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. 5, No. 2 -- July 2003


Beartooth Mountains Field Trip Scheduled for July 19th

Birders extraordinaire Neil and Jennifer Miller will lead a field trip to their favorite haunts in the Beartooth Mountains on Saturday, July 19th. They will leave from the Crazy Creek Trailhead (just north of the intersection of Chief Joseph Highway 296 with the Beartooth Highway -- 212) at 7:00 a.m. Participants should pack a lunch, binoculars and insect repellent, and be prepared for an awesome day of birding.

The Millers will be camping Friday night at the Crazy Creek campground. Those interested in spending the night in the wilds are invited to join them there. (Bring drinking water, as none is available in the campground.)

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Calendar of Upcoming Events (Please see "Calendar of Events" Web page for up-to-date listings)

July 19, 2003 (Saturday) -- Field Trip to the Beartooth Mountains. Meet at the Crazy Creek Trailhead at 8:00 a.m.

September 11, 2003 (Thursday) -- Public Meeting at Bighorn Federal Savings & Loan, Cody, 7:00 p.m. Speaker: Meg Sommers.

October 9, 2003 (Thursday) -- Public Meeting at the DeWitt Student Center, NW College, Powell at 7:00 p.m. Speaker TBA [Note: The program and speaker were incorrectly listed in the newsletter.]

November 13, 2003 (Thursday) -- Public Meeting at Bighorn Federal Savings & Loan, Cody, 7:00 p.m. Speaker TBA

December 2003 -- Christmas Bird Counts will be scheduled for Kane, Cody and Clark. Everyone is invited to participate on any or all of the counts.
Note: There will be no public meeting in December, due to the Christmas Bird Counts.

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Heart Mountain Field Trip Stimulating
by Jennifer Miller

Hear! Hear! Raise your walking sticks in praise of Dorothy Bunn (Meadowlark's Field Trip Chair) and Laura Bell (The Nature Conservancy Director for the Heart Mountain Ranch) for this successful and stimulating field trip.

Coffee and warm muffins greeted the arriving trekkers at the Heart Mountain Visitors Center located at TNC's Heart Mountain Ranch. Beautiful bulletin boards, thanks to Harold Perry and John Ross, decorate the walls; new posters are on display informing visitors about the birds, plants and geology of this unique mountain.

The large group divided itself among the group leaders as we all headed up Heart Mountain. The delicious but difficult choices included Kent Houston (a forest ecologist from Cody) whose group explored the fascinating array of plant life; Sean Sheehan (a wildlife biologist from Cody) who searched for wildflowers with a special emphasis on exotic species and their effects on the habitat; Dennis Saville (from the Cody BLM) who discussed birds, plants, insects and trees; and Dave Henry (a biologist from Clark), who identified plants and wildflowers. All participants wanted to follow every leader, as each had so much knowledge to offer!

The wildflowers were awesome, especially the large-flowered bearded pentstemmons. White and purple vetch, False Mallow, Pale Larkspur, Long-Plumed Avens, Blue Flax, Balsamroot, Wild Onion, and Salsify -- along with many others -- dressed the mountainside with spectacular colors.

As we drove up Heart Mountain to the starting point, Long-billed Curlews circled and called in protest of our presence. A doe pronghorn (we suspect she was hiding a fawn nearby) grazed on the lush sagebrush. As we started our hikes, Vesper Sparrows sang from the brush tops and Rock Wrens rang their song from every outcrop. When Dee Oudin checked one of her bluebird boxes, a battle ensued overhead between the Mountain Bluebirds and the Violet-green Swallows as to future ownership.

Along the edge of a juniper-lined canyon, magpies and Green-tailed Towhees hung out, belting their songs. As we approached a small pond, Red-winged Blackbirds flocked about; a Spotted Sandpiper walked the shore; an unknown duck took off; and a possible Virginia Rail lurked in the lush vegetation. Up ahead, perched on the tallest dead evergreen branch, sang a Lazuli Bunting -- always a treat!

The group then turned to watch a Golden Eagle cruise over, being harassed by a possible Prairie Falcon. Chipping Sparrows sang from every treetop that wasn't occupied by a Western Wood-Pewee, and the Ruby-crowned Kinglets and Yellow-rumped Warblers (Audubon's race) made their brief appearances. A special sighting was the Dusky Flycatcher singing his song. American Robins, Common Ravens and Mourning Doves heralded us as we descended the mountain.

A grand time was had by all, thanks to the hard work of the organizers.

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Chapter Representatives Wanted

Audubon Wyoming has created a new Chapter Relations Committee to help local chapters interface with the State Board. This committee will be chaired by Thom Klein of Meadowlark, and will meet twice a year.

Meadowlark needs two representatives! If you are interested in serving, contact Thom at 307/645-3223 <eweiss@nemontel.net>.

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Platform for Rent

The Osprey nesting platform erected by Pacific Power & Light at the Beartooth Ranch in Clark sat vacant all last year. However, this spring a pair of Ospreys began nest construction on it. The nest was not completed, but the activity at the site bodes well for next spring. After all, don't Realtors tell us that a house shows better with furnishings?

According to Peterson's Field Guide Western Birds' Nests, Osprey nests have a "foundation of small-to-huge sticks, lined with inner bark, sod, grasses, vines and a great variety of odd objects. Objects found in Ospreys' nests include shorts, bath towels, garden rake, rope, broom, barrel staves, hoops, fishnet, toy boat, old shoes, fishiness, straw hat, rag doll, bottles, tin cans, shells and sponges."

