Saturday, July 3, 2010

Colorado Trip (Day 3)

On Sunday we spent the morning with family and then headed off for Montrose, on the west side of the Rockies, at about one. We spent most of the next seven hours driving but we made several stops along the way. Our first stop was at a Prairie Dog town along the highway where there were Gunnison Prairie Dogs.
Eventually we entered the Gunnison Valley, which is mostly full of sagebrush. We stopped at the Waunita Hot Springs Lek, which is the only public lek for Gunnison Sage Grouse in the world. Unfortunately since we were there after the season when they were displaying, and it was the middle of the afternoon, we did not see any. I did see one Sage Thrasher and several Brewer's Sparrows which were lifers 321 and 322 respectively. I also got this picture of a Mountain Bluebird.
As we were driving along Highway 50 just east of Gunnison I spotted a falcon flying beside the road. I yelled for dad to pull over and once I got out I was able to see that it was a Prairie Falcon, lifer 323.
We stopped in Gunnison for dinner and I saw several Eurasian Collared Doves in the town. They were lifer 324 for me.
Finally at about 8:00 p.m. we reached Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park. Since it was so late the rangers let us in for free and when they heard we were looking for Dusky Grouse they told us exactly where to go. Sure enough, after we had driven just a little way along the road we saw a male Dusky Grouse displaying right by the side of the road! I took tons of pictures and here are some of them.
This was probably my favorite bird for the whole trip. Here is a shot of the sun setting over the Black Canyon of the Gunnison, to see more pictures go to my flickr page (link is on the right side of this page).

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