Monday, February 19, 2007

Aspen Update -- Feb. 07

I haven't been birding much at all here in Aspen. A bunch of factors contribute to this: no time, no car, not many species, and no idea where to go. I feel a little bit bad that I'm not our trudging through the brush everyday, but I'm planning to do a lot of spring birding in the southwest on my drive back to Maine, and I'm sure I'll make up for all the birds I'm not seeing here.

The only new bird I've seen in 2007 is the Pine Grosbeak...a lovely large finch that has flocked to the trees at the top of Buttermilk (where I work most days) a couple of times. It's a nice looking bird, one that reminds me a lot of a large red crossbill...without the crossed bill part of course.

I have been in conversation with Auden Schendler, the head of the environmental department for the Aspen SkiCo, about the possibility of putting a finch feeder on the top of Buttermilk to encourage the presence of Rosy-Finches. Mr. Schendler had been very helpful and has offered to pay for the cost of a feeder and its instillation. Unfortunately, the season is almost over, and I am not planning to stay in Aspen for the summer. If I can get a feeder installed in April or May it will have to be up to someone else to keep it stocked next season.

On another Rosy-Finch note, local birder Al Levantin has invited me to his house, which is probably the best spot in the world to see Brown Capped Rosy-Finches, as well as the other two species. Many birders know Mr. Levantin from the book The Big Year, in which his quest to see a record number of species in North America was chronicled. I credit The Big Year with inspiring me to become a birder, and I am very grateful to Mr. Levantin for having me to his home.

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