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|A Report from birdtours.co.uk|
Colorado, 13 April-21 April 2006,
The timing of our trip was very much focused around seeing the various species of grouse and Rosy-Finches and hence, we were just a bit too early for many of Colorado’s summer visitors. The trip proved very successful on all fronts and we saw all our targeted grouse namely, Greater and Lesser Prairie Chicken, Greater and Gunnison’s Sage Grouse, Blue Grouse, Sharp-tailed Grouse and White-tailed Ptarmigan. We had little difficulty in finding Brown-capped, Grey Crowned and Black Rosy-Finches, and we also caught up with other target birds such as McCown’s Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur and Mountain Plover.
We flew non-stop from London Heathrow to Denver with British Airways and flights were booked online at www.ba.com. We pre-booked a Chevrolet TrailBlazer via Alamo through www.wildwings.co.uk and whilst a 4WD may not be absolutely essential, there were several occasions (such as Guanella Pass) when we would have really struggled to access the site using a non-4WD.
‘A Birder’s Guide to Colorado’ by Harold Holt was an essential companion throughout and the vast majority of sites we visited are detailed in this guide.‘The North American Bird Guide’ by David Sibley helped to solve a few id challenges, whilst Geoffrey Keller’s ‘Bird Songs of the Rocky Mountain States and Provinces’ is probably the best CD to use.
Day 1 – Thursday
Left Cardiff mid morning to travel up to London Heathrow for our 15.25 flight to Denver. We arrived in the States at around 18.30 local time and by the time we had cleared customs it was just about getting dark. After collecting our vehicle from the Alamo Rental Office, we headed south via Interstate 25, to Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs where we spent the night at a Super 8 Motel.
Day 2 – Friday
A quick scout around our motel at first light, produced the expected House Finches, Black-billed Magpies and Northern Flickers. We then headed south on Interstate 25 towards Pueblo. and a stop at exit 116 to view some roadside pools, gave us Lesser Yellowlegs, Long-billed Dowitcher, Wilson’s Snipe, Western Meadowlark and large numbers of Icterids which included Yellow-headed Blackbird. Moving onto the nearby Pueblo Reservoir, we quickly connected with Scaled Quail and Say’s Phoebe, along with Redhead, American Wigeon, Green-winged Teal, Double-crested Cormorant, Great Northern Diver and the hoped for Western and Clark’s Grebes. Some roadside birding around the reservoir, produced Burrowing Owl, lots of Horned Larks, Sage Thrasher, Vesper’s Sparrow and a single Brewer’s Sparrow.
A stop at Rock Canyon Creek Recreation Area, added a pair of Great Horned Owls, Hairy Woodpecker, White-breasted Nuthatch, White-crowned Sparrow and Yellow-rumped Warbler (both Myrtle and Audubon’s).
Late Morning we headed off towards the Comanche National Grasslands, via Pueblo & La Junta, stopping on the way at Fowler for lunch. En route, we added Brown-headed Cowbird, Chipping Sparrow and Song Sparrow, and upon arrival in Springfield, after finding somewhere to stay, we headed south on Colorado 285 towards Washington Work Centre. It didn’t take us too long to locate our main target - 3 Mountain Plovers and after returning to Springfield for petrol, we hot-footed it back down to Campo, to try and catch the Lesser Prairie Chicken lek. During the last hour of sunlight we enjoyed great views of 6 birds from the car and nearby, we also had the added bonus of a pair of Lark Buntings. Night at Starlite Motel, Springfield.
Day 3 – Saturday
Setting off after breakfast, first stop of the day was Cottonwood Canyon. However, throughout the day we were severely hampered by a strong gusting wind. This made birding in the Canyon difficult and despite much effort we could not locate one of our main targets, Lewis’s Woodpecker. Nevertheless, we did manage to see Eastern Phoebe, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Bushtit, Pine Siskin, Townsend’s Solitaire, Hermit Thrush and Wild Turkey. Overhead, Turkey Vulture, Golden Eagle and Sharp-shinned Hawk were noted and late morning we departed the Canyon and headed back towards the Lesser Prairie Chicken lek near Campo. Viewing was still difficult, due to the strong wind and resulting dust storms, however, we did manage to get decent views of Vesper Sparrow and Lark Bunting from the car. Returning to Springfield, after stopping for lunch, we commenced the long drive to Gunnison, via Lamar, La Junta, Pueblo and Canon City.