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Bird Quiz -- Questions

1. What term is used to describe birds that usually spend their winters in remote northern areas, but fly further south when their food supply has dwindled? (Hint: it is often used to describe winter finches and Red-breasted Nuthatches.)

a. explorative
b. migratory
c. explosive
d. irruptive

2. What disease has been recently spreading among House Finches and American Goldfinches in the eastern United States?

a. salmonellosis
b. conjunctivitis
c. trichomoniasis
d. aspergillosis
 
Quiz answers follow the Duck Stamp article.

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Crafty Ideas Wanted

Meadowlark Audubon will be participating in craft fairs in both Cody and Powell this winter to raise money for our chapter. KaCey Ross asks you all to keep your eyes open for new and unique ideas as you travel this summer. She says that copying is not a crime in craft production.

Call KaCey at 307/587-5282 or send ideas to her at <JohnRoss@wtp.net>.

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Cheyenne Offers Inner-City Birding
by Mary Klein

When you think of a birding field trip, you most likely think of heading for the country. But that doesn't have to be the case if you are traveling to Cheyenne, WY, which offers two hot spots right in town.

Just off I-25 is Lions Park, which includes Sloan's Lake -- the centerpiece of Cheyenne's first Important Bird Area. I was there in late April and spotted Canada Geese and Mallards (of course), as well as Western Grebes, cormorants, Common Mergansers and Cinnamon Teal.

The deciduous woods around the lake were rife with robins and Northern Flickers; flocks of Yellow-rumped Warblers (both Myrtle and Audubon races) flitted through the trees. My most exciting spot, and most difficult ID, was a Hermit Thrush feeding on the ground: the rusty tail finally cinched the identification.

Another rare spot was a Broad-winged Hawk soaring overhead. I met a local birder who said that a pair of them have been nesting in the park the past three years. 24 species of warblers have also been counted there in the past 10 years.

After a wonderful morning of birding, I headed downtown for lunch, then a stop at Holliday Park just northeast of downtown. Highlights there included Redheads, Pied-billed Grebes and a rookery of over two dozen Black-crowned Night-Herons. A truly awesome sight!

If you are traveling to Cheyenne, don't miss Lions Park and Holliday Park: they offer four-star birding right in the city.

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Kudos to...

This issue's "standing aviation" goes to Neil and Jennifer Miller for their outstanding program for school children at the Buffalo Bill Historical Center, April 23 and 24. Neil and Jennifer presented their 18-minute program to a succession of 3rd and 4th graders, teaching them about the variation in types and uses of bird beaks. KaCey and John Ross assisted the Millers. According to KaCey, the Meadowlark booth was the favorite hands-on display among the children.

426 people toured the booth during the two days of the event.

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Meadowlark Officers & Directors

President: Dennis Saville, 587-2216
Vice-President (Newsletter Editor): Mary Klein, 645-3223
Secretary (Membership Chair): Joyce Cicco, 527-5030
Treasurer (Program Chair): Susan Ahalt, 527-7027
 
Directors:

(Field Trip Chair): Dorothy Bunn, 587-3012
(Past President): Dave Burke, 587-6702
Dave Henry, 587-3040
Terry Peters, 548-6814
Chuck Preston, 578-4078
(Publicity Chair): Nancy Ryan, 754-0114
(Conservation Chair): John Ross, 587-5282
(Roadless Initiative Chair): Sean Sheehan, 527-6306
Cheryl Wright, 587- 4119

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Duck Stamp Saves Wetlands

All waterfowl hunters must affix a $15 Migratory Bird Hunting and Conservation Stamp ("Duck Stamp") to their state game licenses. Since 1934, when the program began, $600 million from stamp sales has saved some five million acres of wetland and river habitat.

The 2004 stamp will feature Snow Geese, and was painted by Virginia artist Ron Louque who has entered the artwork competition for the past 30 years.

---- Smithsonian, July, 2003

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Bird Quiz -- Answers:

1. d. irruptive
2. b. conjunctivitis

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Best Birding in N. A.

The best places to watch birds in North America, from Birder's World magazine, are:

1. Canyons and parks of southeastern Arizona
2. Cape May, NJ
3. J.N. "Ding" Darling National Wildlife Refuge, FL
4. Everglades National Park, FL
5. Corkscrew Swamp Sanctuary, FL
6. Point Pelee National Park, Ontario, Canada
7. Point Reyes National Seashore, CA
8. Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, NM
9. Crane Creek State Park, Magee Marsh Wildlife Area, Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge, OH
10. Coast of Monterey Bay, CA

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Meadowlark Audubon Society Membership Application Form
(Please see the Membership Information Page of this Web site.)

Note: The Chapter-Only membership year runs from September 1st of one year to August 31st of the following year. The dues are $12 per year. The dues for the first partial year are prorated at $1 per month, and after that, your dues will be $12 per year. For example, if you choose to join as a Chapter-Only member in July, your dues would be $2 for the 2 months of the partial year from July to the end of August, plus $12 for the full year from the first of September of this year to the end of August in 2004, for a total of $14.

If you would be interested in joining as a Chapter-Only member or perhaps just making a small donation to our Chapter, please contact Joyce Cicco, Membership Chairman, for details, or you can simply make out your check to Meadowlark Audubon and send it to:

Joyce Cicco,
Membership Chairman
26 North Ridge Drive
Cody, WY 82414

For more information on Meadowlark Chapter-Only membership and joint National Audubon/Chapter membership, which includes the Audubon magazine, please see the "Membership Information" page of this Web site.

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