Steller’s Jay. Photo © 123rf.com
Jason St. Pierre, Biologist
6:00 am; $40
Trail Canyon, an isolated oasis in Montezuma County, comprises privately owned, historic homesteader ranches now protected with an easement held by the Montezuma Land Conservancy. Located north of McElmo Creek, the dramatic geography includes sheer canyon walls and a beautiful waterfall. The riparian, juniper, cottonwood and sage prairie habitats lie within a migratory path and provide for a variety of flycatchers, several species of warblers (Yellow, Wilson’s, Orange-crowned, Yellow-breasted Chat & maybe MacGillivray’s), Lazuli & Indigo buntings, Blue Grosbeak, Downy Woodpecker, Red-tailed Hawk and the occasional Golden Eagle. (41 species, 2016) Moderate with a hike of up to three miles round trip. Lunch provided.
Fred Blackburn, Naturalist-historian
6:15 am; $45
This tour proceeds along the Dolores Highway corridor and offers an outstanding opportunity to bird a variety of habitats and elevations. Depending on weather and access, the tour stops in Dolores to observe the upper portion of McPhee Reservoir, sewage ponds known to attract various ducks, shorebirds, gulls and terns and explore the Dolores River flowing through town. Following the river northward, potential stops include a park and wildlife area, Bear Creek and Priest Gulch trailheads and ultimately Lizard Head Pass at over 10,000′ elevation. All of these stops, at increasing elevations and with water nearby, have the potential to provide diverse species. On the other side of the pass are Trout Lake and nearby marshy areas where moose were spotted in the fall of 2015. Some choice birding in the higher elevations might include Spruce Grouse, White-tailed Ptarmigan, Three-toed Woodpecker, Pine Grosbeak and crossbills. (41 species, 2016) Easy. Lunch provided.
John Bregar, Oil & Gas Geologist/Geophysicist, Retired
6:30 am; $40
Spend the day with an expert birder from the area, in a more open-ended way than pre-determined tours. This tour is a unique opportunity for the leader and participants to chase down personal target birds, rarities seen on previous days of the festival, or simply visit birding hotspots and multiple habitats of SW Colorado. This “ad hawk” tour has the potential to produce a high species count. A good chance to cherry-pick some of the best birds of the festival, as well as offering the flexibility to find new surprises. Lunch provided.
Black Backed Gull. Photo © Tim Reeves
Martin Cuntz, Youth Birding Ambassador
6:45 am; $25 – no registration fee required
Calling all Millennial birding enthusiasts! Enjoy a morning trip to Summit Reservoir with teen bird leader, Martin Cuntz. This 526-acre State Wildlife Area is nine miles northwest of Mancos on Hwy 184. Ponderosa Pines cover the north end of the property, with some willows on the banks, and stunning La Plata Mountains and Mesa Verde landscape views. At an elevation between 7,307-7,448′, the area includes diverse habitats and species to explore and observe. Sightings might include Wild Turkey, Double-crested Cormorant, Stellar’s, Woodhouse’s & Pinyon jays, Black-throated Gray, Grace’s, Virginia & Orange-crowned warblers, flycatchers, raptors and more. We are the future — Without us, birding will no longer be a tradition… Let’s do this! Restroom on site. Easy road and trail hiking. Lunch provided.
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