We broke the journey up with several stops on the way, first of which was Goose Lakes near Hasty, where an excellent selection of wildfowl included, Snow Goose, Bufflehead, Cinnamon Teal, Blue-winged Teal, Lesser Scaup, Canvasback, Shoveler and Gadwall. Other birds noted were Yellow-headed Blackbird, White-faced Ibis, American White Pelican and a solitary Wilson’s Phalarope.
A brief visit to nearby John Martin Reservoir failed to produce much and eventually we moved onto Adobe Creek Reservoir (Blue Lake State Wildlife Area), stopping briefly to watch a roadside Scissor-tailed Flycatcher in Las Animas and a Ferruginous Hawk on the road up to the reservoir. A small roadside pool, not far from the shore, gave us good views of Long-billed Dowitcher, Lesser Yellowlegs, as well as Least, Baird’s, Semi-palmated and Western Sandpipers. We also added Snowy and American Golden Plovers down at the reservoir shore. After stopping near Pueblo for something to eat, we completed our journey to Gunnison, arriving at our pre-booked Super 8 Motel, late in the evening.
Day 4 – Sunday 16 April
A very early start saw us up at 04.30. Neither calling Tengmalm’s or Great Horned Owls could be lured to the motel car park by playback, so we headed off to the Gunnison Sage Grouse lek site, near Waunita Hot Springs. As the first bit of light appeared, we could just about start making out the first of 30+ birds several hundred yards from the car, displaying in the meadow opposite. A hunting Coyote failed to spook the lek and the males remained on site for over an hour, before one by one, they took flight, into the nearby sage brush, with several birds flying directly over the car.
After breakfast back at our motel, we moved onto Mount Crested Butt, where we spent a very productive morning birding in and around the town. Our primary target, the Rosy-Finches, were easily seen by driving around the town and checking the various feeders. Large flocks of Brown-capped Rosy Finches, also contained several Black and Grey-crowned Rosy Finches. Other birds of note included Mountain and Black-capped Chickadee, Steller’s Jay, Red-naped Sapsucker, Common Yellowthroat, Belted Kingfisher and Sharp-shinned Hawk.
Returning to Gunnison for lunch, we then headed west along Route 50 towards Black Canyon of the National Monument. Several stops on the way gave us White-throated Swift, Violet Green Swallow, Cooper’s Hawk, Golden Eagle and another Red-naped Sapsucker. Birding at Black Canyon during the late afternoon/early evening proved slow going, although we did manage to add Spotted Towhee, Western Scrub-Jay, Downy Woodpecker and Clark’s Nutcracker. Additionally, on the way out at dusk, we also found a male Blue Grouse, feeding on the side of the road. Night at Super 8 Motel, Grand Junction.
Day 5 – Monday 17 April
We spent all morning at Colorado National Monument, although generally, the birding was slow, mainly due to a strong gusting northerly wind. Nevertheless, we did see a few new birds. A stop at the West Entrance, gave us Gambell’s Quail and a good flock of Pinyon Jays, whilst a quick loop through Glade Park produced great views of Western Bluebird. Finally, a stop at Black Ridge Hunter added our only Black-throated Grey Warbler of the trip. After lunch back in Grand Junction, we commenced our drive to Craig via Interstate 70 and Route 13. A quick detour at Cameo, into Coal Canyon, proved pretty fruitless, although we did encounter several Chukar. A further stop at Rio Blanco Lake, west of Meeker, produced Tree, Violet Green, Barn & Northern Rough-winged Swallows and Sand Martin, along with Redhead, American Wigeon, Gadwall and Western & Black-necked Grebes. Heading on to Craig, roadside stops yielded both American Dipper and Bald Eagle. After checking into our hotel, we set off for the Sharp-tailed Grouse lek, south of Hayden. Unfortunately, once on site, we ran into a heavy snow blizzard, which pretty much wiped out any chance of connecting with our target and eventually we gave up and returned Craig, where we spent the night at the Holiday Inn.
