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WINGS Birding Tours – Photo Gallery

Colorado: Lekking Grouse

The Colorado Rockies surely provide some of the best landscapes in the country. We’ll start out around Denver, where reservoirs may hold Cackling Geese… Then we will start our ascent into the foothills… …where Mountain Bluebirds stand like sentries… …and charismatic American Dippers ply the creeksides. From our lofty, and often snowy perch we’ll scan for White-tailed Ptarmigan… …before arriving in the beautiful North Park… …where amid the sweeping vistas… …we’ll find displaying Greater Sage-Grouse. Feeders nearby often old rosy-finches (here a Brown-capped)… …and vivid Pine Grosbeaks. Mammals such as Pronghorn… …and Gunnison Prairie-Dogs can be common here as well. Driving through Rabbit Ears pass we may encounter American Three-toed Woodpecker… …or perhaps an inquisitive Gray Jay… …or even (rarely) Bohemian Waxwing. In western Colorado we’ll be in open sage brush…                     …where Golden Eagles are surprisingly common… …and Pinyon Jays can appear as if by magic anywhere along our drive. In Gunnison we’ll view Gunnison Sage-Grouse from an established blind… …with an arresting view of the lek area. Around the Black Canyon of the Gunnison… …we might find a Dusky Grouse… …and Big Horn Sheep can be plentiful along the roads. As we descend towards the plains… …we’ll say goodbye to Yellow-bellied Marmots… …and North American Porcupines. Out in the prairies it will seem like a different world… …where fields can harbor Mountain Plover… …Scaled Quail… …and cactus brush can serve as a home for Curve-billed Thrashers. Small wooded areas act as great migrant traps… …for passerines and also for raptors like this Long-eared Owl. Our last stop will be the fantastic Greater Prairie-Chicken lek near Wray… …where we’ll have several hours to watch these active and comical birds displaying.