Welcome to Birdquest

COLORADO

Wednesday 1st April - Monday 13th April 2015

Mike Watson

Greater Sage Grouse (Mike Watson)

Greater Sage Grouse (Mike Watson)

Our 2015 ‘Ultimate Grousequest’ to the Rocky Mountains and High Plains of Colorado (plus a footstep into each of neighbouring Kansas and Utah) marked our sixth clean sweep in a row of the ‘magnificent seven’: White-tailed Ptarmigan (I haven’t missed it yet!); Greater and Lesser Prairie Chickens; Dusky Grouse; Sharp-tailed Grouse and Gunnison’s and Sage Grouse. We experienced some unusually warm spring weather this time, which helped us around the circuit, although that also meant many winter visitors had already moved on. However, Colorado is not just about chickens and our tally included plenty of other sought-after Nearctic birds including: Scaled and Gambel’s Quails; Wild Turkey; Chukar Partridge (an involuntary fluke this time, honest!); Snow Goose; Wood Duck; Barrow’s Goldeneye; Clark’s Grebe; Ferruginous Hawk; Rough-legged Buzzard (or Hawk); Prairie Falcon; Sandhill Crane; Snowy and Mountain Plovers; Bonaparte’s, Franklin’s and California Gulls; Great Horned and Burrowing Owls; two each of Lewis’s and American Three-toed Woodpeckers; Williamson’s and Red-naped 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; Myrtle Warbler; Harris’s (two), Sage, Black-throated and Rufous-crowned Sparrows; Oregon, Pink-sided and Grey-headed Juncos and finally both Chestnut-collared and McCown’s Longspurs on the prairie. Three ‘write-ins’ for this tour included: Red-bellied Woodpecker, Audubon’s Warbler and (at last!) Golden-crowned Sparrow. Colorado is also great for mammals and our trip list was a very respectable 31 species. Amongst the highlights, Bobcat and Sagebrush Vole were new for us on this itinerary. Our 2015 road trip clocked up more than 3000 miles in less than two weeks through some of the most spectacular scenery on the continent. We always love Colorado in spring!

White-tailed Ptarmigan (Mike Watson)

White-tailed Ptarmigan (Mike Watson)