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Denver, CO, in mid-late June


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#1 Fragglecat

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Posted 19 April 2012 - 06:06 PM

Hello! I'll be in the Denver/Morrison area a couple days in the latter part of June.
Where are good places for birding nearby, and what kinds of birds should I be on the lookout for?
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#2 ColoTomo

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 07:11 AM

Hi Fragglecat,

Morrison is very close to Red Rocks. Beautiful area, definitely worth a visit,even if you had folks with you not into birds. MAKE sure you go on a weekday, not the weekend. Black-capped Chickadee is practically guaranteed, as is Western Scrub Jay, Black-billed Magpie. Genesee is very close, at that time of year, you'll be sure to get Pygmy nuthatch, probably Williamson's Sapsucker, Western Bluebird, Broad-tailed hummingbird,etc. Mt Evans is not far away, fun to get some mountain species over there. Gray Jay is a must! White-tailed Ptarmigan is a nemesis for me, but they're up there. Wilson's Warblers nest up at 10,000 feet as well, all that can be found at Echo Lake. Lots of species I didn't mention, but if you have any specific questions, let me know! Rudi on here could help you out as well
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#3 meghann

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 02:59 PM

I love Echo Lake and am bummed that last time I went I wasn't into birding yet, and I only took a point and shoot. I have some blurry photos of. . .something.

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#4 Fragglecat

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:06 PM

WOW!! Thank you! I figure I ought to study up on the birds so I'll recognize them in the field, and not have a thousand blurry pictures to attempt ID later.... :lol: This gives me a great heads-up! I'm very grateful :)

PS. ALL of those would be lifers for me!
Life list: 128
Latest lifers (in west Texas): pied-bill grebe, phainopela, pyrruloxia, white-breasted nuthatch, acorn woodpecker :)

#5 ColoTomo

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 03:08 PM

Oh yeah . Steller's jays too. Crossbills and Clark's nutcracker are also good target birds for a Texas birder but there are better places for those two that aren't mentioned, but a little more driving
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#6 Doug Herr

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 04:10 PM

... White-tailed Ptarmigan is a nemesis for me...


The last time I visited Colorado weather kept me from Mt. Evans but I found a flock of White-tailed Ptarmigans (at least 16, hard to count 'em) at Medicine Bow curve in Rocky Mountain National park. From the parking area there's a trail leading east or northeast no more than 1/2 mile; the trail fades out but continue in the same general direction another hundred yards or so gradually downhill. If you fall over a cliff you've gone too far. Watch your step, the ptarmigans may be underfoot.

Posted Image

I used a 280mm lens for this photo. My bad. I should have had my 100mm lens with me.

#7 ColoTomo

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Posted 20 April 2012 - 04:59 PM

Thanks Doug. Awesome photo. Echo lake is about 45 minutes drive from Morrison, but Medicine Bow curve is about 2.5 hours one-way, so I didn't bring it up. There's stuff all over the state I presume would be lifers for fragglecat. But one day if I get time, I'll make the drive up to Medicine Bow myself, would love to have a ptarmigan within 'petting range' :)
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#8 Rudi Nuissl

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Posted 23 April 2012 - 02:17 AM

Missed this thread originally (thanks to Tom aka ColoTomo for pinging me on this).

I agree that stopping by the feeders behind the Trading Post at Red Rocks is a must. However, as Tom mentioned, make sure it's somewhere around mid-week. In the Summer, there are concerts at the amphiteater on the weeknds and the place can be kind of a zoo. The lighting is best in the morning for photography. In summer, I have seen Broad-Tailed hummingbirds, many sparrow species, Western Scrub-Jay, Black-Capped Chickadees, Spotted Towhees.

There were American Dippers in the river that runs through Morrison Park on the west side of Morrison in February. I hear they are pretty regular there.

Heading up I-70 a bit, my next stop would be Genesee. I have seen Williamson's Sapsuckers, Mountain Chickadees, Western Bluebirds, White-Breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, Hairy Woodpeckers, Pine Siskins and the ever-present Yellow-Rumped Warbler. You might also be able to find some of our Foothills Flycatchers - a few of the Empid species hang out there, though I haven't had much luck finding them.

