbirds seen in the area around Cole Island. Many Lewis’s Woodpeckers flew over the pastures, some seen carrying acorns in their bills which they are known to cache in fall and winter for later use. A special highlight was encountering a large flock of Cedar Waxwings mixed with a large flock of Violet-green Swallows where these birds were feeding on airborne insects swarming above a Russian olive tree in the pasture. We were mesmerized while watching the birds with their different flying and hawking styles as they feasted on the insects. It was amazing to see how closely the birds flew to each other, expertly navigating within the flock with birds going every which way. About 20 minutes later the feast was over and the birds dispersed; we felt fortunate to have observed this exciting moment! We ended the outing with a Cassin’s Vireo foraging in cottonwood foliage where we had excellent views of this uncommon fall migrant. Join us next week for Morning Birding at Hallam Lake, North Star birding, and an outing at the Marolt Open Space!

Species List:

Canada Goose
Wild Turkey
Rock Pigeon
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Turkey Vulture
Belted Kingfisher
Red-naped Sapsucker
Lewis’s Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Western Wood-pewee
Eastern Kingbird
Cassin’s Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Black-billed Mapgie
American Crow
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
European Starling
Gray Catbird
American Robin
Cedar Waxwing
House Finch
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Spotted Towhee
Red-winged Blackbird
Yellow Warbler

Wilson’s Warbler

~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide

Featured photo: Turkey Vulture.

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