Colorado 2022: Prairie Chickens, Grouse & More

Prairie Chickens, Grouse & More

April 01 – 11, 2022

Tour Length: 11 days
Est. Spaces Left: 0

Join us for this road trip through Colorado from the eastern prairies to the high Rockies searching for Prairie Chickens, Sage Grouse, Ptarmigan and others.

Tour Leaders

Stephan Lorenz
Claudia Cavazos

 

Focus

Birds, Photography

Price

Double Accommodation: $3,575/person
Single Supplement: + $575
Deposit: $500

Max Group Size

14 (2 leaders)

Pace

Easy ; many early mornings and long drives

Future Departures

April 01, 2023

Tour Descriptions

Our trip to stunning Denali National Park and the Denali Highway is as much about large mammals, including some of the great predators, as birds. We expect to see bird species like Trumpeter Swan, Willow Ptarmigan, Gyrfalcon, Long-tailed Jaeger, Northern Hawk Owl and Smith’s Longspur. We will also, however, most certainly see a number of Grizzly Bears as well as Caribou, Dall Sheep, Moose and, if we get lucky, a Wolf.

We will see magnificent Mount McKinley or Denali (The Great One) and spend two nights just outside the Park, taking the park shuttle 60 miles and getting off at some places if we wish to spend more time looking for birds. We’ll also spend a couple of days on the little-traveled Denali Highway, staying in comfortable cabins on a creek in the Tangle Lakes region.

Colorado is the best place in the country for finding all the species of Prairie-chicken and many if the Grouse. Its varied topography, ranging from prairie grasslands through high plains to subalpine forests and alpine tundra, supports as many as 500 species of birds; its geographical location astride the Continental Divide provides a mix of eastern, western, northern, and southwestern species not easily found together anywhere else.

Our trip will take us from the eastern prairies of Colorado into the high Rocky Mountains, covering about 2000 miles in searching for our target species. In order to see many of these species at their leks at dawn, we’ll need to be up and out by 4:00 or 4:30 AM. We expect to find Greater and Lesser Prairie-Chicken; Greater and Gunnison’s Sage-Grouse; Sharp-tailed and Dusky Grouse and, possibly, White-tailed Ptarmigan. Other species of interest include Mountain Plover; Three-toed Woodpecker and Williamson’s Sapsucker; Rough-legged Hawk; Black, Brown-capped, and Gray-crowned Rosy-Finch; McCown’s and Chestnut-Collared Longspur, and many others.

Locations

Gallery

More Details

Trip Highlights

Top Birds

Great & Lesser Prairie Chicken; Greater & Gunnison Sage-Grouse; Dusky Grouse, White-tailed Ptarmigan; Chukar; Rough-legged Hawk; American Dipper; Lewis’s Woodpecker; Three-toed Woodpecker; Junpier Titmouse; Pinyon Jay; Black, Gray-crowned, Brown-capped Rosy-Finch; Pine Grosbeak; Mountain Chickadee.

Top Mammals

Big Horned Sheep, Pronghorn, Coyote, Black Bear

Other Attractions

Wonderful scenery, mountain views, prairie dog colonies.

Extensions

  • Texas 2022: Spring Migration & Hill Country

Planning for the Trip

Meeting Location

Denver International Airport @ Noon; will meet at arrivals exit in Jeppesen Terminal (main concourse)

Accommodations

Very comfortable hotels; some fine Colorado restaurants.

Included

From Denver, includes nine nights lodging, all
meals, transportation, entry fees, guides, taxes,
tips.

Excluded

Alcohol, phone calls, laundry, other personal expenses.

Habitats Covered

Short-grass and long-grass prairie, foothills, mountains, montaine forest

Expected Climate

In the early spring, we can encounter very wintry weather including snow. Temperatures can be in the 20’s early in the morning at some of the leks. Please make sure to bring layers! It can also be quite warm (60 degrees or more) in some areas of Colorado.

Suggested Clothing and Gear

Credit cards / cash
Binoculars
Scope and tripod (optional)
Sunglasses and sunscreen
Extra eyeglasses or contact lenses
Small umbrella
Small day pack / fanny pack
Small flashlight
Mosquito/insect repellant (DEET 25% or greater)
Itch relief cream
Lip screen/balm
Prescription drugs – carry in original packaging to avoid customs problems
OTC medicines (antibiotics, cold/sinus, cough drops, eye drops, analgesic (Motrin, aspirin), anti-diarrheal)
Toiletries
Hair Dryer
Small alarm clock
Cleaning fluids/cloths/drying cloths
Field guides
Note pads/pens (we provide trip checklists)
Lightweight shoes/sneakers/sandals
Hat with brim/visor
Rain jacket/wind breaker
Shorts
T-shirts
Swimsuit
Medium-weight long pants
Medium-weight long-sleeved shirts
Warm hat with visor
Waterproof winter jacket (Gore-tex or equivalent)
Warm winter jacket
Warm, waterproof gloves (and backup pair)
Glove liners
Long sleeve shirts (various weights)
Long Underwear (capilene or polypropylene)
Wool socks (various weights) and liners.

Recommended Reading

  • National Geographic Field Guide to The Birds of North America (7th Edition) Jon Dunn, et. al. 2017, National Geographic Society
  • A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors Brian Wheeler & William Clark
  • The Sibley Guide to Birds David A. Sibley (2000), Knopf