May Birding by Habitat at Airport Open Space 5/17/23
May 17, 2023
Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 6:45am-11:30am
Location: Airport Open Space and Radar Road, Basalt, CO
This birding hike is timed to coincide with the closure of the airport for annual maintenance and peak breeding season activity in the upland shrublands above the airport within Sky Mountain Park. A big thank you to Pitkin County Airport for allowing us access to these restricted areas. We began with a walk through the Airport Ranch Open Space where we saw an abundance of bird activity in cottonwood stands, open grassy expanses, shrublands, and riparian willows. Highlights here included Fox Sparrows, Mountain Bluebirds, Yellow Warblers, Say’s Phoebes, and Hummingbirds. As we ascended on Radar Road, we passed through more expansive grassy meadows with Western Meadowlarks singing. The upper mountain shrublands were filled with Orange-crowned Warblers, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, Virginia’s Warblers, Mountain Chickadees, Dusky Flycatchers, Spotted Towhees, and Green-tailed Towhees. Additional highlights included Plumbeous Vireo, Dusky Grouse, and Black-headed Grosbeak. We passed by a lone Douglas fir with an active Raven’s nest, and later found a Blue-gray Gnatcatcher’s nest in the oaks. Unexpected species today included Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Western Kingbird, and Lewis’s Woodpecker. We focused on visual field marks, songs/calls, and habitats, and saw a total of 44 species! Join us next week for another Birding By Habitat trip to West Sopris Creek!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide