2016 Past Field Trips


  • All trips need to be reserved
  • There is a 10-person maximum.
  • Carpooling is required on all trips and we will chip in on gas.
  • It may not be possible to leave a trip early – check with trip leader.
  • Dress in layers for all Colorado weather.
  • Always bring hat, water, and snacks – check with trip leader if a sack lunch is needed.
  • Talk to trip leader if you need binoculars.


Gunnison Sage Grouse Trip

Date: Friday & Saturday, April 8th & 9th 2016 at 6:30pm
Meeting Location: 
Trip Leader: Liz Bokram
Reservation: Call Liz 970-319-0385 or lizjohnb@msn.com
Description: Consists of an evening slide show at Western State Colorado University on Friday evening at 6:30, followed by a field trip the next morning to view the Gunnison Sage-grouse

Earth Day with the Rosy Finches

Date: Friday, April 22nd 2016
Location: Private residence near Ashcroft
Trip Leader: Mary Harris
Registration: eMail Mary Harris at smnharris@gmail.com – Participants are limited.
Description: Brown-capped, Gray-crowned, and possibly Black Rosy-finches. We will visit a private residence near Ashcroft where these high mountain finches descend into their “warmer” wintering range.

Great opportunity to see these very elusive birds that live in extreme environments and whose life history is still not fully understood. We should also get good looks at our other high elevation residents as well as amazing scenery.  You may want to bring your snowshoes or skiis!  We will work out the meeting time and place. Bring snacks, we’ll discuss lunch, and of course, warm clothing.

Karvel Mt. Plover Festival

Date: Friday & Saturday, April 29th & 30th 2016
Location: Karval, CO & Limon,CO (overnight)
Trip Leader: Mary Harris
Registration: eMail Mary Harris at smnharris@gmail.com
Description: This overnight fun festival is a great opportunity to find our rare and threatened Mountain Plover, as well as other plains birds that may be nesting or migrating through. This is a first time trip for RF Audubon and we have been told that it may sell out.  We will overnight in Limon, CO. Check it out at karval.org


  Desert Ecology

Date: Saturday, May 7th 2016
Location: To be announced
Trip Leader: Dee Malone
Registration: Call Dee Malone 970-963-2143 or deliamalone@earthlink.net
Description: Details coming.


Black Canyon of the Gunnison

Date: Friday & Saturday, May 13th & 14th 2016
Location: Black Canyon (overnight)
Trip Leader: Mary Harris
Registration: eMail Mary Harris at smnharris@gmail.com
Description: You have your choice to either go the afternoon before, on the 13th and spend the night, or arrive early on the 14th.  Mary will be there on Friday, 13th to save campsites. It is about 1 ½ hr drive from Carbondale.

It is worth it to camp! We will have a camper stove to use for cooking dinner, watch the sun set over the canyon, have a good chance to see the white-throated swifts’ amazing mating display in the evening, and perhaps even witness a peregrine falcon trying to catch one!

On the morning of the 14th we will take a short walk to find the pinion and juniper species. This is prime time for singing around the canyon and we should have no trouble finding many of them, including Virginia’s Warbler, Plumbeous and Gray Vireos, Bushtits, Juniper Titmouse, Black-throated Hummingbird, Brewer’s and Vesper Sparrows, Rock Wren, Green-tailed and Spotted Towhee, Clark’s Nutcracker, Dusky Flycatcher, Say’s Phoebe, and more.

Spring Bird Count

Date: Saturday, May 21st 2016
Location: Meet at Linda Vidal’s house (12 Brown Court, Carbondale in Rock Bottom Ranch)
Trip Leader: Call Linda Vidal
Registration: eMail Linda at birder2008@yahoo.com
Description: This is possibly one of the most fun birding days! It is also a great day to learn from the more experienced counters, and important citizen science. We almost always find something unusual. We typically meet up in the morning, and then “divide and conquer” by driving to our favorite “birdy” places.

This count is an important conservation tool, used to access the numbers of our surviving wintering birds and to see how many of our migrating birds are returning. The information gathered is sent to Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the National Audubon Society through eBird. The observations of each group join those of others in an international network of data that shares with a global community of educators, land managers, ornithologists, and conservation biologists. In time, these data will become the foundation for a better understanding of bird distribution across the western hemisphere and beyond, with data recorded in English, Spanish, and French.

Get ready for a long day in the field with all appropriate dress, water, lunch and snacks.


Maroon Creek Wetlands

Date: Thursday, June 2nd 2016 at 7am
Location: Maroon Creek Wetlands
Trip Leader: Sponsored by Roaring Fork Conservancy and City of Aspen Parks & Open Space
Registration: Roaring Fork Conservancy   http://www.roaringfork.org – after April 1st.
Description: Visit the hidden wetlands right under the Maroon Creek Bridge.  We meet at 7am for this morning outing.  Our summer resident birds are making their nests along with the migrating species passing through this beautiful area.  Liz Bokram from Roaring Fork Audubon will be assisting the Conservancy and Parks & Open Space on this trip.

