Southwest Colorado: Birds & Butterflies: Jul 15—25, 2009

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Please contact us if you would like more information on upcoming departures for this tour.

Departs: Denver
Tour Limit: 14
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (84.8 KB)

Tour Leaders


Michael O'Brien

Michael O'Brien is a freelance artist, author, and environmental consultant living in Cape M...


Louise Zemaitis

Louise Zemaitis is an artist and naturalist living in Cape May, New Jersey where she is a po...

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Colorado Alpine

Colorado Alpine — Photo: Michael O'Brien

Spectacular scenery and weather, abundant wildlife, and several hard-to-find specialties.

Seldom visited by birding groups, southwestern Colorado offers some of the most varied and breathtaking scenery in the country, along with an outstandingly diverse flora and fauna. In July birds are surprisingly visible as they care for their noisy young and, in particular, this tour offers an excellent opportunity to see two recent "splits," the Gunnison Sage-Grouse and the Dusky Grouse. Butterflies are also abundant in wildflower-carpeted mountain meadows, snow melt seeps, and waterways through arid canyons. Starting and ending in Denver, this tour will sample alpine tundra at Mount Evans, lush montane forest at Grand Mesa, arid canyons at Mesa Verde, and deep gorges at Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park.

We will make an effort to see the region's specialties including such birds as Chukar, White-tailed Ptarmigan, Gunnison Sage-Grouse, Dusky Grouse, Black Swift, Calliope Hummingbird, Lewis's Woodpecker, Williamson's Sapsucker, American Three-toed Woodpecker, Pinyon Jay, American Dipper, "Slate-colored" Fox Sparrow, Pine Grosbeak, and Brown-capped Rosy-Finch. Butterfly highlights may include Rocky Mountain Parnassian, "Baird's" Swallowtail, Becker's White, Mead's and Scudder's Sulphurs, Tailed and Lustrous Coppers, Colorado and Bramble Hairstreaks, Mormon Metalmark, up to ten or more species of fritillaries, Rockslide Checkerspot, Weidemeyer's Admiral, and Magdalena and Colorado Alpines. Along the way, mammals will also be conspicuous and we should see American pika, three species of prairie dogs, Abert's squirrel, elk, pronghorn, mountain goat, and bighorn sheep.

Good accommodations and food; frequent picnic lunches; mountainous terrain; short hikes of easy to moderate difficulty; much driving in 15-passenger vans.