This trip is a guaranteed departure, and is a joint tour with our partners at Rockjumper Tours.
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
I returned home Friday evening after spending 10 days with nine other people, covering 2,608 miles in two SUVs (Chevy Suburban and Ford Expedition), seeing ~130 species of birds (including 14 life birds for me) (130 is the total for the trip but I did not see every species), as well as 20 mammals. I survived and now I can proudly say I’m a hardcore birder!
I was by far the least experienced birder on the trip so my learning curve was practically vertical most of the time. Many thanks to Paul and Maureen Kellers Wolter for sharing scopes and for everyone helping me spot and identify birds – Marcy Packer, Glyn Thomas, Bea, Don, Irving. My modest contribution was spotting the great horned owl on a nest.
We went (in the really early and really cold morning) to leks; one in Kansas and the rest in Colorado to see the prairie-chickens and grouse displaying, experiences I won’t soon forget, truly amazing to see. A highlight was seeing a pair of white-tailed ptarmigan on Loveland Pass. In 50 mph wind gusts. Oh yeah, there was a flat tire early on.
It was fun to see everyone’s reaction to Colorado as they enjoyed the beauty of my adopted home state. We had all kinds of Colorado weather – sun, wind, snow, sleet, and more wind. We enjoyed springtime in Delta, Montrose, and Grand Junction then came back to winter in Walden and the drive down to Denver.
Almost forgot -we went to the Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park and the Colorado National Monument (a new place for me). (All these photos are mine and hope to post more from others because theirs are way better.)
C. C., Lakewood, Co
Photo: Greater Sage-Grouse at Coalmont, Colorado by Pam HIgginbotham
High Lonesome BirdTours is an equal opportunity service provider;
High Lonesome Bird Tours is an authorized permittee of the Pawnee National Grassland