2014 Past Field Trips

Leader – Dick Filby
This trip offers one of the best opportunities to see Brown-capped and Gray-crowned Rosy Finches, as well as, later in the season, the Black Rosy Finch. Very little effort needed! The tour is free, but a lift ticket is required – either ski pass or passenger ticket.



SATURDAY, MARCH 15TH – Hart’s Basin/Fruit growers
This is a guaranteed time for all kinds of migrating waterfowl, shore birds and early migrating passerines, and one of the best places and favorite places to see Sandhill Cranes. This will be an all day field trip and will depend on good weather. We’ll bird other locations in the area as well. Bring lunch and anything else you may need.

This is an amazing opportunity to visit a Greater Sage Grouse lek on a private ranch in northern Colorado. The trip is organized by Conservation Colorado for Roaring Fork Audubon. The trip is limited to 14 people and reservations are a must. Cost is $50 per person, which covers the cost of the guided field trip to the lek. Hotel and meals are extra.



SATURDAY, APRIL 26TH – Dominguez Canyon Wilderness Hike
In this upper-Sonoran ecosystem we’ll hike along Dominguez Creek, flanked by dramatic red-rock canyons and mesas. Here we’ll find riparian songbirds, raptors, and ancient petroglyphs. This is an all day hike, so bring lunch, plenty of water, dress in layers and be prepared for all weather.

We will meet in Redstone at 7:00 a.m. and carpool to the Canyon (halfway between Delta and Grand Junction). You MUST register with the trip leader, Delia Malone at 970 963-2143 or deliamalone@earthlink.net


FRI, SAT, SUN, MAY, 9, 10, 11 –Pawnee Grasslands
We haven’t led a trip to the grasslands before, but it is one of the best and most famous places in Colorado to bird. The Pawnee Grasslands were created during the dust-bowl era of the 1930’s when the federal government bought the land of farmers who went bankrupt. The “official” checklist of the grasslands has over 200 birds. This will be a weekend trip. We will overnight in Sterling, Colorado at the Comfort Inn for two nights. Rates are a bit high but shouldn’t be too bad if you plan to share, or you can camp at the Crow Valley Park and Campground. Reservations should be made early and are your responsibility. Some birds that we’ll likely see are: Common Nighthawk, Lark Sparrow, Northern Harriers, and Swainson and Ferruginous Hawks, Burrowing Owls, Mountain Plover, Lapland and McCown’s Longspur.

SATURDAY, MAY 17TH – Eagle Area

We will start by birding the ponds at Dotsero, the adjacent Colorado River, and then check out Bald Eagle and Osprey nests. The cottonwoods and willow/brush offer up other birds as well. We then proceed to the Gypsum campground, which can be a warbler trap, with lots of cottonwoods and tons of cover. Catbirds, orioles, Lazuli Buntings, and warblers have all been seen there. From there we go to the Gypsum ponds and on to Eagle and walk toward the river for lunch and more birding; possibly visiting a private residence with hummingbird feeders and gobs of hummers.

SATURDAY, MAY 24TH – Spring Bird Count!! by Linda Vidal
I was joined by 4 others to conduct the 2014 spring count. We spent about 3 hours birding The Ranch at Roaring Fork. We saw or heard all the usual birds at the ranch, plus a rare find, an American Redstart. We had incredible views of the bird; it’s always fun to see unexpected birds. We then continued to other birding areas at regular stops all north of Highway 82. We birded until about 6:30 pm and saw a grand total of 94 birds. This is an all-time high bird count this count and I believe will be many years before this “record” is broken.  A great day!

SATURDAY, MAY 31ST – Down Valley Riparian Extravaganza by Kendall Henry
On a sunny, but chilly 47 degree morning, 8 of us left from No Name Exit off I-70 to bird along the roaring Colorado River.  The group birded areas around Glenwood Springs including private homes with several bird feeders.  Afternoon was warm; a light rain fell as we walked through Linwood Cemetery.  The highlights were the Western Tanagers at my house on Midland Avenue.


SATURDAY, JUNE, 14TH – Carbondale’s Backyard Birds/Thompson Creek by Mary Harris

We had a great day above Carbondale, appreciating all the different species that live so close to town, yet rely on good in-tact habitat. We saw 33 different species, with 7 of them on nests, and heard a few extra that didn’t want to show themselves.

Some highlights for us were:

  • A male Warbling Vireo incubating and singing from the nest,
  • A dazzling Lazuli Bunting that posed for us,
  • A Broad-tailed Hummingbird perched close-by and showed off his iridescent gorget in the sunlight
  • And the always-enchanting song of the Brewer’s Sparrow!

Aren’t we lucky?!!

TUESDAY, JUNE 17TH – Express Creek by Liz Bokram
Crystal clear blue skies made our day while birding up Express Creek to snow line at over 11,000 ft.  We saw lots of birds although a bit of wind kept them flying from deep inside one tree to another.  All did get good looks at Pine Grosbeak and a Red Crossbill.  The bird of the day had to be Wilson’s Warbler as they flew by, sat and sang for all of us.

blazing adventures logoSpecial thanks to Blazing Adventures for providing transportation. 

SATURDAY, JUNE 21ST – Frying Pan River by Mary Harris
We had an amazing and diverse group of nature lovers, from a very beginning first timer, (who is now officially hooked), to a visiting professional bird guide.  The great thing is that everyone found birds for the group and we had outstanding views of many, including 8 nesting species out of the 40 total species!

Highlights would be – The crazy ride up to the Box Canyon overlook and then standing on the deck on the edge of the deep canyon, watching possibly the valley’s largest White-throated Swift colony, sorting out the swifts from the Violet-green Swallows as both zoomed below and over our heads!  At the river, standing in one place at one of the pullouts, we spotted nesting Red-napped Sapsucker, Violet-green Swallows, Mountain Bluebirds, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, and American Robin feeding babies.  In another spot, we had a great look in the scope at a male Warbling Vireo singing from the nest.  Another great day!


SATURDAY, JUNE 28TH – Flattops by Tom McConnell

Kay and I took an awesome group of eleven birders into the Flattops for a day of birding.  Along the Coffeepot Road to Heart Lake we found most of the expected species.  In the spruce/fir were Pine Grosbeaks, Ruby-crowned Kinglets, Mountain Chickadees, Cassin’s Finches, Audubon’s Warblers, and only one Gray Jay.  We had an Osprey fishing near Heart Lake.  This was probably one of the Ospreys that are nesting at Dotsero.  At Bison Lake were four Barrow’s Goldeneyes, all males.  It appeared that the females were tending to young while the boys were having “Drakes day out”.  At three locations we found singing Fox Sparrows, not in the expected willow carrs but in meadows around the alpine lakes.  The wet meadows had only short scattered willows so the birds sang from the tops of nearby conifers, all Subalpine Fir and Engelmann Spruce at 10,600’.  I have never seen Fox Sparrows in this odd habitat.  The day was cloudy, cool, and a bit blustery, really not a bad change from the hot weather in town.  We tallied 46 species while wandering around in the Flattops.


FRIDAY, JULY 11TH – Night Birds above Lake Christine
Enjoy the progression of the afternoon turning to dusk and dark in the sage, pinyon, and juniper above Basalt. In the afternoon, we will try to catch a few of our more elusive birds feeding young while we wait for dusk that brings out the Common Nighthawks, then darkness that will allow us to hear and perhaps see with flashlight our smallest nightjar – the Common Poorwill – one of the few birds known to “hibernate” into deep torpor during the winter.

We will meet at the parking area for Lake Christine at 5:00 p.m. Trip should end around 9:30 p.m. Bring a box-dinner and lawn chairs to enjoy around 7:30 while waiting for the nighthawks. Call Mary at 970 510-5544 to reserve.

TUES, WED, JULY 15TH, 16TH – Black Swifts in Ouray by Mary Harris
After birding our way to Ouray, we had a great night at Amphitheater Campground surrounded by baby birds everywhere and an adult Hermit Thrush visiting our campsite. The next morning, on to the Box Canyon for the Black Swifts!  Sue Hirshman, a totally charming wealth of knowledge, guided us through the “caves” to see the nesting swifts. Both she and the swifts are amazing! Impossible to expound too much in this recap, but anyone interested should read about and visit them. We all left with a newfound respect for Sue’s unending dedication and hope for the swift’s future. Some of us even saw a newly hatched swift being fed and we all saw the cutest Cordilleran Flycatcher family being fed by very busy parents – right on the cave wall.

Birds, flowers, great people, and remarkable scenery – no one could ask for more!!


SATURDAY, JULY 26TH – Yule Creek
We’ll begin early in the morning with a steep climb up into the Yule Creek basin through spruce-fir forests, where we’ll likely encounter Ruby and Golden-crowned Kinglets and Hermit Thrush. When we drop into the basin we’ll be surrounded by vast willow cars, where we’ll certainly find an abundance of riparian bird species, including Lincoln, Song, and Fox sparrows, as well as Wilson’s Warblers. As we climb higher we encounter small patches of spruce-fir forests in a habitat mosaic with wet meadows and fens with typical high-elevation species including Brown-capped Rosy Finch. Be prepared for a strenuous hike that will take the entire day but traverses one of the most scenic, high-elevation valleys in Colorado – well worth the tired legs!
Call Delia Malone at 970 963-2143 to reserve your place.


Roaring Fork Audubon and Janis Huggins (author of Wild at Heart), will lead a group of nature lovers into the wilderness to appreciate the importance and foresight of this important legislation. Easy walk from Maroon Lake.
To join us call Mary at 970 510-5544
Stay tuned for more information on a BBQ at Highlands Ski Area base in the afternoon.