May Birding by Habitat at Airport Open Space 5/17/23

Rebecca Weiss

May 17, 2023

May Birding by Habitat at Airport Open Space 5/17/23

Wednesday, May 17, 2023, 6:45am-11:30am
Weather: Sunny
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!


Species List:

Dusky Grouse
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Lewis’s Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Downy Woodpecker
Dusky Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Say’s Phoebe
Plumbeous Vireo
Steller’s Jay
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
Mountain Chickadee
House Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Mountain Bluebird
American Robin
House Finch
Green-tailed Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Western Meadowlark
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orange-crowned Warbler
Virginia’s Warbler
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Wilson’s Warbler
Black-headed Grosbeak

~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide

Featured photo: Western Kingbird.

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