Meadowlark Masthead

The Official Newsletter of the Meadowlark Audubon Society of the Big Horn Basin of Wyoming

Non-member subscriptions of printed copies of this newsletter are available for an annual fee of $6.00 to cover postage and printing.
Make your check out to Meadowlark Audubon and send to: Meadowlark Audubon Newsletter; P.O. Box 2126.; Cody, WY 82414.

Vol. 9, No. 1 -- August 2008

Dennis Saville Migrates South

I wanted to take this opportunity to convey my special thanks to everyone for supporting and participating in our chapter activities over the past several years. Some of our unique activities have been highlight features of our chapter. We have wonderful field trips, excellent and diverse programs at monthly meetings, and have continued to be involved in conservation and habitat improvement activities that make a difference here in our Bighorn Basin area, not only for birds, but other wildlife as well. We have been blessed with many hard working members who have volunteered their time, skills and special efforts to keep the Meadowlark chapter a vibrant and active organization. As President, I have tried to be a leader as well as a participant in many of our activities. A change in my job with BLM will be taking me out of the Bighorn Basin area for awhile, so I will not be able to continue with such an active role in Meadowlark Audubon. With concurrence from the Board, I will remain as president until spring of 2009 and will stay as involved with chapter activities as time allows. I will be doing a lot of commuting between Cheyenne and Cody, and will probably miss many of the regular meetings. However, the other officers and board members will continue to keep Meadowlark a busy and fun organization. I hope all members will take notice of everyone who handles the responsibilities of keeping our chapter alive and well, and contributes whenever and however they can. Each year in April, we have elections for officers and board members. Please participate in this process and please do your part to recognize and support those that are willing to serve.

I want to take this opportunity to encourage more people to get involved with Meadowlark activities. Fresh ideas about programs, field trips, and events are always welcome! For many people, a big commitment is difficult and overwhelming. With that in mind, I would ask everyone to help our chapter by starting with only easy and small things to benefit Meadowlark Audubon. Bring a treat to a meeting, go on a field trip or help organize one, come up with ideas for programs or provide a contact for a program speaker, offer to help with the newsletter, help with an educational program for schools, put together a bird quiz or a bird list for some area, or build a bird house. There are many small things you can do that will make Meadowlark Audubon a better organization. In addition, these kinds of helpful actions will support those who are taking on more. If more people are available to help, more and better things can be accomplished!

Most things that would be helpful to Meadowlark can be done from home without travel, without a big commitment of time, and without extensive skills or knowledge. We really just need people who are willing and able to help! Please consider helping out!! My hope is that I can return to this area in a few short years and find Meadowlark Audubon continuing to be a strong and active organization. Although I will not be as involved personally, I plan to remain a member of Meadowlark and keep informed about activities from Cheyenne and hope to continue seeing everyone from time to time.
--by Dennis Saville, Chapter President

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Meadowlark Trips Have Much to Offer - Field Trip Reports

Field trips this year included trips to a sage grouse lek, to Cottonwood Canyon in the Big Horns, to Bear Canyon in the Pryor Mountains, to Swamp Lake in the Beartooth Mountains, And even to Medicine Lodge! Here are reports on a few of our great spring and summer field trips! Thanks to all who lead trips and to all who came along for the fun!

Cottonwood Canyon Hike, May 12, 2008

On May 12, 2008, ten of us met at the Lovell Bighorn Canyon Nation Recreation Area visitor center and carpooled ten miles east to the newly constructed BLM trailhead to Cottonwood Canyon where it emerges from the Bighorn Mountains. The trail started out gently as we began climbing from about 3,700 feet in elevation. A beautiful spring day with light winds and temperatures in the 70’s, plus gorgeous mountain scenery made it an enviable hiking day. Bird life was plentiful, too, as we spotted or heard towhees, Canyon Wrens, a Red-tailed Hawk, a Golden Eagle and other species. As we followed a good-flowing creek, the canyon became more narrow and v-shaped. We climbed high enough to where we passed two small waterfalls which still had snow or ice clinging to their northern or eastern faces. The trail became steep and almost arduous in places, but we pressed on to an open area with grass and shade at about 5,800 feet, where we made our lunch stop. It truly was a beautiful day, and we drank in the steep mountain terrain which surrounded us, grateful for this scenery which we live so close to but visit relatively infrequently. We began our descent after lunch and returned to our vehicles in early mid-afternoon. We called it a very nice outing and hope to do it again another day.
--by by trip leader John Osgood

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Tensleep Canyon, June 14, 2008

The trip to the Tensleep Preserve was on one of those beautiful early summer mornings that make Wyoming so special. The skies were a bright deep blue with very comfortable temperatures for hiking. With all the moisture, the flowers were at their glorious best. Leader, Diane Orme started the day off with a brief introduction to the Nature Conservancy's Tensleep Preserve by manager Trey Davis. The Nature Conservancy purchased the Preserve, a previous girl scout camp, in 1991. The Preserve has a diversity of habitats including Juniper Woodlands, Transition Forest, Creek Woodlands and Upland Sagebrush Meadows. Trails were well marked and maintained with a remarkable absence of weeds.

