Ranch at Roaring Fork Birding Field Trip 11/15/23
November 15, 2023
Wednesday, November 15, 2023, 8:00-11:00am
Weather: Light, high clouds and sun
Location: Ranch at Roaring Fork, Carbondale, CO
ACES conducted an early winter birding field trip to focus on waterfowl and other winter migratory birds on the 400-acre property of Ranch at Roaring Fork. The birding experiences and species were diverse and interesting as we walked four miles of trails. We honed our skills with waterfowl ID strategies such as diving vs. dabbling and evaluating areas of white coloration which are unique to species. We observed both a Kestrel and a Merlin, helping us build a mental comparison of their subtle differences in size and overall bulk as well as plumage colors and patterns. It was also a highlight to see Trumpeter Swans (both adults and a juvenile) and Barrow’s Goldeneyes, and we discussed their life histories. It is amazing to think of a dozen Barrow’s Goldeneye ducklings jumping out of their nesting cavity high in a tree only 12 hours after hatching! Other highlights included a very late lingering Wilson’s Warbler and a very early arriving White-throated Sparrow. We also did a little botany study to learn the differences between non-native Russian olive and native silver buffaloberry (both favorite foods of many birds) and how to distinguish water birch from alder (whose seeds are stand-bys for many finch species and chickadees). Stepping away from these shrubs to continue down the trail, the next birds we saw were chickadees feasting on birch catkins! Join us on December 5th for Morning Birding at Hallam Lake!
Ring- necked Duck
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide