Program and Agenda

Organized/Off site Trips

Provide your own transportation.

Arrangements for any of these trips originating outside of the YMCA of the Rockies must be made directly with the trip organizers. The organizer for each trip is listed at the bottom of each of the trip’s write-ups. Organized, off-site Field trip attendees will also be responsible for your own transportation to and from the below field trips. For additional information please also contact the organizer of the trip you are interested in participating.

Pre- and Post-Meeting Birding Opportunities
at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch

Trip 1 – Pre -Meeting, Tuesday, 23 September 2014
8:00am: Meet at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. Welcome and introduction by David Armstrong, Resident Naturalist: “The Foothills of the Southern Rockies, Hinge-point of North America”
9:00-11:00am: Natural History of the Foothills: interpretive hike focused on birds and general ecology of the “hinge-point of North America.” Led by Dr. Ron Harden (renowned local birder) and Dr. David Armstrong (retired CU-Boulder ecology/evolution professor, co-author of Mammals of Colorado).

Trip 2 – Post -Meeting, Sunday, 28 September 2014
7:00am: Meet at Sylvan Dale Guest Ranch. Welcome and introduction by David Armstrong, Resident Naturalist
8:00-11:00am: Natural History of the Foothills of the Front Range: interpretive hike focused on birds and general ecology of the “hinge-point of North America.” Led by Dr. Ron Harden (renowned local birder) and Dr. David Armstrong (Sylvan Dale’s resident naturalist, retired CU-Boulder ecology/evolution professor, co-author of Mammals of Colorado).

Lodging and meals may be available at Sylvan Dale – please contact us for pricing and availability. Accommodations are also available in Loveland, just 6 mi E of the Ranch; Estes Park is about 30 minutes W of the Ranch. A $10 fee will be charged per person for folks interested in the talks and hikes on the 23rd or 28th.

Questions about these opportunities?
Contact: Laura Armstrong, Heart J Center for Experiential Learning at Sylvan Dale Ranch Email: laura@heartjcenter.org,Web: www.heartjcenter.org

Chico Basin Ranch

Monday, September 29, 2014
Start and end times: 7:30am to 3:00pm
Cost : $10 entrance fee.
This trip is sponsored by the Colorado Field Ornithologists.

Trip Leaders: John Drummond, Bill Maynard.

Trip description: Round trip of 70 miles from Colorado Springs or 200 miles from Denver. Provide your own transport (high clearance vehicle recommended ).

Chico Basin Ranch is a 87,000 acre working cattle ranch owned by the Colorado State Land Board and managed by Duke Phillips and his family in an environmentally sustainable way. The ranch is predominantly shortgrass and sand-sage prairie with many spring-fed lakes, with marshes and adjacent willow and cottonwood riparian areas. The ranch lies in a major flyway for migrant birds and Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory runs a banding station here in spring and fall. On arrival we will visit the banding station and observe their operations. Expect to see many empids, sparrows, warblers, thrushes in the hand and there will be a good chance for a rarity. For instance PHILADELPHIA VIREO, BLACKBURNIAN WARBLER, WINTER WREN, HARRIS’S SPARROW and WOOD THRUSH have occurred at this time in previous years. We will then drive and explore in short walks the prairie, lakes, marshes and riparian areas for some of the remaining breeding species such as SCALED QUAIL, FERRUGINOUS HAWK, CURVE-BILLED THRASHER, LOGGERHEAD SHRIKE, CHIHUAHUAN RAVEN, BURROWING OWL and LADDER-BACKED WOODPECKER. Shorebirds can be impressive too, depending on the water levels.

Depart any time after 1:00 PM, although there will be enough to keep you busy until mid-afternoon.

For a good description of Chico Basin Ranch, its bird list and a trail map, click on this link : www.chicobasinranch.com

Hike Level: Easy.

Recommended gear: water, lunch, clothing in layers, hiking boots.

For more information contact: Joe Roller, Board member, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and Colorado Field Ornithologists: jroller9@gmail.com

Northeast Colorado Reservoirs

Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Start and end times: 7:30 AM to 3:30 PM.
Cost : $10 Habitat Stamp (free for seniors). This trip is sponsored by the Colorado Field Ornithologists.

Trip Leader: Bill Kaempfer

Trip description: Birders on this trip will provide their own vehicles and plan to arrive in Colorado on Monday, September 22, 2014. They arrange for lodging in the town of Sterling, CO, which is about a 2.5 hour drive from Denver International Airport.

