Colorado 2017: Prairie Chickens, Grouse & More II

Greater Sage-Grouse by Pam Higgonbotham
April 06 - 15, 2017
Tour Length: 10 days Est. Spaces Left:
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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. Note: Due to high demand and the possibility that a couple of the leks may be closed in the near future, we are offering two trips this year. The itineraries will operate in reverse order.

Photo: Greater Sage-Grouse at Coalmont, Colorado  by Pam HIgginbotham


No Tour Extensions Listed.
Future Departures:
April 05, 2018
Tour Leaders:
Max # Birders:
10 (+2 leaders)
Birds; Photography;
Easy ; many early mornings and long drives
Double Accommodation:
$ 2975
[per person]
Single Supplement:
+ $ 475
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[per person]

Colorado is the best place in the country for finding all the species of Prairie-chicken and 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.

Comments from travelers:

I thought our trip was a great success and thoroughly enjoyable. What a wonderful window on Colorado! Forrest, I’ve considered signing up for this trip ever since you first told me about it and I’m so glad I finally did so. I’ve enjoyed every one of my trips with High Lonesome and this one, my fifth, was no exception. Thank you for putting on a second trip! Stephan, your almost instant provision of an incredibly comprehensive trip report was remarkable! You are an outstanding guide and I look forward to joining you on a trip again sometime.  RW, Calgary

Once again, that was a fantastic trip – terrific guides, good food, & amazing birds – all anticipated.  Amazing looks at Colorado’s countryside and a wonderful group of travel companions – a bonus!  E & D Bar Harbor, Maine

Thanks so much for your incredibly comprehensive report. It was one of my more memorable birding experiences and the planets were most definitely aligned for us, particularly in light of the big storm that concluded our visit. Had the storm occurred days earlier, I don’t even want to ponder how negatively it would have impacted our tour.  F. C. Edmonds, Washington

High Lonesome BirdTours is an equal opportunity service provider;

High Lonesome Bird Tours is an authorized permittee of the Pawnee National Grassland


  • Download Itinerary
  • Meeting Location

    Denver International Airport @ 4:00 PM; will meet at arrivals exit in Jeppesen Terminal (main concourse)


    Very comfortable hotels; some fine Colorado restaurants.


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


    Alcohol, phone calls, laundry,
    other personal expenses.

  • 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

    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.

  • Other Attractions
    Wonderful scenery, mountain views, prairie dog colonies.
    Suggested Clothing & 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
    • The Sibley Guide to Birds

      David A. Sibley (2000)
    • Field Guide to the Birds of North America, 6th Edition

      Jon Dunn, et al. (2011)
      National Geographic Society
    • A Photographic Guide to North American Raptors

      Brian Wheeler & William Clark
    • A Guide to the Identification and Natural History of the Sparrow of the United States & Canada

      James Rising & David Beadle
    • Birds of North America

      Ken Kaufman



  • Lesser Prairie Chicken Holly, Colorado Photo: F. DAvis
  • Greater Prairie Chicken Wray, Colorado Photo: F. Davis
  • Gunnison Sage-Grouse by BLM
  • Pair of White-tailed Ptarmigan (can you see them?) by Forrest Davis
  • Lewis's Woodpecker Buena Vista, Colorado Photo: F. Davis
  • Mountain Plover at Blue Adobe Reservoir Photo: F. Davis
  • Greater Sage-Grouse lek in Coalmont, Colorado by Pam Higginbotham
  • McCown's Longspur Pawnee Grasslands, Colorado by F. Davis
  • Cassin's Finch by Chris Dominick
  • Swainson's Hawks by Carl Sheely
  • Rough-legged Hawk by Carl Sheely
  • Sharp-tailed Grouse by Pam HIgginbotham
  • Pine Grosbeak by Pam HIgginbotham

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