Birding at North Star Nature Preserve 7/17/23
July 17, 2023
Monday, July 17, 2023, 7-11am
Location: South Side of North Star Nature Preserve, Aspen, CO
A moose cow and calf near the parking lot were our first sightings of the morning, followed by Yellow Warblers, Song Sparrows, Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, and a Great Blue Heron. Our walk across the valley floor to the base of Richmond Ridge was filled with great birding moments: watching fledgling Tree Swallows and adults interacting at a nest box, a juvenile Flicker looking out of its nest hole, families of Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees, and juvenile Chipping Sparrows among the sagebrush. A Sage Thrasher was an unexpected surprise as it perched in the sagebrush and darted across open ground between shrubs. We compared Violet-green and Tree swallows, and heard the varied vocalizations of Flickers. Closer to the wetlands, we heard and later saw a Wilson’s snipe calling from a fence post in the sedges. Mallards dabbled in the pond, including a hen with seven or eight ducklings. Along the base of the mountain we heard and saw Western Tanagers, Warbling Vireos, and House Wrens. In the aspen grove on the alluvial fan, there were families of House Wrens, Tree and Violet-green Swallows, and Downy Woodpeckers. On our way back, a very vocal family of Ruby-crowned Kinglets was busy foraging in the spruce trees. It was also interesting to learn more about the soil moisture data gathered at North Star, documenting dry conditions and revealing that soil moisture is tied to snowpack dynamics much more than to rain. We also learned about the unique ecology of Fens as we stood on the banks of one at the base of the mountain. Deer and elk moved about in the open valley floor. It was a wonderful morning exploring the rich habitats of North Star! Join us tomorrow for Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch!
Great Blue Heron
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide