Birding by Habitat: Castle Creek Valley
July is an excellent time to observe birds in the upper montane aspen forests, wildflower meadows, and riparian groves of spruce of the Castle Creek Valley, offering prime habitat for classic Rocky Mountain birds such as dusky grouse, Red-naped sapsucker, yellow-rumped warbler, mountain bluebird, broad-tailed hummingbird, northern goshawk, various flycatchers, and many more. The fledgling season is in full swing at this time in mid-summer, offering wonderful opportunities for observing family behaviors and learning the juvenal plumages of this special suite of birds. Amazing wildflowers are a fun side benefit on this birding hike!
This moderate hike begins at the Ashcroft Ghost Town and will walk along the River Run Trail. This is an out and back hike. Birding and experiencing this landscape is the primary goal rather than reaching the pass as a destination.
This class requires advanced registration to ensure appropriate planning for the field experience. Participants must register by 5pm on the day prior to the outing.
Birders of all experience levels are welcome! Special attention will be given to orienting beginning birders to local habitats and their associated bird species, and basic fieldcraft skills.
This class meets in the parking lot of the Catto Center at Toklat, 11 miles up Castle Creek Road. Please bring a snack and water.
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.