Bill Kaempfer of the Colorado Field Ornithologists will meet the group Tuesday morning at 7:30 AM at the Sterling Visitor’s Center. We’ll carpool to hotspots along the South Platte River corridor from just west of Sterling (Prewitt Reservoir) to far northeast Colorado (Tamarack Ranch, Red Lion State Wildlife area, and Jumbo Reservoir). The leader will know which sites are best that week, so we can hit the most promising places for a spectacle of shorebirds, raptors, passerines and residents. This is where east meets west in Colorado so expect to see hybrid Northern Flickers. Perhaps a kettle of Swainson’s Hawk will put on a show. Prairie dog towns can be good for Ferruginous Hawk and Burrowing Owl. We’ll listen for migrating longspurs overhead and look for Spizella sparrows. Chipping, Clay-colored and Brewer’s are likely, along with Lark Sparrows and perhaps lingering Lark Buntings. Sandhill Crane migration will soon be in full force, and we’ll listen for their haunting “garr-oo-oo” flight calls.

The trip will conclude at 3:30 PM in Sterling, from which it is about a 2.5 hour drive to the YMCA of the Rockies, near Estes Park, in time to register for the AOU convention and attend the official welcoming reception.

For good descriptions of the areas we will visit and bird lists, click on these links: http://coloradocountybirding.com/county/bird_a_county.php?name=Logan http://coloradocountybirding.com/county/bird_a_county.php?name=Washington http://coloradocountybirding.com/county/bird_a_county.php?name=Sedgwick

Hike Level: Easy.

Recommended gear: water, lunch, clothing in layers, hiking boots, a spotting scope if you have one.

Food provided: You’re on your own. Bring a bag lunch, snacks, and beverages from stores in Sterling.

For more information contact: Joe Roller, Board member, Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and Colorado Field Ornithologists: jroller9@gmail.com

Quetzal Meeting Tours From Estes Park – 3 Tours Available

Tour 1 - Pre-meeting All-Day Colorado Mountain Tour from Estes Park, Tuesday, September 23, 2014
6 am departure from YMCA of the Rockies, return 5 pm.

Tour 2 - Post-meeting All-Day Colorado Mountain Tour from Estes Park, Sunday, September 28, 2014
6 am departure from YMCA of the Rockies, return 6 pm.

Cost: $120
Transportation: Small van
Meals provided: Bag lunch.

Trip Leader: TBD (Pro birding guide).

Trip Description: Tour departs YMCA of the Rockies in Estes Park, and will visit a variety of trails and public access picnic areas at elevations between 7000 and 11000 feet in the southern part of Rocky Mountain National Park in Boulder County and in the Indian Peaks Wilderness.

Expected species: Golden Eagle, Prairie Falcon, Northern Goshawk, White-tailed Ptarmigan, Red-naped and Williamson’s Sapsucker, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Mountain Chickadee, Pygmy Nuthatch, Black-billed Magpie, Clark’s Nutcracker, Steller’s and Gray Jays, Townsend’s Solitaire, Cassin’s Finch, Pine Grosbeak, Red Crossbill.

Hike Level: Moderate; Some hiking on relatively flat trails at a variety of elevations, including high-elevation tundra.

Recommended gear: Comfortable walking shoes (sneakers) or hiking boots (avoid open-toed footwear and high heels); Extra layers for cool/cold evening temperature. Hat, sunblock, water bottle.

Tips: Optional.

Additional Notes: Tours depart Estes Park YMCA. Return time on Sunday tour may be later (6 or 7 pm).

Registration Information: To register, contact Quetzal Tours at info@quetzal-tours.com.

Tour 3 - Post-meeting All-Day Colorado Prairie Tour from Estes Park, Sunday, September 28, 2014
Start and end time: 6:00 am - 5:00 pm*
Drop-off option: Either Denver Airport hotel district or Estes Park)-2 groups
Cost: $150
Transportation: Small van

Trip Leader: TBD (Pro birding guide).

Trip Description: Tour will visit a variety of prairie habitats including grasslands, Great Plains reservoirs, and riparian woodlands that serve as major migration stopover sites for both land birds and shorebirds. Destinations include Jackson Lake State Park in Morgan County and Pawnee Grasslands in Weld County.

Expected species: White-faced Ibis, American White Pelican, 20 species of shorebirds, Franklin’s and California Gulls, Burrowing Owl, Say’s Phoebe, Black-billed Magpie, Rock Wren, Townsend’s Solitaire, Sage Thrasher, Orange-crowned and MacGillivray’s Warblers, Vesper, Brewer’s, Clay-colored and Lark Sparrows. Possibility to find prairie-breeding species including Mountain Plover, McCown’s Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Lark Bunting, and rare migrants such as Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Sabine’s Gull, Long-tailed Jaeger.

Hike Level: Easy; some walking on flat trails at low elevation (4500 ft.)

Recommended gear: Comfortable walking shoes (sneakers) or hiking boots (avoid open-toed footwear and high heels); Light clothing for extremely hot weather and layers for cooler temperatures. Sunblock, hat; water bottle.

Meals provided: Bag lunch.

Tips: Optional.

Additional Notes: Return time on Sunday tours later (7 pm)

Registration Information: To register, contact Quetzal Tours at info@quetzal-tours.com.

Quetzal Pre- Meeting Tours from Denver – 2 Tours Available

Tour 1 – Pre –Meeting – 3 Day/2 Night Colorado Birding Tour from Denver, Sunday, September 21, 2014
Start and end time: 7:00 am Sunday - 5:00 pm Tuesday
Cost: $600 double occupancy
Min and max number: Min 4, Max 5
Transportation: Small van

Trip Leader: TBD (Pro birding guide)

Tour Itinerary:

  • Sunday, Pickup 7 am DIA Hotel District. Eastern plains migrant traps and grassland birding; John Martin Reservoir shorebirding. Overnight at Pueblo Mountain Park;
  • Monday, am Mountain birding around Rye; pm Pueblo Reservoir State Park. Owling in Wet Mountains. Overnight in Pueblo Mountain Park;
  • Tuesday, am Chico Basin Ranch and banding station; pm Stop for rarities in Denver/Boulder area en route to Estes Park

Trip Description: Tours starts with pickup at Denver International Airport hotel district. Lodging both nights at Horseshoe Lodge, Pueblo Mountain Park in south-central Colorado. Day 1, we visit Eastern plains migrant traps and prairie grasslands; John Martin Reservoir for migrant shorebirds (20 species). Overnight at Pueblo Mountain Park Horseshoe Lodge. Day 2, mountain birding around Rye; Pueblo Reservoir State Park. owling in Wet Mountains. Day 3, morning birding at migrant traps at Chico Basin Ranch; visit to Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory banding station; stops for rarities or target birds in Denver/Boulder area en route to Estes Park. Drop-off at Estes Park lodging in time to attend conference opening reception.

Expected species: White-faced Ibis, American White Pelican, 20 species of shorebirds, Franklin’s and California Gulls, Burrowing and Barn Owls, Prairie Falcon, Ladder-backed, Lewis’ and Acorn Woodpeckers, Say’s Phoebe, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Juniper Titmouse, Mountain Chickadee, Bushtit, Pygmy Nuthatch, Rock and Canyon Wrens, Black-billed Magpie, Clark’s Nutcracker, Western Scrub-Jay, Steller’s and Gray Jays, Sage and Curve-billed Thrasher, Mountain and Western Bluebirds, Townsend’s Solitaire, McCown’s and Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Orange-crowned and MacGillivray’s Warblers, Vesper, Brewer’s, Clay-colored and Lark Sparrows, Green-tailed Towhee, Yellow-headed and Brewer’s Blackbirds.

Hike Level: Moderate; Some hiking on relatively flat trails at a variety of elevations, between 4000 and 9000 feet.

Recommended gear: Comfortable walking shoes (sneakers) or hiking boots (avoid open-toed footwear and high heels; Clothing for extremely hot as well as cold evening temperature. Sunblock, hat, water bottle.

Meals provided: Breakfasts and dinners at Horseshoe Lodge.

Tips: Optional.

Registration Information: To register, contact Quetzal Tours at info@quetzal-tours.com.

Tour 2 – Pre-meeting All-Day Tour from Denver - Colorado Prairie Tour, Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Start and end time: 6:00 am -5:00 pm
Tuesday Sept 23- (pickup Denver International Airport hotel district, drop-off Estes Park lodging)
Cost: $150
Transportation: Small van

Trip Leader: TBD (Pro birding guide).