Day 6 – Tuesday
Up early again this morning to try the Timber Lake lek, north of Craig for Greater Sage Grouse. Yet again, we were hampered by heavy snow, and upon arrival, visibility was particularly poor, with little prospect of scoping the lek. However, we struck lucky when a female Greater Sage Grouse suddenly appeared from the gloom, on the edge of the track we had just driven down. We had great views as it sheltered from the snow in front of the car and with no prospect of the weather clearing, we cut our losses and returned to Craig for breakfast.
Following an hour or two chilling out at our hotel, waiting for the snow to stop, we headed off to Oxbow Wildlife Area, via Maybell. Several stops on the way produced Brewer’s Sparrow and large numbers of Mountain Bluebirds and upon arrival at Oxbow, we quickly located our two main targets, Sage Sparrow and Sage Thrasher, along with a flock of Pinyon Jays. Back in Craig, a stop at ponds on the east side of town produced good numbers of Ring-necked Ducks and Tree Swallows, as well as a singing Marsh Wren.
Late afternoon, we ventured north of Hayden on CR80 in search of Grouse. This was very successful and in complete contrast to yesterday’s wipe out, we had great views of a party of Sharp-tailed Grouse, as well as a superb displaying Blue Grouse. A stop east of Hayden, gave us better views of Marsh Wren and some more Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Finally, a visit to Coal Montt Lek, south of Walden in search of Greater Sage Grouse gave us good views of another female, although we could find no sign of a lek. Night at Eastin Hotel, Kremmling.
Day 7 – Wednesday 19 April
A quick drive around Kremmling after breakfast checking the feeders failed to produce anything of real note. However, we did encounter a group of 50+ White-faced Ibis and several Cinnamon Teals on a nearby pool. Heading off towards Georgetown and the Guanella Pass, the first proper stop of the day was at Windy Gap Reservoir, where the stumbled into our only Moose of the trip. The birding proved very productive and we added a number of new trip birds such as Barrow’s Goldeneye, Hooded Merganser and California Gull. A brief stop near Winter Park gave us nothing of note and upon reaching Georgetown we headed straight for the feeders on the west side of the town, where there were plenty of birds such as Steller’s Jay, Mountain and Black-capped Chickadees, Red-breasted Nuthatch and Dark-eyed Junco. After sorting out somewhere to stay, we took the winding mountain road up to Guanella Pass, stopping at several sites on the way. Whilst the forest birding was pretty slow, we did see Cassin’s Finch and Clark’s Nutcracker.
Up at the pass, after parking at the highest point, it took much stomping around and some two hours to find a single, very tame, White-tailed Ptarmigan east of trail 603, several hundred yards past the signing-in box. Returning back down towards Georgetown, we added Grey Jay, before venturing up to Loveland Pass. Great view, no birds! A quick stop at Silver Plume, to check feeders was pretty fruitless, although we did connect with two Big-horned Sheep en route back to Georgetown. We spent the final hour of daylight back up on the road to Guanella Pass and whilst birds were few and far between, we did manage to finally connect with Fox Sparrow. Night at Super 8 Motel, Georgetown.
Day 8 – Thursday
First stop today was Genesee State Park just off exit 254 on Interstate 70, where we easily found our two targets, Williamson’s Sapsucker and Pygmy Nuthatch. Other birds included plenty of Western Bluebirds, Cassin’s Finch and a displaying Cooper’s Hawk. After passing through Denver, we stopped briefly at Lower Latham Reservoir near Greeley, where a good selection of waders in flooded fields included American Avocet, Wilson’s Phalarope, Least Sandpiper, Semi-palmated Sandpiper and Willet. Viewing the reservoir distantly we could just about make out Forster’s Tern, American White Pelican, Clark’s Grebe and Bonaparte’s Gull.
Moving onto the Pawnee Grasslands (Murphy’s Pasture), McCown’s Longspurs seemed to be everywhere and after a little bit of searching, we found a superb male Chestnut-collared Longspur, as well as a single Mountain Plover. We also had our second rather distant Ferruginous Hawk of the trip.
