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MIGRATION ROCKS! (TRUTH IN ADVERTISING!)

By Nic.Korte

I admit to being a little dishonest in my last blog. I wanted folks to consider butterflies as another reason to be outdoors. Now is, perhaps, the peak of butterfly season so why not pay attention?

Where I wasn’t quite truthful was in my reference to the Cornell website’s statement that now is birding’s “doldrums.” In truth, Western Colorado, because of its habitat and climate diversity, never has a time when birding isn’t interesting. Our first migrants, such as the Rufous Hummingbirds, began showing up more than a month ago. But, now is the time when things begin to heat up. This week, a friend and I found Solitary and Baird’s Sandpipers—two species that nest above the Arctic Circle. (http://www.gjsentinel.com/blogs/birds_and_more/entry/here-come-the-orange-hummingbirds-good-news-and-bad-news  &
http://www.gjsentinel.com/blogs/birds_and_more/entry/peeping-at-shorebirds

Migration is exciting because one can go birding in a familiar patch and find almost anything—or nothing. During the first week of August, I had a difficult time finding even 20 species in my own patch of aspen woods at 8300 ft., east of Collbran. Indeed, I may not have even found 30 individual birds.
A week ago, it was a lot different. I encountered several mixed flocks of migrants, the best included at least eight Townsend’s Warblers.

(Townsend's Warbler by Jackson Trappett)

Townsend’s Warblers breed in only four of the contiguous US states: Montana, Idaho, Oregon and Washington. From the US-Canada border, they breed on up into Alaska favoring tall, coniferous forests as their breeding habitat.

While I was watching the Townsend’s, I had Nashville on my mind. Nashville Warblers that is. The Western population of Nashville Warblers also nest in the Pacific Northwest but in a much smaller area than Townsend’s. Also unlike Townsend’s Warblers, Nashville Warblers need shrubby habitat and nest on the ground.

(Nashville Warbler by Jackson Trappett)

Nashville Warblers are usually seen singly and rarely. I didn’t find even one. Maybe next time.


This post provided by Nic Korte, Grand Valley Audubon Society. Send questions/comments to audubongv@gmail.com. [To learn more and to participate in the activities of Grand Valley Audubon, please see our website at audubongv.org and “like” us on Facebook!]
 

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