Clubs – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com The most trusted source for news and information about Pagosa Springs, Colorado. Wed, 25 Nov 2020 20:40:36 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.4.4 http://www.pagosasun.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/cropped-sun-logo-512x512-1-32x32.jpg Clubs – The Pagosa Springs SUN http://www.pagosasun.com 32 32 Bird of the Week http://www.pagosasun.com/bird-of-the-week-161/ Wed, 02 Dec 2020 12:00:00 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=213528

Photo courtesy Charles Martinez

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the eared grebe.

Grebes are old. Like loons, evidence dates them way back, evolutionarily speaking. Though they have been genetically proven to share closer ties with flamingos, true grebes can be found in the fossil record at 23 million to 25 million years ago, placing them as emerging in the Northern Hemisphere in the early Miocene period. They have lobed toes, as opposed to webbed feet (more traditional for waterfowl sp.), allowing them to dive deep in the water as an escape mechanism, as opposed to flying. Their legs are found way back on their bodies, ensuring athleticism in the water, but rendering them less adept on land. To this point, they typically build nests on floating rafts comprised of reeds or other emergent vegetation, sometimes anchoring them to shorelines.

Eared grebes are smaller-bodied, not too dissimilar from pied-billed grebes in size. They overlap in range with another similar looking cousin, the horned grebe. Breeding adults don a fashionable array of golden yellow feathers across their cheek, contrasting their bright red eyes, darker charcoal necks and chestnut flanks. Nonbreeding and immature birds offer more sooty intergrades of light brown, rufous and white on their flanks. Courtship displays are regal, with prospective mates moving past one another with necks pointed to the sky, emanating primordial ooo-eek calls and oftentimes nearly “running” across the surface of the water in efforts to impress. Pairs develop monogamous relations for the breeding season only.

Known to migrate later in the fall than the majority of fellow waterfowl (and only at night), the eared grebe spends much of the year sedentary on inland freshwater bodies, gleaning crustaceans and insects.

However, one notable exception occurs during migration: nearly all members of this species make a pit stop at either the Great Salt Lake (Utah) or Mono Lake (California) from late summer to November, where they will gorge themselves on brine shrimp, effectively putting their energy into first organ development (upon arrival) and later pectoral muscle (upon departure) for flight to Mexico for winter. Like other birds that rely on clean water bodies, habitat protection is of utmost importance for species survival.

For information on future events, visit www.weminucheaudubon.org and www.facebook.com/weminucheaudubon/.

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Daughters of the American Revolution raises money for veteran’s wreaths http://www.pagosasun.com/daughters-of-the-american-revolution-raises-money-for-veterans-wreaths/ Fri, 27 Nov 2020 12:00:46 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=213434

Photo courtesy Linda Hobbs
Tanice Ramsperger is seeking sponsors for veteran’s wreathes through Wreaths Across America.

By Linda Hobbs
Daughters of the American Revolution

The Sarah Platt Decker Chapter National Society Daughters of the American Revolution (NSDAR) successfully raised enough money for 100-plus wreaths to be placed at the Colorado State Veterans Cemetery in Monte Vista. The Colorado State Veterans Cemetery is the closest veterans cemetery to Pagosa Springs. It is the final resting place to over 1,900 veterans and their spouses. 

WreathsAcrossAmerica.org is a national nonprofit organization that strives to get wreaths sponsored for every veteran in national and state veteran cemeteries. Last year, 2.2 million wreaths were laid at over 2,100 cemeteries in the U.S. and a few overseas locations. As wreaths are laid by volunteers, the veteran’s name is spoken aloud to “never forget those who served.”

There is still time to sponsor a wreath through the Sarah Platt Decker Chapter NSDAR at the Colorado State Veterans Cemetery or at many other veteran cemeteries. Sponsorship costs just $15 and is easily achieved through the Web at www.wreathsacrossamerica.org/co0186P. Deadline for this year’s drive is Nov. 30. 

For more information, please contact Linda Hobbs at (713) 304-2028.

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Bird of the Week http://www.pagosasun.com/bird-of-the-week-160/ Sun, 22 Nov 2020 12:00:31 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=213225

Photo courtesy Byron Greco

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the Cassin’s finch.

The Cassin’s is a finch of the western mountains of North America, where it is a year-round resident of evergreen and aspen forests. Here, they may migrate elevationally from their breeding territory, moving downslope in winter months. Except during nesting season, Cassin’s finches usually travel in small flocks, often in the company of crossbills, grosbeaks, siskins and other finches. They do visit backyard sunflower feeders.

The heavy, conical bill of the Cassin’s is well suited for extracting the seeds from pine cones, which make up a large part of its diet. In spring, these finches feed heavily on the buds of quaking aspen. They also have a craving for salt, which they satisfy at mineral deposits.

The male Cassin’s has a streaked brown back with a rosy-pink wash on the throat, plain breast, back and rump. He can erect his bright red crown feathers, giving him a peaked-head look. Females and immature males are streaky brown with white undersides cut by short, crisp streaks. Both sexes show thin white eye rings and notched tails.

It can be difficult to distinguish the Cassin’s from the similarly marked house finch. House finches are generally smaller and slimmer, with more rounded heads. A close look will show the male house finch wearing a brown cap.

John Cassin, for whom this finch is named, was a prominent 19th century ornithologist. Worldwide, nine bird species are named for him.

For reasons not well understood, the Cassin’s finch is experiencing population declines.

For information on future events, visit www.weminucheaudubon.org and www.facebook.com/weminucheaudubon/.

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Bird of the Week http://www.pagosasun.com/bird-of-the-week-159/ Wed, 18 Nov 2020 12:00:18 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=212828

Photo courtesy Charles Martinez

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the white-throated sparrow.

On occasion during migration seasons, we are treated to a visit by a bird rarely seen here. Recent sightings of a white-throated sparrow are an example. These sparrows are familiar winter birds in the eastern and southern parts of the United States and along the coast of California, but the few that we see here in fall are headed further south.

The white-throated is a large, plump sparrow with a long tail and legs. A white throat patch on a gray breast and yellow patches between the eyes and bill are identifying traits. Two adult morphs, the white-striped and tan-striped, differ in the color of the stripes above the eyes and on the crown.

Most white-throated sparrows breed in the boreal forests across Canada. Their breeding biology is unique among birds since, most of the time, a pair consists of two opposite-colored morphs. White-colored morphs are more aggressive and both males and females sing. Tan-colored females are more attentive parents.

These sparrows mainly eat the seeds of weeds and grasses, adding insects to their diet in summer and berries when available. They most often forage on the ground, close to the cover of dense thickets. Their distinctive song can be heard even in winter.

Migrating at night, these sparrows are among the bird species most commonly killed by colliding with buildings in their path. According to the American Bird Conservancy, “up to 1 billion birds may be killed annually in building collisions.” Its website, abcbirds.org, is a good resource for making buildings, including our homes, more bird friendly.

For information on future events, visit www.weminucheaudubon.org and www.facebook.com/weminucheaudubon/.

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Ashbaugh receives Venturing Summit Award http://www.pagosasun.com/ashbaugh-receives-venturing-summit-award-2/ Mon, 16 Nov 2020 12:00:33 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=212933

Photo courtesy John Moore
Alexandria Ashbaugh

By John Moore
Venturing Crew 612

Venturing Crew 612 is delighted to announce that recent Pagosa Springs High School graduate Alexandria Ashbaugh has been awarded the Venturing Summit Award. 

Venturing is a high-adventure character development and leadership program through the Boy Scouts of America for young men and women ages 14-21. The program is operated through Venturing Crews, units of youth and advisors that meet on set schedules and plan activities, events, trainings and community service.

The Summit Award represents Venturing’s highest honor. To achieve this ultimate recognition, Ashbaugh served the crew as a leader — both formally and informally — and was a mentor to others. In addition, she strengthened our community by designing and leading a service project to benefit others. This national-level award is considered the equivalent of earning the Eagle Scout Award in the Scouting Program.

