Welcome to Birdquest
Thursday 4th April - Tuesday 16th April 2013
Our 2013 ‘Ultimate Grousequest’ to the Rocky Mountains and High Plains of Colorado (and neighbouring Kansas) was another success with our fifth clean sweep in a row of the ‘magnificent seven’: the pure white White-tailed Ptarmigan (we did it again!); the extrovert Greater and Lesser Prairie Chickens; the super-bold Dusky Grouse; foot-stomping Sharp-tailed Grouse and the two big boomers – Gunnison’s and Sage Grouse. This was some achievement (but also a little lucky) in the worst spring weather we have experienced on this tour so far and at the same time we also reached a new Birdquest highest bird species total of 180 (ABA), or, depending on taxonomy, as many as 190 bird taxa. Some outstanding Nearctic birding included: Scaled and Gambel’s Quails; Wild Turkey; Chukar Partridge (OK, the ABA listers forced me to do it!); Snow, Ross’s and Cackling Geese; Wood Duck; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Hooded Merganser; Great Northern Loon; Clark’s Grebe; Ferruginous Hawk; Prairie Falcon; Sandhill Crane; Snowy and Mountain Plovers; Franklin’s, California and Kumlien’s Gulls; Western Screech, Great Horned, Burrowing and Boreal (heard) Owls; Lewis’s (two), Ladder-backed (four) and American Three-toed (three) Woodpeckers; Williamson’s (five) and Red-naped (three) Sapsuckers; Grey, Pinyon and the newly-split Woodhouse’s Scrub Jays; Clark’s Nutcracker; Chihuahuan Raven; Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees; Juniper Titmouse; Rock, Canyon, Marsh and Bewick’s Wrens; Pygmy, Red-breasted and ‘Rocky Mountains’ White-breasted Nuthatches; Sage and Curve-billed Thrashers; the pretty trio of Eastern, Western and Mountain Bluebirds; Townsend’s Solitaire; American Dipper; the four Rosy Finch forms (Hepburn’s, Grey-crowned, Black and Brown-capped); Cassin’s Finch; Pine and Evening Grosbeaks; an early Myrtle Warbler (my first warbler of any species on this tour!); Slaty Fox, Harris’s, Sage, Black-throated and Rufous-crowned Sparrows; six forms of Junco (Slate-coloured, White-winged, Oregon, Cassiar, Pink-sided and Grey-headed) and finally McCown’s Longspur out in the snow on the plains.