Further West, south of Idaho Springs, You should head up Mount Evans. Up past Echo Lake, (funny, I haven't birded much around Echo Lake -an oversight I need to rectify) I have seen White-Tailed Ptarmigan near the Mount Goliath Natural Area just around treeline on Mount Evans road. There is a rock garden behind the little visitor center there. In the bushes above the garden, I have seen Wilson's Warblers, Orange-Crowned Warblears, Fox Sparrows and Common Ravens. Farther towards the summit of Mount Evans, you will definitely find American Pipit around Summit Lake (~11,600 ft). You will also likely see some of the four-legged creatures such as Marmot, Pika and Mountain Goats as you head up to the summit. Keep an eye out for White-tailed Ptarmigan, particularly along the switchbacks above Summit lake. The summit parking area is about 14,240 feet. Rocky Mountain National Park is great, as Doug mentions. Medicine Bow curve is a SUPER place to get the White-Tailed Ptarmigan (I had a similar experience there, sitting within a few feet of a Ptarmigan). But you should be able to find most of the high-altitude birds on Mount Evans. Again, I recommend heading up as early as possible to beat the crowds.

I hear Bear Creek Lake Regional Park just east of Morrison has some nice birding. And Chatfied State Park, south of Morrison along C-470 is supposed to be another good spot. I have not birded either ... yet!

Rudi Nuissl
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#9 ColoTomo

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 02:26 AM

Thanks for your response Rudi !

Which prompts me to add some additional comments.

I agree that stopping by the feeders behind the Trading Post at Red Rocks is a must. However, as Tom mentioned, make sure it's somewhere around mid-week. In the Summer, there are concerts at the amphiteater on the weeknds and the place can be kind of a zoo. The lighting is best in the morning for photography. In summer, I have seen Broad-Tailed hummingbirds, many sparrow species, Western Scrub-Jay, Black-Capped Chickadees, Spotted Towhees.


The OP fragglecat says she's coming in late June. In my experience the Trading Post feeders are overgrown with underbrush by that time of year, and seed not put out consistently, so birding the feeders is better in the winter and spring -- but worth a look anytime. Overall, the trails should be walked and definitely all of those species you mentioned, will be found. Have you found Townsend's Solitaire that time of year at Red Rocks? I see tons in the winter... but supposedly they are year-round there

Heading up I-70 a bit, my next stop would be Genesee. I have seen Williamson's Sapsuckers, Mountain Chickadees, Western Bluebirds, White-Breasted and Pygmy Nuthatches, Hairy Woodpeckers, Pine Siskins and the ever-present Yellow-Rumped Warbler. You might also be able to find some of our Foothills Flycatchers - a few of the Empid species hang out there, though I haven't had much luck finding them.

I actually got Cordilleran Flycatcher at Genesee, and I hear those are better to get at the group picnic areas rather than at the top of the hill. My recommendation is to study the call for 100% positive i.d.

I hear Bear Creek Lake Regional Park just east of Morrison has some nice birding.

But I hear it has a $10/day entrance fee...

And Chatfied State Park, south of Morrison along C-470 is supposed to be another good spot.

Yeah, I think of Chatfield as the "Cherry Creek of the West Side" :) And for the OP, it's close to Morrison. If you were to have to choose between Bear Creek Park or Chatfield, I'd pick Chatfield- probably better birding and only $7 daily entrance fee. But Bear Creek does get good birds, I know Harris' Sparrow and Golden-crowned Sparrow show up during migration there. But Chatfield had the first state record of a Western Gull !! I almost always get Say's Phoebe at Chatfield, among other things, especially at that time of year.
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#10 Rudi Nuissl

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 06:21 PM

The OP fragglecat says she's coming in late June. In my experience the Trading Post feeders are overgrown with underbrush by that time of year, and seed not put out consistently, so birding the feeders is better in the winter and spring -- but worth a look anytime. Overall, the trails should be walked and definitely all of those species you mentioned, will be found. Have you found Townsend's Solitaire that time of year at Red Rocks? I see tons in the winter... but supposedly they are year-round there.