In the morning the group took an easy hike 3 mile round trip hike along the Sandstone trail to Dedication Point where we had lunch overlooking the confluence of Bill Creek and Canyon Creek Canyons. There were wonderful views on the way of the Bighorn Basin and Absorka's to the East. Birds seen alone the Sandstone Trail included: Mountain Bluebird, Pine Siskin, Say's Phoebe, Chipping Sparrow, House Wren, Warbling Vireo, Mountain Chickadee, American Robin, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Red-breasted Nuthatch, Mourning Dove, Brown-headed Cowbird, Cassin's Finch, Hermit Thrush, Clark's Nutcracker, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Black-billed Magpie, Pine Grosbeak, Western Tanager, Golden Eagle, Blue Grouse, Violet-green Swallow and Common Nighthawk.

After lunch Diane led about 7-8 people down into the Billy Creek trail. It was a long climb down but since we gradually worked our way up the canyon, the climb out wasn't nearly as formidable. Additional Birds seen in the afternoon on Billy Creek hike were: Dusky Flycatcher, Turkey Vulture, McGillivray's Warbler, Lazuli Bunting, Common Raven, Song Sparrow and Red-naped Sapsucker. In addition there was about every color of the rainbow in flowers including balsamroot, silver lupine, senecios, phlox, kittentails, green gentain, larkspurs, hairbells, mountain bluebells, wallflowers, yellow pea, violets (all three colors) and yellow stonecrops.

At the visitor center Diane had left a cake pan full on wonderful apricot nut cookies and a cooler full of cold water. So we munched on cookies as we compiled our lists and watched the sapsuckers. A perfect end to a perfect Wyoming day. Thank you Diane.
--by by trip participant Suzanne Morstad

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A Quick Reminder on Chapter Membership Dues...

If your membership expires on August 31st, please remember to renew for next year! Reminder letters will be sent out at the end of August. Thank you very much!

Any questions, contact Donna Haman at <>

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"You Might be a Birder if..."

1) Someone yells “Duck!”, and you look up and shout, “Where?”
2) Vacations are planned to maximize the number of life birds.
3) You criticize television programs and commercials that depict a bald eagle but play a red-tailed hawk call.
4) Your kids are named Buteo and Accipiter.
5) People stop and stare when you “pish” at the shrubbery at the local mall.
6) Lunch breaks find you driving to check out your favorite hot spot.
7) Your spouse says, “It’s either me or the birds,” and you have to think about it.
8) On sunny days you hop in the car, crank up your tape of bird calls, and drive like crazy to the nearest mountain where the thermals are great for soaring hawks.
9) You pay a neighbor kid $20 to roll on a carcass and lay still while you search the sky for vultures.
10) You try to talk your kid into going to college in Belize so that you have an excuse to go and bird there.
11) It’s a nor’easter, the rain is horizontal, a small craft advisory has been issued, but it’s Birdathon and you need to up the day’s list.
12) Clouds take on the shape of birds, and you can distinguish male from female, and adult from immature plumage.
13) A machine squeaks at work and you describe it to maintenance as sounding like a black-and-white warbler.
14) The first time you meet your future in-laws you demonstrate the courtship dance of the woodcock, replete with sound effects.
15) You spend fifteen minutes preparing dinner for your family, and thirty minutes mixing and placing seeds for your birds.
16) You wake up your spouse at 5:30 AM and exclaim, “Is that a phoebe I’m hearing outside the window?”
17) Preparing for trips to visit out-of-state relatives involves contacting local birders, securing local bird lists, and buying the appropriate “Lane’s Guide”.
18) You identify calls of birds in the soundtracks of television shows and movies.
19) You’re willing to fight with anyone who criticizes your optics.
20) You participate in hours-long discussions about the pros and cons of using a certain field guide.
21) You lose friends, and perhaps even your spouse, from fighting over the pronunciation of “pileated.”
--Author Unknown

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Meadowlark Audubon T-shirts are Here!

After a great photography contest filled with some awesome avian photos, our local chapter has produced some stylish T-shirts. These shirts are 100% cotton and very comfortable! The T-shirts will be on sale at our chapter meetings; all money earned from the sale of the T-shirts will be used in a scholarship for a local high school student.

A special thanks to all photographers who submitted their wonderful bird pictures! Entries were received from the following excellent photographers: Bill Jalbert, Jerry L. Pyle, Jesse & Lela Winzenried, Darv Jennings, and David Burke. Dale Franz’s meadowlark photo is featured on the front of the T-shirts, and Michael Richardson’s photo of owlets decorates the back.

T-shirts will be on sale for the following prices:
1 to 2 T-shirts: $20 each
3+ T-shirts: $15 each

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Thanks to All Newsletter Contributors

Enormous thanks to all who contributed to this month’s newsletter! If anyone has articles they would like to include in the next newsletter, please e-mail them to newsletter editor Lisa Marks at <> Any contribution would be greatly appreciated!

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