Weminuche Audubon Society bird walk Saturday, meeting Wednesday

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By Jean Zirnhelt | Weminuche Audubon Society

Weminuche Audubon will be championing local historical sites with two events this month. On Saturday, Sept.17, we will partner with the Chimney Rock Interpretive Association in leading a bird walk at this national monument. With fall migration in force, we may find some migrants passing through and catch some summer residents before they leave. 

This tour will meet at the gate off Colo. 151 between 7:15 and 7:30 a.m. and end at 9:30 a.m. We will look for birds along the entrance road and in the juniper and ponderosa forests behind the former visitor cabin. 

We will not be visiting any ruins at the monument, but this will be an opportunity to extend your visit and learn about this ancient site. This is a Chimney Rock event and a fee is charged. Advance registration can be made on recreation.gov.

On Wednesday, Sept. 21, we invite you to join us at our monthly chapter meeting where John Porco will talk about the historic railroad grade that links two trains, two cities and two states. 

Porco serves as executive director of the Tracks Across Borders Scenic and Historic Byway (TABB). He is also a 20-year volunteer with the Friends of the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad, which has given him an intense interest in the history of the railroad and the region served. 

The bi-state TABB travels 128 miles from Chama, N.M., to Durango, Colo. The byway traces the historic right of way of the abandoned narrow-gauge Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, which was instrumental in the development of the region. 

The byway celebrates other tracks as well — the tracks of the wildlife that inhabit the area, of Native American trails, of Spanish missionaries in the 1600s, of oxen on the Old Spanish Trail in the 1800s and of the wagons of pioneers, along with modern highways. 

TABB is one of 26 designated byways in Colorado, with an equal number in New Mexico, and was approved by the two states in 2016. Drive this local backcountry byway to step back in time and see the little-changed western landscape and learn about the deep, rich history of this part of the old American West.

We will meet at the Community United Methodist Church on Lewis Street. Join us to socialize at 6 p.m. before the meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. Audubon meetings are open to the public. In appreciation for our meeting space, a donation of nonperishable food for the church food bank is requested. For those unable to attend in person, a Zoom link will be posted on our website, www.weminucheaudubon.org.