The only Townsend's Solitaires I have seen there have been in the winter. Last time I was there in the summer was early June last year, I believe. I saw the Broad-Tailed Hummingbirds, Lazuli Bunting and Lesser Goldfinches. But definitely walk the trails and check out the rock faces (and the air around them) for Violet-Green Swallows and White-Throated Swifts. Peregrine Falcons and Prairie Falcons nest in the park and may be hanging around.

I actually got Cordilleran Flycatcher at Genesee, and I hear those are better to get at the group picnic areas rather than at the top of the hill. My recommendation is to study the call for 100% positive i.d.


I technically did get a shot of one of the Flycatchers. However, as I was taking a picture of something completely different at the time (I think it was my first Colorado Western Bluebird), and I never saw the flycatcher until I looked at the photos on the computer (and it was out of focus), I can't count it. I need to study the calls too.

Yeah, I think of Chatfield as the "Cherry Creek of the West Side" :) And for the OP, it's close to Morrison. If you were to have to choose between Bear Creek Park or Chatfield, I'd pick Chatfield- probably better birding and only $7 daily entrance fee.


For some reason, I have not been to Chatfield. Another oversight I will need to rectify. Hopefully it's quieter than Cherry Creek - the firing at the gun range gives me a headache pretty quick when I go to Cherry Creek. Still, it's a great place to bird.

Rudi Nuissl
Broomfield, Colorado

Life List: 356

Latest Lifers: Sooty Tern, Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Noddy, Palm Warbler, Masked Booby

 

Colorado List: 219

Latest Colorado:  Least Flycatcher, Common Yellowthroat, Yellow-Throated Vireo, American Redstart

 

See my bird photos on Ipernity.


#11 Fragglecat

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 07:48 PM

Thank you for such thorough information! Now I could not be more excited about this trip to Denver! :)
Life list: 128
Latest lifers (in west Texas): pied-bill grebe, phainopela, pyrruloxia, white-breasted nuthatch, acorn woodpecker :)

#12 Fragglecat

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Posted 24 April 2012 - 08:38 PM

Oh yeah . Steller's jays too. Crossbills and Clark's nutcracker are also good target birds for a Texas birder but there are better places for those two that aren't mentioned, but a little more driving


ColoTomo, which park are you speaking of for these birds?

So far I definitely plan to go to Red Rocks, and would love to get to Genesee. I'm also hoping to hike Mt. Evans, but probably from the Summit Lake side. I also have the option to stay in Lafayette for part of the time so could swing a park in that area as well.
Life list: 128
Latest lifers (in west Texas): pied-bill grebe, phainopela, pyrruloxia, white-breasted nuthatch, acorn woodpecker :)

#13 ColoTomo

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Posted 26 April 2012 - 03:11 AM

You should get Steller's Jay at Genesse or more certainly at Mt Evans, trails around Echo Lake. Possibly Clark's nutcracker or Pine Grosbeak, but I haven't been lucky enough to get those there. You could go to a place like Continental Divide and have good shots at most of the mountain species. I've gotten quite a few in Silverthorne and St Mary's (outside of Idaho Springs) . But to be honest, I have more experience with winter birding in some of these places. When it's very cold and snowy outside, the birds do cool things- watching a flock of 75+ Evening Grosbeak was awesome.! Even had a Black-capped Chickadee take a blak oil sunflowerseed from my hand even though there was plenty on the ground nearby

Here's another link you may find helpful:http://coloradocount...lties/index.php
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#14 Fragglecat

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Posted 01 May 2012 - 06:04 PM

Thank you again, ColoTomo! We probably won't get all the way out to Continental Divide. Your winter birding experiences sound amazing! And that link is helpful indeed--I'll print out some checklists there. :)
Life list: 128
Latest lifers (in west Texas): pied-bill grebe, phainopela, pyrruloxia, white-breasted nuthatch, acorn woodpecker :)




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