Final stop of the day was just north of Wray, 1.7 miles east of Route 385, along CR 45, where we scoped up to 16 Greater Prairie Chickens displaying on the brow of a distant sandhill. Leaving this site for the long drive to Colorado Springs, we came across several Northern Bobwhites, which pretty much completed the set of Colorado game birds. Night at Super 8 on south side of Colorado Springs.
Day 9 – Friday
Today we concentrated on two missing birds, namely, Lewis’s Woodpecker and American Three-toed Woodpecker. It didn’t take us too long after arriving in Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City, to find a single Lewis’s Woodpecker and other additions to the trip list included, Blue Jay, Evening Grosbeak and Orange-crowned Warbler. After a long drive, we spent several hours in the afternoon looking for American Three-toed Woodpecker at Pine Valley Ranch Park near Denver (just south of Conifer on Route 285). However, whilst this proved unsuccessful, we did locate our third Red-naped Sapsucker of the trip, along with several more Pygmy Nuthatches, before finally heading off to Denver International Airport for our evening flight back to the UK.
The list below follows the ‘Clements 5th Edition – ‘2005’ sequence, nomenclature and taxonomy.
Common Loon (Great-northern Diver) Gavia
A single bird at Pueblo Reservoir.
Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps
3 Goose Lakes and 1 on the river near Gunnison on 16/4.
Eared (Black-necked) Grebe Podiceps nigricollis
Regular sightings, maximum 50 at Pueblo Reservoir.
Western Grebe Aechmophorus occidentalis
2 Pueblo Reservoir, 1 Rio Blanco Lake and 1 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Clark's Grebe Aechmophorus clarkii
1 Pueblo Reservoir and 1 Lower Latham Reservoir.
American White Pelican Pelecanus erythrorhynchos
1 Pueblo Reservoir, 60 flying high over Goose Lakes and 6 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Double-crested Cormorant Phalacrocorax auritus
Seen on 3 days only, maximum of 20 on 20/4.
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Only 2 sightings.
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
4 birds in total.
White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi
30 Goose Lakes, 6 en route from Gunnison to Black Canyon, 2 between Cameo and Rio Blanco Lake and 50+ birds at Kremmling.
Snow Goose Chen caerulescens
15 at Goose Lakes were the only birds of the trip
Canada Goose Branta canadensis
Wood Duck Aix sponsa
A flighty pair at Cottonwood Canyon.
American Wigeon Anas americana
Small numbers seen at quite a few locations. Maximum of 20 on 19/4.
Gadwall Anas strepera
Fairly common. Daily maximum of 50.
Green-winged Teal Anas crecca
Common, maximum of 25 on 18/4.
Mallard Anas platyrhynchos
Common, seen daily.
Northern Pintail Anas acuta
8 Goose Lakes and 2 en route from Maybell to Craig.
Blue-winged Teal Anas discors
30 Goose Lakes and 4 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Cinnamon Teal Anas cyanoptera
10 Goose Lakes, 4 Gunnison area, 2 near Craig and 4 Kremmling.
Northern Shoveler Anas clypeata
Regular sightings, with a maximum of 100 on 15/4.
Canvasback Aythya valisineria
A single bird at Goose Lakes.
Redhead Aythya americana
4 at Pueblo Reservoir, 2 Rio Blanco Lake and 5 Windy Gap Reservoir.
Ring-necked Duck Aythya collaris
Seen on 4 dates, maximum of 51 at Craig on 18/4.
Lesser Scaup Aythya affinis
3 Goose Lakes, 12 Windy Gap Reservoir and 4 near Denver.
Common Goldeneye Bucephala clangula
1 Goose Lakes and 50 Windy Gap Reservoir.
Barrow's Goldeneye Bucephala islandica
At least 5 birds amongst the Common Goldeneyes at Windy Gap Reservoir.
Bufflehead Bucephala albeola
2 Goose Lakes, 1 en route from Cameo to Rio Blanco Lake, 6 north of Craig and 2 Windy Gap Reservoir.
Hooded Merganser Lophodytes cucullatus
A distant female at Windy Gap Reservoir.