Hummers on Placita’s Railroad Trail

Date: Saturday, June 4th 2016
Location: along Hwy 133 just before the Marble turnoff
Trip Leader: Mary Harris
Registration: eMail Mary Harris at smnharris@gmail.com
Description: This is a gorgeous, easy, and flat trail along Hwy 133 just before the Marble turnoff. Last year we saw the largest concentration of male Broad-tail Hummingbirds defending territories that I have ever seen. Also along this beautiful trail we will find some of these: Fox Sparrow, Song Sparrow, many Yellow Warblers, Spotted Sandpipers, Great Blue Herons, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Cassin’s Finches, Cedar Waxwings, Swainson’s Thrush, Red-tailed Hawk, and more.

RVR River Front Trail

Date: Tuesday, June 7th 2016
Location: River Front Trail in Front of RVR, Carbondale
Trip Leader: Mary Harris
Registration: eMail Mary Harris at smnharris@gmail.com
Description: This nice, easy, and short riparian trail is an ongoing monitoring project of RF Audubon’s that we do for the Town of Carbondale, Aspen Valley Land Trust, and River Valley Ranch.

We have found many species using this patch of land for nesting, (33), plus migrating, and hunting species. We usually find a surprise or two – (we have found a Peregrine Falcon, a Sandhill Crane, & Black Swifts).  We will be looking for nesting American Kestrels, Northern Flickers, Western Wood Pewee, Red-winged Blackbird, Yellow Warbler, American Robin, Gray Catbird, Black-capped Chickadee, House Wren, Song Sparrow, Broad-tailed & Black-chinned Hummingbirds, Western Kingbird, Brewer’s Blackbird, Violet-green, Cliff, and Tree Swallows, Lewis’s Woodpecker, Mallard, Bullock’s Oriole, Scrub Jay, Mountain Bluebird, Spotted Sandpiper, Cedar Waxwing, Meadowlark, Black-headed Grosbeak, and Osprey.

Frying Pan River

Date: Saturday, June 18th 2016
Location: Frying Pan River, Basalt
Trip Leader: Call Linda Vidal
Registration: eMail Linda at birder2008@yahoo.com
Description: Please join Linda for this field trip up the Frying Pan River. It has been a couple years since we’ve birded this wonderful habitat, and I’d like to share it with those who might be interested. This trip will be until mid-day so bring a lunch and we’ll plan a picnic.  We’ll have a chance to see lots of migrants and have an opportunity to see and hear lots of dippers. Their song is quite beautiful and would be a rare experience.

Full Moon Owls

Date: Monday, June 20th 2016
Location: Basalt above Lake Cristine
Trip Leader: Mary Harris
Registration: eMail Mary Harris at smnharris@gmail.com
Description: This trip is for those comfortable walking uphill in the late afternoon and walking down a narrow trail in the dark with a headlamp.  It’s fun really. (About an hour each way.)

We will start by driving to a small pond through sage, pinion, and juniper, then walk up the side of a tight canyon whose river is one of the main water sources for the Town of Basalt. This lush canyon with many aspen trees, provides great habitat for nesting Flammulated Owls, and although there is never a guarantee with owls, they have been well observed here in the past.

We will also be looking for Juniper Titmouse, Virginia’s and Gray-throated Warblers, Brewer’s and Vesper Sparrows, Green-tailed and Spotted Grosbeaks, Plumbeous Vireos, Rock and House Wren, Common Nighthawk, Poorwills, and more.

Bird the Uncompahgre

Date: Friday & Saturday, June 25th & 26th 2016
Location: Delta & Uncompahgre
Trip Leader: Coen, Brenda and Linda
Registration: eMail Linda at birder2008@yahoo.com
Description: Join Coen, Brenda and Linda for a weekend birding trip across the Uncompahgre. We’ll meet at CMC parking lot at 5:30 AM on the morning of the 24th or you may drive over to Delta on the 23rd and camp or motel in Delta and meet the folks coming from Carbondale the morning of the 24th. We’ll meet Coen and Brenda the morning of the 24th in Delta, we’ll bird around Delta before heading up and spending the day on the Uncompahgre.  You will need a lunch on Saturday and we will spend the night in Nucla which has a newly remodeled hotel “THE RIMROCK HOTEL” 970-865-2500, you will be responsible for making your own reservations. We have been invited to have dinner with Brenda and Coen Saturday night. We’ll bird our way home on Sunday.