Trip Description: Tour will visit a variety of prairie habitats including grasslands, Great Plains reservoirs, and riparian woodlands that serve as major migration stopover sites for both land birds and shorebirds. Destinations include Jackson Lake State Park in Morgan County and Pawnee Grasslands in Weld County.

Expected species: White-faced Ibis, American White Pelican, 20 species of shorebirds, Franklin’s and California Gulls, Burrowing Owl, Say’s Phoebe, Black-billed Magpie, Rock Wren, Townsend’s Solitaire, Sage Thrasher, Orange-crowned and MacGillivray’s Warblers, Vesper, Brewer’s, Clay-colored and Lark Sparrows. Possibility to find prairie-breeding species including Mountain Plover, McCown’s Longspur, Chestnut-collared Longspur, Lark Bunting, and rare migrants such as Buff-breasted Sandpiper, Sabine’s Gull, Long-tailed Jaeger.

Hike Level: Easy; some walking on flat trails at low elevation (4500 ft.)

Recommended gear: Comfortable walking shoes (sneakers) or hiking boots (avoid open-toed footwear and high heels); Light clothing for extremely hot weather and layers for cooler temperatures. Sunblock, hat; water bottle.

Meals provided: Bag lunch.

Tips: Optional.

Additional Notes: Return time on Sunday tours later (7 pm)

Registration Information: To register, contact Quetzal Tours at info@quetzal-tours.com.

Quetzal Post- Meeting Tour from Denver

Sunday, September 28, 2014
Start and end time: 6:30 am Sunday - 5:00 pm Tuesday, 6:30 am departure from DIA Hotel district, return 5 pm Tuesday.
Cost: $600 double occupancy
Transportation: Small van

Post-meeting 3 Day/2 Night Colorado Birding Tour from Denver

Tour Itinerary:

  • Sunday, Pickup 7 am DIA Hotel District. Eastern plains migrant traps and grassland birding; John Martin Reservoir shorebirding. Overnight at Pueblo Mountain Park;
  • Monday, am Mountain birding around Rye; pm Pueblo Reservoir State Park. Owling in Wet Mountains. Overnight in Pueblo Mountain Park;
  • Tuesday, am Chico Basin Ranch and banding station; pm Stop for rarities in Denver/Boulder area en route to Estes Park

Trip Description: Tours starts with pickup at Denver International Airport hotel district. Lodging both nights at Horseshoe Lodge, Pueblo Mountain Park in south-central Colorado. Day 1, we visit Eastern plains migrant traps and prairie grasslands; John Martin Reservoir for migrant shorebirds (20 species). Overnight at Pueblo Mountain Park Horseshoe Lodge. Day 2, mountain birding around Rye; Pueblo Reservoir State Park. owling in Wet Mountains. Day 3, morning birding at migrant traps at Chico Basin Ranch; visit to Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory banding station; stops for rarities or target birds in Denver/Boulder area en route to Denver International Airport hotel district.

Expected species: White-faced Ibis, American White Pelican, 20 species of shorebirds, Franklin’s and California Gulls, Burrowing and Barn Owls, Prairie Falcon, Ladder-backed, Lewis’ and Acorn Woodpeckers, Say’s Phoebe, Olive-sided Flycatcher, Western Wood-Pewee, Juniper Titmouse, Mountain Chickadee, Bushtit, Pygmy Nuthatch, Rock and Canyon Wrens, Black-billed Magpie, Clark’s Nutcracker, Western Scrub-Jay, Steller’s and Gray Jays, Sage and Curve-billed Thrasher, Mountain and Western Bluebirds, Townsend’s Solitaire, McCown’s and Chestnut-collared Longspurs, Orange-crowned and MacGillivray’s Warblers, Vesper, Brewer’s, Clay-colored and Lark Sparrows, Green-tailed Towhee, Yellow-headed and Brewer’s Blackbirds.

Hike Level: Moderate; Some hiking on relatively flat trails at a variety of elevations, between 4000 and 9000 feet.

Recommended gear: Comfortable walking shoes (sneakers) or hiking boots (avoid open-toed footwear and high heels; Clothing for extremely hot as well as cold evening temperature. Sunblock, hat, water bottle.

Meals provided: Breakfasts and dinners at Horseshoe Lodge.

Trip Leader: TBD (Pro birding guide).

Tips: Optional.

Registration Information: To register, contact Quetzal Tours at info@quetzal-tours.com.