Common Merganser (Goosander) Mergus merganser
Regular sightings. Maximum of 17 on 18/4.
Ruddy Duck Oxyura jamaicensis
12 en route from Pueblo to Springfield and 6 Goose Lakes.
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Osprey Pandion haliaetus
A total of 6 birds seen during trip.
Bald Eagle Haliaeetus leucocephalus
1 en route from Meeker to Craig, 1 flew over the female Sage Grouse on 18/4 and 1 Windy Gap Reservoir.
Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus
Seen on 4 dates, maximum of 6 on 20/4.
Sharp-shinned Hawk Accipiter striatus
1 at Cottonwood Canyon, another at Mount Crested Butt and a single bird on 17/4.
Cooper's Hawk Accipiter cooperii
1 en route from Gunnison to Black Canyon of the National Monument and 1 at Genesee State Park.
Swainson's Hawk Buteo swainsoni
A fairly common sight, particularly in the ‘prairie’ eastern part of the state.
Red-tailed Hawk Buteo jamaicensis
The common Buteo.
Ferruginous Hawk Buteo regalis
Singles at Adobe Creek Reservoir and Pawnee National Grasslands.
Golden Eagle Aquila chrysaetos
8 birds seen in total.
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus
6 birds seen.
Wild Turkey Meleagris gallopavo
14 Cottonwood Canyon and 3 near Wray.
Blue Grouse Dendragapus obscurus
A single bird at Black Canyon of the National Monument and another north of Hayden.
White-tailed Ptarmigan Lagopus leucurus
A single bird at Guanella Pass gave excellent close range views.
Greater Sage-Grouse Centrocercus urophasianus
Due to adverse weather, we were unable to view Timber Lake Lek, north of Craig. However, we did get good views of a female bird that wandered onto the track, close to the car. We also saw another female later the same day at Coal Montt near Walden.
Gunnison Sage-Grouse Centrocercus minimus
31 birds watched at the Gunnison Lek site.
Sharp-tailed Grouse Tympanuchus phasianellus
A party of 7 birds north of Hayden.
Greater Prairie-Chicken Tympanuchus cupido
16 birds at Wray Lek.
Lesser Prairie-Chicken Tympanuchus pallidicinctus
6 birds at Campo Lek.
Scaled Quail Callipepla squamata
7 Pueblo Reservoir.
Gambel's Quail Callipepla gambelii
3 Colorado National Monument.
Northern Bobwhite Colinus virginianus
7 roadside birds just north of Wray.
Chukar Alectoris chukar
4 birds Coal Canyon near Cameo.
Ring-necked Pheasant Phasianus colchicus
3 birds from car during drive from Pawnee Grasslands to Wray.
Sandhill Crane Grus canadensis
All sightings Craig/Hayden area, maximum of 64 on 18/4.
American Coot Fulica americana
Maximum count of 70 on 15/4.
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
2 birds Goose Lakes.
American Avocet Recurvirostra americana
10 Lower Latham Reservoir.
American Golden-Plover Pluvialis dominica
A single bird at Adobe Creek Reservoir.
Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus
4 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Killdeer Charadrius vociferus
Snowy Plover Charadrius alexandrinus
3 birds at Adobe Creek Reservoir.
Mountain Plover Charadrius montanus
3 birds in fields by Washington Work Centre, south of Springfield and 1 Murphy’s Pasture, Pawnee National Grasslands.
Wilson's Snipe Gallinago delicata
Singles south of Colorado Springs and at Mounted Crested Butt.
Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus
2 birds in flooded fields south of Colorado Springs and 36 Adobe Creek Reservoir.
Long-billed Curlew Numenius americanus
7+ birds Comanche National Grasslands and 2 with Sandhill Cranes near Craig on 18/4.
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
5 in flooded fields south of Colorado Springs, 8 Adobe Creek Reservoir and 15 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Willet Catoptrophorus semipalmatus
A single bird Lower Latham Reservoir.
Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla
10 Adobe Creek Reservoir and 1 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri
1 Adobe Creek Reservoir.
Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla
3 Adobe Creek Reservoir and 8 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii
6 Adobe Creek Reservoir and 3 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Wilson's Phalarope Phalaropus tricolor
1 Goose Lakes and 2 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Ring-billed Gull Larus delawarensis
2 Pueblo Reservoir and 1 Adobe Creek Reservoir.
California Gull Larus californicus
6 Windy Gap Reservoir and 4 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Bonaparte's Gull Larus philadelphia
2 Pueblo Reservoir, 4 Rio Blanco Lake and 3 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Franklin's Gull Larus pipixcan
Regular sightings, with a maximum of 50 on 15/4.
Forster's Tern Sterna forsteri
2 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Rock Pigeon Columba livia
Seen every day bar one.
Eurasian Collared-Dove Streptopelia decaocto
Small numbers seen.
Mourning Dove Zenaidura macroura
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
A pair in broad day light near Pueblo Reservoir and a bird calling just before first light in Gunnison.
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia
7 birds in and around Comanche National Grasslands.
Owl Aegolius funereus
A single bird heard at Gunnison.
White-throated Swift Aeronautes saxatalis
First seen en route from Gunnison to the Black Canyon of the National Monument. Common at monument itself, with 100+ birds seen in total during 16/4. 50+ the following day at Colorado National Monument and 8+ birds on final day at Greenhorn Meadows.
Belted Kingfisher Ceryle alcyon
A total of 7 individuals seen during trip.
Lewis's Woodpecker Melanerpes lewis
Surprisingly we missed this bird at Cottonwood Canyon, so we had to try again at Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City, where an early morning visit produced good views of a single bird.
Williamson's Sapsucker Sphyrapicus thyroideus
2 pairs seen at Genesee State Park.
Red-naped Sapsucker Sphyrapicus nuchalis
1 Mount Crested Butt, 1 en route from Gunnison to the Black Canyon of the National Monument and 1 at Pine Valley Ranch Park.
Downy Woodpecker Picoides pubescens
1 Black Canyon of the National Monument, 1 Genesee State Park and 4 birds during final day visits to Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City and Pine Valley Ranch Park.
Hairy Woodpecker Picoides
A single bird at Rock Canyon Creek Recreation Area, near Pueblo Reservoir.
Northern Flicker Colaptes
Eastern Phoebe Sayornis
3 birds Cotton Wood Canyon.
Say's Phoebe Sayornis
Small numbers seen most days.
Just the one in Cottonwood Canyon.
Western Kingbird Tyrannus
2 birds Cottonwood Canyon.
1 spotted from the car as we headed through Las Animas, gave good views on a road side fence on 15/4.
Horned Lark Eremophila
One of the commonest birds of the trip. All over the prairies!
Tree Swallow Tachycineta
Good numbers seen at Rio Blanco Lake and in Craig area, with 100+ on both 17 & 18/4. Small numbers elsewhere.
Violet-green Swallow Tachycineta
3 birds en route from Gunnison to Black Canyon of the National Monument, 5 Rio Blanco Lake and 3 at Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City on 21/4.
Swallow Stelgidopteryx serripennis
Bank Swallow Riparia
15 Rio Blanco Lake and 2 Craig.
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon
Seen on 4 dates, daily maximum of 20.
Barn Swallow Hirundo
Regular sightings of this distinctive American subspecies. Daily maximum of 50.
American Pipit Anthus
Seen on two occasions. 12 birds on flooded fields south of Colorado Springs and 15+ birds at Lower Latham Reservoir.
Ruby-crowned Kinglet Regulus
Singles at Cottonwood Canyon, Black Canyon of the National Monument and Genesee State Park.
American Dipper Cinclus
A single bird between Meeker and Craig and one on the river at Pine Valley Ranch Park.
Rock Wren Salpinctes
2 Cottonwood Canyon and 3 Colorado National Monument.
Bewick's Wren Thyromanes
3 Cottonwood Canyon and a further 3 at Colorado National Monument.
Marsh Wren Cistothorus
Singles at Craig and near Hayden.
