Posted on January 10, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Colorado wildlife officials disappointed by listing proposal
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has proposed designating about 1.7 million acres of critical habitat for Gunnison sage-grouse in Colorado and Utah.
A male Gunnison sage-grouse struts as part of its spring mating ritual. Photo courtesy BLM.
By Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — Despite ongoing voluntary conservation measures, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service said this week that the best available science indicates that the Gunnison sage-grouse is in danger of extinction and needs protection under the Endangered Species Act.
By some estimates, there are only about 4,000 to 5,000 of the iconic western birds remaining, scattered in eight small population pockets in southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah. As a result, the USFWS has proposed listing the species as endangered and also proposed designating about 1.7 million acres of critical habitat.
The proposal triggers a 60-day public comment period, with input due by March 12. The agency will also hold a series of public meetings to take input from residents and landowners in areas that could be affected by the listing. The meetings will likely be held in Gunnison, Montrose, Delta and Cortez, Colorado, or in Monticello, Utah and will be advertised at http://www.fws.gov/mountain-prairie/. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Parks, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Colorado, conservation, endangered species, endangered species act, Gunnison Sage Grouse | 2 Comments »
Posted on January 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Habitat loss puts brilliant bird at risk of extinction
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is proposing endangered species status for the Honduras emerald hummingbird. Photo via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Although it doesn’t live in the United States, the Honduran emerald hummingbird may get protection under the Endangered Species Act, as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service considers listing the small bird as endangered. The emerald hummingbird is the only bird species endemic to Honduras, living in a few isolated patches of dry thorn forests and scrub habitat.
As a practical matter, the listing would restrict the importation of either the animal or its parts. Listing can also generate conservation benefits, such as increasing awareness of the species, prompting research efforts to address their conservation needs, or funding conservation in range countries. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, endangered birds, endangered species, endangered species act, Honduran emerald hummingbird, United States Fish and Wildlife Service | 1 Comment »
Posted on December 19, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Poleward movement seen in many species
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — Researchers in Finland say they’ve documented bird populations trends that are at least partly linked with global warming. Comparing data from extensive bird counts conducted between 1981 to 1999, and 2000 to 2009, the biologists said that, in general, northern species have decreased and southern species increased.
Mean temperatures in Finland rose between the two periods, with April to June mean temperatures climbing by 0.7 degrees Celsius.
According to the study, population densities of common forest habitat generalists remained the same between the two periods, while densities of species of conservation concern showed contrasting trends. Species preferring old-growth or mature forests increased, but those living on mires and wetlands, and species of Arctic mountains decreased. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Birds, climate change, Finland, global warming, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on October 13, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
A day in pictures …
Bald Eagle near Heaton Bay. Frisco, Colorado.
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO —A morning dog walk near Heaton Bay ended up with yet another close look at Dillon Reservoir’s resident eagle, who is taking full advantage of all the beetle-killed lodgepole pines. Even with two dogs running around, the eagle keeps it pretty regal, perched near — but not on — the tips of the trees, letting us get within 100 feet or so.
I actually haven’t tried getting any closer because I don’t really want to disturb him and chase him away. I’ve been watching this eagle on and off for the past couple of weeks, and what strikes me every time is just how darn big of a bird it really is. You can sort of get an idea from seeing him up close, but it’s really when you see him from more of a distance, with other objects nearby for comparison, that you really get a good sense, like in this next image.
Bald eagle, looking toward Buffalo Mountain.
Filed under: climate and weather, Colorado, Dillon Reservoir, Morning photo, photography, Snow and weather, Summit County Colorado, Summit County snow and weather | Tagged: bald eagles, Birds, Dillon Reservoir, snow, Summit County photography | 2 Comments »
Posted on October 6, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Backyard buzz …
A red-shafter flicker in Frisco, Colorado.
FRISCO — I’ve often said I’m not a wildlife photographer, but in the past few weeks, I’ve been roaming around with an older Canon EOS that has a pretty decent 75-300 mm zoom lens. Along with some shots of the muskrats living in the backyard pond here in the Lagoon neighborhood, I’ve had a few birds perch long enough for me to get a decent shot or two. I can totally see the fascination with bird and wildlife photography. It’s more challenging — or at least challenging in a different way — than shooting landscapes, and all these birds have their own unique character. Taking the time to try and het photos of them lets you appreciated that. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Morning photo, photography, Summit County Colorado, wildlife | Tagged: Birds, Colorado, ducks bees, flicker, grebes, photography, wildlife, Wildlife photography | Leave a Comment »
Posted on September 29, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
SUMMIT COUNTY — A morning search of the shores of Dillon Reservoir yielded another encounter with the resident bald eagle — and this time I had the right camera and the right lens to bring him in a little closer. The mighty birds favor the tallest dead lodgepoles as perches, often out on the tip of one of the peninsulas that jut into the reservoir. Even though I had both dogs with me, the eagle seemed fairly serene and let us approach quite near. When I got within good camera range, I lay down prone to stabilize the camera and clicked away. All in all, it’s been a few good days for photography, with dramatic clouds, golden trees and Friday’s sunset and moonrise, which was, simply put, mind-blowing. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Morning photo, photography, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: bald eagles, Birds, Colorado, Dillon Reservoir, Summit County photography | 2 Comments »
Posted on February 17, 2012 by Bob Berwyn
Great Backyard Bird count starts today
Mountain Chickadee. PHOTO COURTESY MIA MCPHERSON. Click on the image for more.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Since the Great Backyard Bird Count starts today and continues through the weekend, we’re posting a few photos of our fine-feathered friends. Birds are under pressure from habitat loss and climate change, with scores of species listed as threatened or endangered on the IUCN Red List. The annual backyard count helps provide a picture of species distribution and abundance in late winter, just before the big migrations begin for many species. More information on the count is online here.
And special thanks to Mia McPherson for providing some of the images for this post. Follow her On the Wing blog for frequent updates or visit her website and online gallery of birds and other nature shots. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Morning photo, photography | Tagged: biodiversity, Birds, Great Backyard Bird Count, photography | 2 Comments »
Posted on December 20, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Citizen science project helps track bird populations
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — The annual Christmas bird count — the longest running citizen science project on record — is under way, and in early reports from Colorado, observers are seeing plenty of diversity but lower numbers than in some past years. To find out how to get involved in your area, visit this Audubon Society web page.
“We documented 127 species at Pueblo Reservoir, which is two short of the all time record. The total number of birds, however, was down,” said Leon Bright, membership coordinator for the Arkansas Valley Audubon Society. Bright said the same trend was observed in the Wet Mountain Valley count near Westcliffe. “The lower number of birds might be related to the drought conditions,” he said. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Environment, Summit County news | Tagged: Birds, Christmas Bird Count, Colorado, National Audubon Society, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on December 20, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
On the wing …
A pelican strikes a classic pose during a Florida sunset.
SUMMIT COUNTY — The annual Christmas bird count is under way, involving thousands of people in one of the largest citizen science projects in the country. Counting birds in the same areas during the same time from year to year helps establish good baseline information on bird populations. Read a bit more about it in this Summit Voice story, and browse through the bird snapshots in the daily photo essay. And if you want to see some really good bird photography, visit On The Wing Photography. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Morning photo, photography, Summit County Colorado, wildlife | Tagged: Antarctica, Birds, Blue-eyed cormorants, Bob Berwyn photography, Christmas Bird Count, Citizen science, Florida, gentoo penguins, Summit County Colorado, wildlife | 3 Comments »
Posted on July 9, 2011 by Bob Berwyn
Bugs, birds, bison …
Stopping at a gas station a few miles south of New Orleans, I spotted this unusual translucent green dragonfly sitting on a Bungee cord holding down luggage on the car roof. I grabbed the small Fuji Finepix, turned on the flash and snapped a couple of quick frames.
SUMMIT COUNTY — Today was #FriFotos on Twitter, a social media chat that involves posting photos about a different topic each week, and this week the topic was animals. Turns out I have quite a few critter pics, including domestic dogs, dolphins, sea birds and, yes, even a few insects.
A petrel soars above the waters of the Drake Passage, between Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica.
Filed under: daily photoblog, photography, Summit County Colorado, Travel | Tagged: Antarctica, Birds, green dragonfly, insects, Summit County News, Summit County photography | Leave a Comment »