Ashbaugh is only the second Venturer in the Great Southwest Council (all of New Mexico, southwest Colorado and a part of Texas) to earn the Summit Award. 

Along the road to earning the Summit Award, Ashbaugh first earned the Venturer Award, the Discovery Award and the Pathfinder Award. All of these awards have elements of adventure, leadership, personal growth and service objectives. She was able to participate in a 12-day backpacking trip at Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico, visit Washington, D.C., enjoy days of high-adventure activities at the Bechtel Summit in West Virginia, attend National Youth Leadership Training and the National Advanced Youth Leadership Experience, and experience an eight-day sailing adventure in the Florida Keys.

Venturing Crew 612 is chartered by Saint Patrick’s Episcopal Church and we are always eager to have new young men and women join our crew. If you are interested in learning more about Venturing, you can visit the Venturing website at www.venturing.org or contact the crew advisor, John Moore, at johntmooref15@gmail.com.

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Join Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count http://www.pagosasun.com/join-audubons-christmas-bird-count/ Sun, 15 Nov 2020 12:00:37 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=212979 By Jean Zirnhelt
Weminuche Audubon Society 

Participation in Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count has become an annual tradition in Pagosa Springs and this year will not be an exception. Members of the local Weminuche Audubon Society chapter are busy planning for a safe and fun count of our winter birds on Dec. 19.

Volunteers will count and record all of the birds that they see within one of eight zones in the Pagosa Springs count circle. The 15-mile-diameter circle is centered on Trujillo Road near downtown Pagosa Springs. Areas covered include town, about 6 miles east, most of Pagosa Lakes including Meadows subdivisions, Alpha, Timber Ridge, Mill Creek and Holiday Acres areas, Snowball, Cemetery and the first part of Fourmile roads, Loma Linda, west to Elk Park, south to the Lower Blanco area, Trujillo Road to Burns Canyon and more. It’s a lot of ground to cover in one day.

If you live within the count circle and prefer to participate by counting birds at your feeders, you can do so in the comfort of your home. We will provide forms and instructions for adding your feeder count to our data.

Following protocols of the National Audubon Society and the state of Colorado, we will not be carpooling as we have done in the past. All in-person gatherings will be done outside with masks and social distancing. Some years, we have worn masks anyway just to keep our faces warm. Zone leaders will do advance scouting to designate rendezvous points good for spotting birds. We hope that you will join us in this important endeavor.

In preparation for the count, we will again host our bird identification classes, Birding 101, presented by Keith Bruno and Randy McCormick. Winter waterfowl, the first of three classes, will take place via Zoom on Wednesday, Nov. 18, at 6:30 p.m. Look for the Zoom link on the events tab of our website, www.weminucheaudubon.org. This is an opportunity to hone your identification skills in time to practice on area lakes before the count.

For further information on the Christmas Bird Count and to sign up as a volunteer, email us at weminuche.audubon@gmail.com. We welcome participation from all community members; you don’t need to be an experienced birder. We need your help to make the count a success.

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Ashbaugh receives Venturing Summit Award http://www.pagosasun.com/ashbaugh-receives-venturing-summit-award/ Thu, 12 Nov 2020 11:56:42 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=212883

Photo courtesy John Moore
Alexandria Ashbaugh

By John Moore
Venturing Crew 612

Venturing Crew 612 is delighted to announce that recent Pagosa Springs High School graduate Alexandria Ashbaugh has been awarded the Venturing Summit Award. 

The full version of this story is available in the print edition and e-edition of the Pagosa Springs SUN. Subscribe today by calling (970)264-2100 or click here.

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Bird of the Week http://www.pagosasun.com/bird-of-the-week-158/ Wed, 11 Nov 2020 12:00:17 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=212619

Photo courtesy Charles Martinez

This week’s Bird of the Week, compliments of the Weminuche Audubon Society and Audubon Rockies, is the redhead.

In early October, large numbers of redhead ducks started arriving on Pinon Lake. These birds stay so close together that a flock is referred to as a raft. Some redheads will stay here as long as there is open water in winter, but most will be found in flocks of thousands on the Gulf of Mexico during this season.

