Birding by Habitat at Wildcat Ranch 5/15/23
May 15, 2023
Monday, May 15, 2023, 6:45am-11:30am
Weather: Partly cloudy
Location: Wildcat Ranch, Aspen, CO
It is always a special treat to bird at Wildcat Ranch where iconic western habitats are extensive and largely intact, such as sagebrush shrublands and juniper woodlands. Interspersed with hay meadows, pastures, small ponds and wetlands, and stands of aspen or pines, the overall Wildcat landscape offers pockets of rich habitat filled with birds. We succeeded in finding many Brewer’s Sparrows, denizens of sagebrush shrublands and hard to find elsewhere in the valley. We also observed interactions of Tree Swallows and Mountain Bluebirds at paired nest boxes meant to house Swallows in one and Bluebirds in the other. The highlight of the day was a Virginia Rail that emerged from cattails to forage in the open, even swimming at times. For such a secretive, rarely-seen bird, this was a big treat! Other highlights included a Bullock’s Oriole and an especially bird-filled nook along an irrigation ditch where we saw various Warblers, Woodpeckers, Kinglets, and Chickadees. Join us on Wednesday, May 17 for another spring birding field trip to the Airport Open Space and Radar Road, excellent habitats to explore during the airport’s annual closure through our special permission to access this restricted area.
Great Blue Heron
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide