Posted on May 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
One of a pair of dead rivers otters recently found along Dillon Dam Road (foot shown for size). Bob Berwyn photo.
Rare species find a home in the heart of a mountain resort community
By Bob Berwyn
FRISCO — Along with the well-documented saga of threatened Canada lynx making a comeback in Summit County, the local mountains are also home to several other rare species that are making comebacks.
It’s a sure sign that Summit County is a key biodiversity crossroads— something worth remembering on Endangered Species Day.
Just a couple of weeks ago, Colorado Parks and Wildlife district manager Sean Shepherd confirmed the first sighting of river otters in the Upper Blue Basin. Unfortunately, the pair of otters was found dead along Dillon Dam Road, most likely hit by cars.
But the fact that they are showing up in new places is nonetheless an encouraging sign, Shepherd said, adding that another otter was also killed recently along Highway 9 north of Silverthorne, near the Blue River campground.
Bald eagles, which can be spotted frequently along the Lower Blue River, have recently been reported around Dillon Reservoir, where a pair is setting up a nest on a platform built for ospreys. A pair of nesting ospreys, meanwhile, has built a nest atop a dead lodgepole pine in the vicinity of Heaton Bay campground. Wildlife biologists say bald eagles will sometimes kick osprey out their nest and take it over. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: bald eagles, Colorado, endangered species, river otters, Summit County Colorado, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 30, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Magnificant hawks are back for the summer
FRISCO — Along with the well-known osprey nest along Highway 9 in Silverthorne, the majestic hawks have also set up housekeeping at several spots along the shoreline of Dillon Reservoir, building sturdy stick nests atop fragile looking beetle-killed lodgepole pines. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, Morning photo, photography | Tagged: Birds, Dillon Reservoir, osprey, raptors, Summit County photography, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 28, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
May is prime-time for our fine-feathered friends
Itinerant shorebirds sometimes wind up at Dillon Reservoir, in Summit County, Colorado, for a short stop-over. Bob Berwyn photo.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’ve been hearing a lot of chirping and twittering in the great outdoors these days, it’s because the birds are back. More specifically, dozens of species of migratory birds are on the move, headed for nesting grounds in North America from non-breeding areas in South and Central America, and the Caribbean.
That’s why birders are gearing up for International Migratory Bird Day, held each year on the second Saturday in May as a way to recognize the winged wonders that travel the globe each spring and fall, migrating thousands of miles from their wintering grounds to nesting grounds and back again. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Parks, Dillon Reservoir, seasons, Summit County Colorado | Tagged: biodiversity, Bird migration, Birds, birdwatching, Colorado, Colorado parks and wildlife, International Migratory Bird Day, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 20, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Michigan men hit with fines, banned from Colorado for 5 years
A Colorado elk herd. Photo courtesy Colorado Parks and Wildlife.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Three Michigan men who poached elk, bear and bobcats in Colorado have been convicted and sentenced for their crimes after a long-running investigation by wildlife officials in both states.
In all, the investigation implicated eight men, including several from Colorado, who were engaged in systematic violations of game laws during illegal hunts that took place in the King Mountain area of southern Routt County in Colorado. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado, Colorado parks and wildlife, elk, poaching, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 14, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Feds back away from plan to capture wolves that cross the border from Mexico
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — Wolves crossing the border from Mexico into the southwestern U.S. won’t be trapped and held in captivity, at least for now.
According the Center for Biological Diversity, The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has rescinded a permit it had granted itself and other federal and state agencies to trap wolves that cross into Arizona and New Mexico from Mexico.
The agency hasn’t made a formal announcement, but contacted attorneys for the environmental groups, said Michael Robinson, a wolf conservation advocated with the Center for Biological Diversity. (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, endangered species, Environment | Tagged: biodiversity, Center for Biological Diversity, endangered species, Mexican gray wolves, United States Fish and Wildlife Service, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on April 8, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Adélie penguins breed in ice-free areas
By Summit Voice
FRISCO — While populations of ice-loving chinstrap and emperor penguins in Antarctica may be squeezed by global warming, Adélie penguins may actually benefit from warmer temperatures, according to University of Minnesota Polar Geospatial Center researchers.
Scientists from the United States and New Zealand studied a combination of aerial photography beginning in 1958 and modern satellite imagery from the 2000s, finding that the population size of an Adélie penguin colony on Antarctica’s Beaufort Island near the southern Ross Sea increased 84 percent (from 35,000 breeding pairs to 64,000 breeding pairs) as the ice fields retreated between 1958-2010. The biggest changes came in the last three decades, as average summer temperature in that area increased about .5 degrees Celsius.
The study showed that available habitat for Adélie penguins on the main portion of the Beaufort colony, on the south coast, increased 71 percent since 1958, with a 20 percent increase from 1983-2010. The extent of the snow and ice field to the north of the main colony did not change from 1958-1983, but then retreated 543 meters from 1983-2010. (more…)
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, climate and weather, Environment, global warming | Tagged: Adelie penguins, Antarctica, Beaufort Island, climate change, global warming, PRBO Conservation Science, Ross Sea, wildlife | Leave a Comment »
Posted on April 1, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Lynx kittens will have the run of Peak 6 as it becomes Colorado’s biggest wildlife sanctuary.
Wolverine reintroduction part of the plan for new nature preserve
By Snob Beerwhine
SUMMIT COUNTY — In a surprise move, Colorado’s biggest ski company announced April 1 that it will not pursue the Peak 6 ski area expansion after all. Instead, Breckenridge ski area and the town will expand the Cucumber Gulch preserve into a full-fledged wildlife sanctuary encompassing part of the Tenmile Range from the valley bottom up to the ridgeline.
With sponsorship of the ski area, the new preserve will be called EpicWildlife, set aside for lynx, elk, moose and boreal toads. Partnering with Colorado Parks and Wildlife, Breckenridge also plans to reintroduce wolverines to the area, where they will find great habitat in the alpine cirques and couloirs along the crest. (more…)
Filed under: April Fools | Tagged: April Fools, Breckenridge, lynx, Peak6, wildlife | 4 Comments »
Posted on March 27, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Public invited to learn more about the use of unmanned aircraft at a demonstration in Kremmling
FORT scientist and Raven-A sUAS pilot Leanne Hanson launches the drone in the San Luis Valley as part of an effort to monitor sandhill cranes. USGS photo.
Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy USFWS.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — State and federal scientists may use small drones to monitor greater sage-grouse in their breeding grounds, and will offer the public a chance to see how the technology works starting next week.
The planned test flights are a collaboration between Colorado Parks and Wildlife and the U.S. Geological Survey. The agencies will conduct test flights to evaluate whether the small unmanned aircraft can save time and money and offer a safer and enhanced alternative to gather greater sage-grouse data.
The low-flying aircraft may be able to get more detailed counts of the threatened birds, and may even help biologists find previously unknown leks.
“The aircraft proved successful in other recent wildlife inventory projects conducted by USGS,” said Lyle Sidener, area wildlife manager for Colorado Parks and Wildlife in Hot Sulphur Springs. “We are interested to see if greater sage-grouse will tolerate the craft flying near their leks at the lower altitudes necessary to provide useful data.” (more…)
Filed under: biodiversity, Colorado, Colorado Division of Wildlife, Colorado State Parks, endangered species, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: Colorado parks and wildlife, drones, Environment, Greater sage-grouse, Kremmling Colorado, USGS, wildlife, wildlife monitoring | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 19, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Wildlife advocates want more up-front planning
Conservation groups are contesting planned North Park oil lease sales.
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — There’s more wrangling over oil and gas drilling leases in Colorado, as wildlife advocacy groups are protesting the Bureau of Land Management’s proposed lease of three North Park parcels totaling about 2,200 acres.
According to National Wildlife Federation attorney Michael Saul, some of the parcels could impact important sage-grouse and mule deer habitat.
“Hunters, anglers and many others have asked the Colorado BLM to approve master leasing plans in North Park and South Park because of the vital resources that must be balanced in both areas,’’ said Suzanne O’Neill, executive director of the Colorado Wildlife Federation. (more…)
Filed under: Environment, energy, gas drilling, oil drilling, Colorado | Tagged: Colorado, energy, Environment, fossil fuels, North Park, wildlife | 1 Comment »
Posted on March 17, 2013 by Bob Berwyn
Greater sage-grouse. Photo courtesy Brian Currie/Idaho Department of Fish and Game.
State biologists team up with Conservation Colorado to offer wildlife-friendly bird watching
By Summit Voice
SUMMIT COUNTY — From afar, the wide-open sagebrush steppes of the Great Basin and Colorado Plateau can look stark and daunting, but each spring, the region comes to life with the mating ritual of greater sage-grouse.
The birds gather in traditional mating grounds, called leks, where the males spread their impressive tail feathers and strut while inflating and popping giant air sacs on their necks to impress the females.
The best available science suggests that greater sage-grouse qualify for endangered species status and studies are under way to develop the best possible conservation plans. (more…)
Filed under: Colorado, Environment, wildlife | Tagged: bird-watching, Colorado, Colorado parks and wildlife, Craig Colorado, Greater sage-grouse, wildlife, wildlife watching | 1 Comment »