Pitkin County Open Space Birding at The Gorge 8/27/21
Thursday, August 27, 2021, 7:30am-11:00am
Location: Pitkin County Open Space: The Gorge
Birding at the gorge is extra fun because of the relief of the landscape and the varied views we get of birds... from geese in grassy fields across the gorge and ospreys over the river corridor to warblers and flycatchers in the near treetops–as seen from switchbacks on the steep hillsides of the gorge. We began with a large flock of violet-green swallows on power lines above the gorge, followed by Scrub jays, Steller's jays and hummingbirds as we crossed the back of the Aspen Airport Business Center (AABC). In the mountain shrublands and Douglas fir forests, we observed warbling vireos, warblers (yellow, yellow-rumped, and Wilson's), nuthatches (red- and white-breasted), and a few mystery birds that were not clearly observed. At the river, we enjoyed song sparrows, wood-pewees, and more warblers. Highlights included watching two red-tailed hawks, seeing one of the hawks interacting with an osprey, seeing hummingbirds picking small insects out of the air as they hovered in a swarm, seeing a yellow-rumped warbler flycatching, and enjoying the spectacular views of the river and gorge. Overall, when comparing this year's observations to last year's, we are seeing far fewer birds, likely due to the historic die-off one year ago in the Southwest. On the upside, we were happy to see as many warblers as we did, and we are hopeful that it has been a strong nesting season with plentiful food due to the better rainfall received this summer. Join us next Tuesday for Morning Birding at Rock Bottom Ranch!
~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide
Photo of Red-breasted Nuthatch by Menke Dave, USFWS