Redheads are diving ducks that feed on submerged aquatic plants and invertebrates. Groups will sometimes feed together on vegetation brought to the surface by a mixed flock of ducks. In shallow waters, they will also tip upside down to feed.

These ducks primarily breed in seasonal wetlands in the prairie pothole region of the Midwest. Commonly ducks will lay eggs in each other’s nests, but the redhead takes this behavior to extremes. Redhead eggs have been found in the nests of 10 different duck species and even in the nests of northern harriers. Some females never incubate their own eggs, leaving the job to someone else. Others incubate only some of the eggs that they lay.

The redhead is a medium-sized duck with a smooth, rounded head and large, gray-blue bill tipped with black. In breeding plumage, the male has a cinnamon-colored head, yellow eyes and a gray body, bookended by black breast and tail. Females and immatures are brown with a pale face.

Like many bird species, redheads are threatened by the disappearance of wetland breeding habitats. Ninety-eight percent of funds collected from purchases of Federal Duck Stamps is spent to increase these vital habitats in the National Wildlife Refuge System. These $25 stamps are available at the post office, online and at retail outlets.

For information on future events, visit www.weminucheaudubon.org and www.facebook.com/weminucheaudubon/.

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Sarah Platt Decker Chapter celebrates First Responder’s Day http://www.pagosasun.com/sarah-platt-decker-chapter-celebrates-first-responders-day/ Tue, 10 Nov 2020 12:00:54 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=212737

Photo courtesy Sarah Platt Decker Chapter
The Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution delivered over 200 dozen homemade cookies, brownies, snacks, cakes and cinnamon rolls throughout La Plata and Archuleta counties area to the local responders and health care workers for First Responder’s Day.

By Linda Hobbs
Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the
Daughters of the American Revolution

In honor of First Responder’s Day, Oct. 28, and in appreciation and respect for their services, volunteers from the Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution delivered over 200 dozen homemade cookies, brownies, snacks, cakes and cinnamon rolls throughout La Plata and Archuleta counties area to the local responders and health care workers. This included fire, police, EMS, sheriff and health care workers.

The Sarah Platt Decker Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution is a nonpolitical service organization representing La Plata and Archuleta counties. Membership is open to all women over the age of 18 who can prove lineal, bloodline descent from an ancestor who aided in achieving American independence. For more information, contact Tanice Ramsperger, 731-4824, or SPDRegent@gmail.com.

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Photography Club to hear from Mark Langford Nov. 11 http://www.pagosasun.com/photography-club-to-hear-from-mark-langford-nov-11/ Mon, 09 Nov 2020 12:00:29 +0000 http://www.pagosasun.com/?p=212595

Photo courtesy Mark Langford
Mark Langford in his dark room, 1976. Langford will be the featured speaker at the Nov. 11 meeting of the Pagosa Springs Photography Club.

By Gregg Heid
Pagosa Springs Photography Club

The Nov. 11 meeting of the Pagosa Springs Photography Club will be held online via Zoom videoconferencing, beginning at 6:30 p.m. Our speaker this month will be Mark Langford. 

Langford is a graduate of the Brooks Photography Institute and has been a commercial photographer with his own business for over 30 years. In addition, he has photographed several books about the San Antonio, Texas, area. Langford now resides in Pagosa Springs.

Langford’s presentation will be “Photography … One lifelong field trip.” Join Langford as he reflects on an exciting career capturing a wide range of subjects from his early years in high school through today. From people to buildings and food products, to coffee table books, fine art and more, come and relive Langford’s never-ending journey in photography.

This will be a virtual meeting, live online, using Zoom videoconferencing. Photography Club members will receive a club email containing a Zoom link to participate in Langford’s presentation. Others who are interested in taking part may contact club president Andy Butler for information at abutler@mac.com. 

The Photography Club promotes educational, social and fun interactions between any and all who enjoy making and viewing great photography. The club sponsors educational programs and outings to help photographers develop their skills. Nonmembers are invited to attend a meeting to learn more about the club. For membership information, visit our website at https://pagosaspringsphotoclub.org/about/.

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