Birding By Habitat: Pinyon-Juniper Forest and Riparian Habitats of the Mid-Valley Species List | May 30, 2019

ACES Staff

June 4, 2019

Birding By Habitat: Pinyon-Juniper Forest and Riparian Habitats of the Mid-Valley Species List | May 30, 2019

Thursday, May 30, 2019, 7AM – 2PM
Weather: Partly cloudy

Species Identified
Canada Goose
Wood Duck
Cinnamon Teal
Ring-necked Duck
Common Goldeneye
Common Merganser
Wild Turkey
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Eurasian Collared-Dove
Mourning Dove
Black-chinned Hummingbird
Broad-tailed Hummingbird
American Coot
Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
Red-tailed Hawk
Belted Kingfisher
Lewis’s Woodpecker
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
American Kestrel
Western Wood-Pewee
Say’s Phoebe
Western Kingbird
Plumbeous Vireo
Warbling Vireo
Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay
Black-billed Magpie
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Barn Swallow
Black-capped Chickadee
White-breasted Nuthatch
House Wren
Marsh Wren
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Mountain Bluebird
American Robin
European Starling
Cedar Waxwing
House Finch
Pine Siskin
Green-tailed Towhee
Spotted Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Red-winged Blackbird
Brown-headed Cowbird
Orange-crowned Warbler
Virginia’s Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Yellow Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Black-throated Gray Warbler
Western Tanager
Black-headed Grosbeak
House Sparrow


Four locations on private property were the focus of this field class where we spent time in prime pinyon-juniper woodlands and various types of riparian/wetland/open water habitats to observe birds and their activities with breeding season in full swing. We began at a location above Hooks Spur Road where western kingbirds, Say’s phoebes, chipping sparrows, pine siskins, western tanagers, and western meadowlarks were using pastures and fence lines to forage on seeds and insects along the property’s ranch road. Heading into the pinyon-juniper woodland, we saw an array of birds typical of this rich ecosystem:  black-throated gray warbler, Virginia’s warbler, blue-gray gnatcatcher, spotted and green-tailed towhees, and plumbeous vireo.  

Our second location, along the Roaring Fork River among mixed shrublands, willows, and cottonwoods, we saw kingfisher, cedar waxwing, western wood-pewee, and yellow warbler. The Blue Creek drainage was our next destination, where the creek flows through a private ranch and creates a series of ponds surrounded by pinyon-juniper. Highlights here included many warbling vireos and yellow-rumped warblers, four species of swallows, yellow-headed blackbirds, and gadwalls. We were also able to see lush green growth on the edge of the Lake Christine fire area, where initial stages of succession have begun.

The last site was a lake near Crystal Springs Road with extensive cattail marsh where highlights were:  common yellowthroat, marsh wren, cinnamon teal, eared grebe, osprey, common goldeneye, yellow-headed blackbird, and Say’s phoebe. At this site, we were able to observe birds at close range and enjoyed seeing nest-building activities and active feeding and territorial singing/displaying. It was a wonderful day with rich learning, leaving us with a heightened appreciation for the diversity of birdlife in these special local habitats. Join us for other Birding By Habitat classes coming up this summer: The Crystal River Valley on July 3rd and Capitol Creek Ranch on August 15th.

~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide 


Photo by Dale Armstrong

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