Birding by Habitat: Castle Creek Species List
Wednesday, July 28, 2021 7am-11:30am
Weather: Mostly Sunny
Location: Castle Creek
This field trip focused on exploring the lower subalpine lifezone, including riparian, aspen forest, conifer forest, willow thicket, and wildflower meadow habitats. While our species list was on the short side today, we had high quality moments observing the birds and their behaviors in their breeding habitats. A family of cordilleran flycatchers was very active among the tall spruces along the rushing creek, along with red-breasted nuthatches and warbling vireos. Many birds that we saw were associated with families of recently fledged birds. After watching for dippers along River Run Trail, we spotted an immature dipper after entering the vast open meadow close to the top of our trail. This bird rested on one leg on its rock in the middle of the stream, giving us excellent views of its buffy-tipped plumage (indicating a young bird) and distinctive body structure. We observed it through the scope to see details such as white eyelids, pale legs, and stout claws on its toes. We studied swallows and waxwings, and noted crows and a mourning dove, both of which are slightly unusual at the elevation of 9,600'. Our final highlight was a female broad-tailed hummingbird foraging in a meadow, where we observed her feeding at wild tarragon, tall valerian, scarlet gilia, and many other flowers. We were able to see a generous dusting of pale yellow pollen on her upper bill and forehead, and she hovered near our group as she checked out bright clothing and hats. Join us next Tuesday for Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong