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Audubon birding tour at Poma Ranch

Saturday morning (Oct. 2), the Weminuche Audubon Society and V.A. Poma Ranch will host a leisurely birding tour a few miles southwest of Williams Creek Reservoir. The free, half-day event will begin at precisely 9 a.m., and the public is welcome. Please, leave pets at home.

Society members and friends of all ages will casually stroll spruce, fir and aspen forests, open meadows and riparian zones, while quietly observing and identifying varietal bird species. Prizes may even be awarded to those able to recognize the greatest number.

At present, fall foliage adorns the ranch in an amazing array of color, as late-blooming wildflowers add to the seasonal spender. Of course, wildlife encounters are always possible in ranch country, where unspoiled views are spectacular and nature’s soothing melodies include singing birds, a babbling Weminuche Creek and gentle mountain breezes wafting through the trees.

With limited ranch parking, carpooling is strongly advised. By 8 a.m., attendees should meet on the left, just past the cattle guard where the paved Piedra Road turns to gravel. Those compelled to drive will be directed to parking areas among the ranch house, barn and outbuildings.

Field trip participants should bring ample water, sunscreen, a hat, appropriate footwear and a jacket or sweatshirt. Because the outing may run past the noon hour, attendees should carry snacks or a sack lunch. Binoculars and bird books will be most useful, though Audubon has some available for loan, should anyone have the need. Don’t forget a wildflower guide.

While the Weminuche chapter and friends are fortunate to have the historic V.A. Poma Ranch as a spectacular birding venue, the society continues work on establishing a comprehensive list of avian species indigenous to, or passing through, the picturesque Weminuche Valley. These such outings contribute to that cause, even as exciting wildlife encounters, floral and other fauna studies are readily at hand.

For more information on this scenic birding and wildlife viewing opportunity, contact Dottie George at 731-5759, or e-mail her at hgeorge000@centurytel.net.

For additional information on the V.A. Poma Ranch, including RV and tent camping, cabin rentals, photography and private fishing, visit www.poma-ranch.com, or call 731-5746. The ranch is located approximately 24 miles northwest of Pagosa Springs.

chuck@pagosasun.com