4821
Colorado Rocky Mountains
Birding and Hiking in the Colorado Rockies
The Colorado Rockies are home to myriad species of rare and unique birds. Come see for yourself as you hike with experts to search for Ptarmigan, Dusky Grouse and majestic Bald Eagles.
Program No. 4821RJ
Length
6 days
Starts at
1,029
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6 days
5 nights
14 meals
5 B 4 L 5 D
DAY
1
Orientation/Campus Tour
Pingree Park, CO
D
Mountain Campus Conference Center

Activity note: Participants should be aware that the bird viewing will be accessed by daily walks and hikes up to 5 miles roundtrip.

Afternoon: Arrival/check in by 4:00 pm. Orientation at 5:00 pm.

Dinner: Meals served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Evening: Orientation, introductions and initial course lecture

DAY
2
Pingree Park Valley and Bird Identification Techniques
Pingree Park, CO
B,L,D
Mountain Campus Conference Center

Activity note: Daily schedule will include early (dawn) morning bird walk in Pingree Park. Other days birding will be divided by habitat and availibility of birds. Schedule may change accordingly.

Breakfast: Early morning bird walk followed by breakfast served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Morning: Birding the Pingree Park Valley-walking up to two miles on mostly level terrain at 9,000 feet.

Lunch: Meals served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Afternoon: Instructors will announce afternoon activities.

Dinner: Meals served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Evening: After dinner, drive to Ponderosa Forest for evening birding walk, learn about the different species in different ecological life zone. Walking up to one mile over mostly level terrain. Return after sunset to Pingree Park.

DAY
3
Birding Field Trip and Hike-Cirque Meadows
Pingree Park, CO
B,L,D
Mountain Campus Conference Center

Activity note: Day will be spent hiking to beautiful glacial tarn, Cirque Meadows

Breakfast: Early morning bird walk followed by breakfast served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Morning: After breakfast, hike to Cirque Meadows, a beautiful large glacially carved valley and tarn for birding the Spruce-Fir Lifezone. At an elevation of 10,000 feet, the Meadows is home to wildlife such as marmots, pikas, Blue Grouse, beaver, and other large mammals. Explore while hiking the changing habitat and related bird species. Hike is 5 miles round trip, mostly easy walking on developed trails but some hills will be encountered, elevation gain of 1,000 feet.

Lunch: Box lunch in field (pick up at breakfast)

Afternoon: Continuation of field trip, return by mid-afternoon, free time until dinner.

Dinner: Meals served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Evening: After dinner, drive to Forest Fire area for evening birding walk, learn about the 2012 fires and impacts upon birdlife and the remarkable recovery story. Walking up to one mile over mostly level terrain. Return after sunset to Pingree Park.

DAY
4
Day long Field Trip to Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge
Pingree Park, CO
B,L,D
Mountain Campus Conference Center

Activity note: Travel by van to North Park by way of scenic Poudre Canyon

Breakfast: Early morning bird walk followed by breakfast served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Morning: All day birding field trip traveling by vans to North Park, an amazing grassland surrounded by high snowy mountain peaks. The Arapaho National Wildlife Refuge is a haven for waterfowl and high mountain song birds. Over 200 birds have been recorded in the refuge with 82 species breeding. Two are on the Federal Threatened Species list. The two hour drive from Pingree Park will transit by way of Poudre Canyon and stops will be made for scenic views and an extended visit at the State of Colorado's Moose Visitor Center. Birding opportunities will exist at all stops with walks up to one mile on level terrain, trails or boardwalks.

Lunch: Box lunch in field (pick up at breakfast)

Afternoon: Continuation of field trip. The first waterfowl arrive at Arapaho NWR when the ice vanishes in April. The peak migration occurs in late May when 5,000 or more ducks may be present. Canada geese have been re established in North Park and begin nesting on the refuge during April. Duck nesting usually starts in late May and peaks in mid June. The refuge produces about 7,000 ducklings and 150 to 200 goslings each year. Primary upland nesting species include the mallard, pintail, gadwall, and American wigeon. A number of diving ducks, including the lesser scaup, ruddy, and redhead, nest on the larger ponds and adjacent wet meadows. Most species may be observed during the entire summer season. Fall migration reaches its height in late September or early October when up to 8,000 waterfowl may be on the refuge. Refuge wetlands also attract numerous marsh, shore, and water birds. Sora and Virginia rails - shy, secretive birds - are numerous but seldom seen. If they are present, eared and pied-billed grebe, Wilson's phalarope, American avocet, willet, sandpipers, yellowlegs, and dowitchers will be easy to observe. Other less common species include great blue heron, black-crowned night heron, American bittern, and white-faced ibis. The sagebrush upland harbor sage grouse year around. Golden eagles, several species of hawks, and an occasional prairie falcon circle the skies above the refuge in search of food. Their prey includes Richardson's ground squirrel, white-tailed prairie dog, and white-tailed jackrabbit. Badger, muskrat, beaver, coyote, and pronghorn antelope are commonly observed. Now and then one may see a red fox, mink, long-tailed weasel, or porcupine. As many as 1200 elk have wintered here with mule and white-tailed deer seen sporadically. Moose reintroduced in the seventies into North Park may occasionally be observed in the willow thickets along the Illinois River bottoms.

Dinner: Meals served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Evening: Short group session to review species lists, free time to enjoy Pingree Park Valley in evening.

DAY
5
All Day Birding Field Trip-Higher Elevations; Pingree Park/Closing Reception
Pingree Park, CO
B,L,D
Mountain Campus Conference Center

Activity note: Day long hike to Crown Point, 11,500 feet mountain point above treeline

Breakfast: Early morning bird walk followed by breakfast served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Morning: Travel by van one hour to trailhead at 10,500 feet for three mile round trip hike to 11,500 feet "Crown Point". The hike begins in the Spruce Forest that quickly disappears at treeline with eerie Krumholz stunted Alpine Fir trees and beautiful alpine tundra flowers and grasses. Look for Blue Grouse, Ptarmigan, and other higher altitude species of birds. Spectacular views await of the Mummy Range in Rocky Mountain National Park as well as other surrounding mountain ranges. Hike is one way 1.5 miles uphill with 1,000 feet gain. Return is downhill, 1.5 miles. Rocky developed trail, some open hiking above treeline.

Lunch: Box lunch in field (pick up at breakfast)

Afternoon: Continue hike, return mid-afternoon followed by late afternoon closing reception and celebration.

Dinner: Meals served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Evening: Farewells and packing

DAY
6
Departures after breakfast
Pingree Park, CO
B

Breakfast: Meals served cafeteria style in the Dining Hall.

Morning: Departure after breakfast, check out time 10am.






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