Birding by Habitat: Airport Radar Road
Join us for this special outing along Pitkin County Airport’s Radar Road* to explore the suite of birds inhabiting various mountain shrubland habitats traversed by this seldom traveled road. At the beginning, we will bird our way through stands of riparian cottonwoods and willows, an historic ranch compound, and open grassland areas. Seldom used, the road continues on through native mountain shrublands that vary according to soils, moisture, and slope aspect. The variety of birds is reflected in these subtle ecosystem changes, and offers excellent birding along the entire route. Spring is prime time in this sunny, dry landscape that is currently bursting with wildflowers and green foliage. Additional highlights include background on airport wildlife management, ranch history, geology, botany, and unique views of the valley where elk migration corridors and glacial landforms can be seen in sweeping views.
This trip is a hike on a well-maintained gravel road that climbs uphill; our route will gain about 600′ elevation to a viewpoint. Total mileage of this out-and-back route is about 3.5 miles or less, depending on bird activity and our group’s pace. We have the potential to see over 25 species along with a few active nests.
Please dress in layers as temperatures will likely change during the outing; bring a rain jacket, sun hat, plenty of water, snacks, and lunch. Bring your binoculars (or borrow ours).
*With special permission from Pitkin County’s Airport and Open Space offices. Note that there are no restroom facilities at this location.
This class requires advance registration to ensure appropriate planning for the field experience.
This class meets in the Buttermilk parking lot at 6:30am for a prompt departure to carpool to the airport parking lot off Owl Creek Road.
About the Instructor:
Rebecca Weiss is a Naturalist specializing in birding, botany, and interpretive program development. She came to ACES as a Summer Naturalist in 1993, and later directed the Naturalist Field School and worked with ACES’ Naturalist Programs. She guides for ACES’ Birding Program outings and is a professional writer and consultant. Rebecca is the author of Birds of Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley. She holds a BS in Biology and a MA in Environmental Education, and loves exploring the natural world with her husband, Austin, and their children, Anders and Elsie.