Northern Mockingbird Mimus
2 birds near Campo Lek on 15/4.
Sage Thrasher Oreoscoptes
2 Pueblo Reservoir, 2 Oxbow Wildlife Area and 2 near Murphy’s Pasture, Pawnee National Grasslands on 20/4.
Western Bluebird Sialia
2 Colorado National Monument and 4 Genesee State Park.
Mountain Bluebird Sialia
The first sighting at Colorado National Monument was followed by good numbers in and around Craig, with a maximum of 40 on 18/4.
Townsend's Solitaire Myadestes
2 Cottonwood Canyon were followed by a further 2 at Colorado Monument. Other sightings including 1 on road up to Guanella Pass and 1 at Pine Valley Ranch Park.
Hermit Thrush Catharus
The only sighting of the trip was of two birds at Cottonwood Canyon.
American Robin Turdus
A common sight throughout.
2 Cottonwood Canyon, 1 Black Canyon of the National Monument, 4 Colorado National Monument and 2 at Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City on 21/4.
Black-capped Chickadee Poecile
1 Mount Crest Butt, 1 Craig, 2 Georgetown and 2 Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City.
Chickadee Poecile gambeli
5 Mount Crested Butt, 4 Georgetown, 6 Genesee State Park and 4 Pine Valley Ranch Park.
Titmouse Baeolophus ridgwayi
1 Cottonwood Canyon.
Nuthatch Sitta pygmaea
7 Genesee State Park and 5 Pine Valley Ranch Park.
Nuthatch Sitta canadensis
1 Georgetown, 2 Genesee State Park and 2 Pine Valley Ranch Park.
Nuthatch Sitta carolinensis
1 Rock Canyon Creek Recreation Area near Pueblo Reservoir, 1 Mount Crested Butt, 2 Genesee State Park and 2 Pine Valley Ranch Park.
Creeper Certhia americana
Singles at Black Canyon of the National Monument and Pine Valley Ranch Park on 21/4.
Shrike Lanius ludovicianus
Regular sightings, with a maximum of 10 on 14/4.
Jay Perisoreus canadensis
2 along road between Georgetown and Guanella Pass.
Jay Cyanocitta stellerii
1 at Mount Crested Butt, was followed by small numbers at Georgetown, Genesee State Park and Pine Valley Ranch Park.
Jay Cyanocitta cristata
2 Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City.
Western Scrub-Jay Aphelocoma californica
At least 5 birds at Black Canyon of the National Monument, were followed by 3 birds at Colorado National Monument.
Pinyon Jay Gymnorhinus cyanocephalus
34 birds at Colorado National Monument and a flock of 40 birds Oxbow Wildlife Area.
Black-billed Magpie Pica hodsonia
Clark's Nutcracker Nucifraga columbiana
2 Black Canyon of the National Monument and 1 on road up to Guanella Pass.
American Crow Corvus brachyrhynchos
Chihuahuan Raven Corvus cryptoleucus
10 birds Cottonwood Canyon.
Common Raven Corvus corax
European Starling Sturnus vulgaris
Orange-crowned Warbler Vermivora celata
1 Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City.
Warbler Dendroica coronata
Commonest warbler. Even so, sightings were limited to 3 days only. 5 birds at Rock Creek Recreation Area were followed by 4 at Cottonwood Canyon and a further 4 at Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City. Both ‘Audubon’s’ and ‘Myrtle’ Warblers seen.
Grey Warbler Dendroica nigrescens
Good views of a single bird at Colorado National Monument.
Yellowthroat Geothlypis trichas
1 female near Crested Butt.
Towhee Pipilo maculatus
2 Black Canyon of the National Monument, 2 near Oxbow Wildlife Area and up to 3 at Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City.
Towhee Pipilo fuscus
2 Pueblo Reservoir and 3 Cottonwood Canyon.
Sparrow Spizella passerina
Seen on five dates, with a maximum of 10 on 20/4.
Sparrow Spizella breweri
1 Pueblo Reservoir, 4 between Maybell and Oxbow Wildlife Area and 2 Murphy’s Pastures, Pawnee National Grasslands.
Sparrow Pooecetes gramineus
Commonest Sparrow – good numbers seen.