 Flat Tops

Date: Saturday, July 9th 2016 at 7am
Meeting Location: Meet at the No Name Rest Area at 7am
Trip Leader: Tom McConnell
Reservation: Call Tom 970-379-7356 or immac@rof.net
Description: Don’t miss this opportunity to bird with one of the best! It will be an all day affair and a great chance to see birds you don’t often find in the valley.  The Flattops around Heart Lake and White Owl Lake are exciting in July.  The breeding birds are all there and the wildflowers are in full bloom.  We should find high elevation residents like Gray Jay and Pine Grosbeaks.  With a little luck we may find breeding species like Barrow’s Goldeneye, Northern Goshawk, and American Pipit.  Bring a lunch, binocs, and be prepared to drive if needed.

High Elevation Birds & Oaxacan Lunch

Date: Tuesday, July 12th 2016
Location: Ashcroft, Taylor Pass
Trip Leader: Mary Harris
Registration: eMail Mary Harris at smnharris@gmail.com by July 1st 2016
Description: This trip requires walking uphill at high elevation to at least 10,000 feet. Of course we will go slow and not too far, but make sure you are confident in your ability to do this.

We will meet early and start with a visit to a private residence near Toklat to observe hummingbirds as well as other high elevation birds that visit their feeders.

After that, we drive up Taylor Pass a short distance to a beautiful open meadow with a pond. Wonderful birding, wildflowers, and scenery.After spending some time in the meadow we will walk up and back down the jeep road for about an hour each way, checking for other high elevation species.

We will be looking for Broad-tailed Hummingbirds, Pine Grosbeaks, Dark-eyed Juncos, Dusky Grouse, Hammond’s Flycatcher, Willow Flycatcher, Lincoln’s Sparrow, Fox Sparrow, American Dipper, Wilson’s Warbler, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Red-napped Sapsucker, Hermit and Swainson’s Thrushes, Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets, Black-headed Grosbeaks, and more!

In order to prepare for the Oaxacan meal, there is a cut-off date of July 1st for this trip. There will also be a cost, to be determined later, to cover the meal.


Date: Saturday, July 23rd 2015
Location: To be announced
Trip Leader: Dee Malone
Registration: Call Dee Malone 970-963-2143 or deliamalone@earthlink.net
Description: A great opportunity! Details coming.

Black Swifts in Ouray

Date: Monday – Wednesday, July 25th – 27th
Location: Ouray
Trip Guide: Sue Hirshman
Reservation: Call Liz 970-319-0385 or lizjohnb@msn.com
Description: Join us for a great opportunity, and the best place anywhere, to observe up close one of the last North American birds described to science. Black Swifts have received much attention lately with the recent discovery of their wintering grounds in the Amazon basin. (Roaring Fork Audubon was instrumental in this discovery.) Colorado hosts the most breeding sites for this elusive bird and Sue Hirshman, with over 19 years of monitoring the swifts, will be our personal guide and tutor.

We will meet Monday late morning, (time and place to be determined), and then drive to Ouray, birding along the way. Bring a pack lunch and money for all other meals and accommodations. Call or email Liz to sign up, questions and a list of suggested accommodations, (camping and hotel).


Hanging Lake for Black Swifts

Date: Saturday, August 6th 2016
Location: West Parking area near The Catherine’s Store Bridge
Trip Leader: Kendall Henry
Registration: eMail Kendall at kendall@sopris.net
Description: This will be a very early start to reach the lake in time to see the swifts leaving their nests, and to beat the crowds. Appreciate the canyon when it’s all yours!


Delta County Sandhill Cranes

Date: Saturday, November 26th 2016
Location: North Fork Valley
Meeting Location: CMC (Carbondale) parking lot at 8:00am and car pool.
Trip Leader: Linda Vidal & Bill Day
Registration: Call Linda 970-704-9950 or birder2008@yahoo.com
Description: Join Linda and Bill Day for a day of Raptors in the North Fork Valley. We did this trip 2 years ago and saw an incredible number of raptors. This is a trip where you may see every raptor that winters in Colorado. It’s one of the trips I’ve never forgotten. This trip will be a little earlier than the last but worth taking a chance. We are asking a contribution of $5.00 a person as a contribution to Black Canyon Audubon. We’ll meet at the Carbondale CMC parking lot at 8AM and car pool. Please be prepared to car pool. You must register with Linda, birder2008@yahoo.com or 970-704-9950. Last trip we had lunch in the afternoon at a local restaurant or you may bring your lunch.


Migrant Waterfowl at Spring Creek

Date: Sunday, December 11th 2016
Location: Spring Valley
Meeting Location: Please contact Linda for more information. 
Trip Leader: Linda Vidal
Registration: Limit 10. Please call Linda 970-704-9950 or birder2008@yahoo.com
Description: How about a day at Spring Park! There should be lots of migrant waterfowl on the reservoir. It is a chance to see lots of different birds. This trip will be half day with hopefully good weather. Spring Park isn’t in the Christmas Count circle but has lots to offer. Reservoir should still be open water.  Dress for cold weather and bring whatever you may need.