Birding by Habitat: Alpine Species List
Tuesday, July 21, 2021 7am-1pm
Weather: Partly cloudy
Location: North Star Nature Preserve
This outing in partnership with Independence Pass Foundation was led by Karin Teague (IPF Director) and Rebecca Weiss (ACES), and focused on birds and wildflowers/botany of the alpine lift zone. We hiked to Linkins Lake and did an off-trail loop up to a bench above the lake, covering the upper limit of the subalpine forest, krummholz zone, and alpine tundra. The combined focus om birds and wildflowers made this a rich learning experience in which we learned about the many alpine ecosystems and their associated plants and birds. Bird diversity is inherently low in the alpine, while wildflower diversity is high. Mid-July is a great time to explore this special place because flowers are at peak blooming and birds are still actively nesting and many fledglings are out on the landscape. Highlights included a pair of red-tailed hawks with very worn plumage, abundant white-crowned sparrows actively singing (and seen in all three plumages: adult, juvenile, and immature), a woodpecker near treeline (glimpsed too quickly to ID to species, but possibly a red-naped sapsucker), pine grosbeaks (males and females), and Cassin's finches (males and females). Wildflower highlights included: white and green bog orchid, speedwell, silky phacelia, arnica, goldenrod, elephant head, fireweed, purple fringe, rock saxifrage, and many more. Join us tomorrow for birding on the south side of North Star Nature Preserve!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo by Dale Armstrong