Sparrow Amphispiza belli
4 birds at Oxbow Wildlife Area
Bunting Calamospiza melanocorys
A male and female near the Lesser Prairie Chicken lek at Campo, followed by a female there the next day.
Sparrow Passerculus sandwichensis
2 Lower Latham Reservoir.
Sparrow Passerella iliaca
2 birds seen from road side, between Georgetown and Guanella Pass were of the ‘Interior West form’ (Slate Coloured Sparrow).
Sparrow Melospiza melodia
Small numbers seen.
Sparrow Zonotrichia leucophrys
25+ seen on first day, thereafter only seen on another 3 dates.
Junco Junco hyemalis
Pretty common, particularly up in the Rockies, with both ‘Pink-sided’ and ‘Grey-headed’ forms seen.
Longspur Calcarius mccowni
At least 25 birds at Murphy’s Pasture, Pawnee National Grasslands included many breeding plumaged males.
Longspur Calcarius ornatus
A stunning male at Murphy’s Pasture, Pawnee National Grasslands.
Blackbird Agelaius phoeniceus
Meadowlark Sturnella neglecta
Blackbird Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus
Seen on 5 dates with maximum of 30 birds south of Colorado Springs on 14/4.
Blackbird Euphagus cyanocephalus
6 south of Colorado Springs and 3 near Springfield.
Grackle Quiscalus quiscula
Common, particularly in low lying parts of the state.
Grackle Quiscalus mexicanus
All sightings in the far east of the state. 20+ in Springfield area and a single bird near Wray.
Cowbird Molothrus ater
Seen on 4 dates, with a maximum of 30 on 15/4.
Rosy Finch Leucosticte tephrocotia
3 birds picked out amongst the large number of Rosy Finches visiting feeders in Mount Crested Butt.
Rosy Finch Leucosticte atrata
At least 6 birds Mount Crested Butt.
Rosy Finch Leucosticte australis
200+ Mount Crested Butt. Easily seen as we drove around the town checking feeders.
Finch Carpodacus cassinii
25+ Mount Crested Butt, 5 Georgetown area and 4 Genesee State Park.
Finch Carpodacus mexicanus
Crossbill Loxia curvirostra
1 heard Black Canyon of the National Monument and another seen at Genesee State Park.
Siskin Carduelis pinus
6 Cottonwood Canyon, 2 Mount Crested Butt, 2 Georgetown and 2 Genesee State Park.
Goldfinch Carduelis psaltria
Single bird at Kremmling.
Goldfinch Carduelis tristis
6 birds in fields with the Mountain Bluebirds near Oxbow Wildlife Area.
Grosbeak Coccothraustes vespertinus
4 birds Greenhorn Meadows Park, Colorado City.
Sparrow Passer domesticus
Pronghorn Antilocapra americana – Fairly common on prairies.
American Beaver Castor canadensis – Rock Canyon Creek Recreation Area.
Black-tailed Prairie Dog Cynomys ludovicianus – Numerous Comanche National Grasslands.
Black-tailed Jack Rabbit Dusicyon griseus – Seen just the once.
Red Fox Vulpes vulpes – Several seen.
Mule Deer Odocoileus hemionus – Regular sightings.
Coyote Canis latrans – A single animal at Gunnison Sage Grouse lek.
Yellow-bellied Marmot Marmota flaviventris – Several roadside animals near Craig.
Moose Alces alces – Just the one, at Windy Gap Reservoir.
Big Horn Sheep Ovis canadensis – 2 seen from viewing area near Georgetown.
Abert’s Squirrel Sciurus aberti – Just the one sighting.
Thirteen-lined Ground Squirrel Spermophilus tridecemlineatus – Several seen..
A special thanks to Colorado birders, Richard Stephens and Bill Schmoker for advising on our proposed itinerary. Also to Richard, for kindly fielding our phone calls whilst in Colorado and pointing us in the right direction on a few missing birds, particularly, Lewis’s Woodpecker and Williamson’s Sapsucker.
Contact Details: Alex@Bevan9950.freeserve.co.uk