Birding By Habitat: Castle Creek Valley, 7/11/22

Monday, July 11, 2022, 7:30am-11:30pm
Weather: Mostly sunny
Location: Castle Creek Valley, River Run Trail, Aspen, CO


Exploring the subalpine environment in mid July is prime time for observing nesting behaviors of the special suite of birds that breed there. The peak of wildflower blooming was an added bonus! Today we explored a variety of subalpine habitats including river riparian (cobble bars, rushing braided streams, forested shores), extensive riparian willow thickets, beaver ponds, open sagebrush expanses studded with wildflowers, aspen forest, and spruce-fir forest. We explored the riparian willows and river system first, gaining an ear for the songs of Lincoln's, fox, and white-crowned sparrows. Exploring above the willows, we found a pocket of finch and Canada jay activity in the spruce forest as well as views into beaver ponds with shallow shores where spotted sandpipers were foraging. Later, we noticed the sandpipers alaim-calling in response to a coyote hunting in their area of the wetlands. In a willow corridor above a braided stream, Wilson's warblers hawked insects at close range. Later, we had excellent views of a hairy woodpecker and northern flicker, yellow-rumped warblers hawking insects over the river, and hummingbirds feeding on nectar at the abundant scarlet gilia flowers. In the mixed forest, we watched a cordilleran flycatcher gather a beakful of insects while brown creepers called from higher up in the trees. It was an excellent study of subalpine birds and habitats. View all upcoming birding outings!


Species List: 

Broad-tailed Hummingbird
Spotted Sandpiper
Red-tailed Hawk
Hairy Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Dusky Flycatcher
Cordilleran Flycatcher
Canada Jay
Tree Swallow
Violet-green Swallow
Mountain Chickadee
Brown Creeper
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Mountain Bluebird
Swainson's Thrush
American Robin
Cassin's Finch
Pine Siskin
Chipping Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
Lincoln's Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
MacGillivray's Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Wilson's Warbler


~ Rebecca Weiss, ACES Bird Guide


Featured photo: Ruby-crowned Kinglet