Trip report: Colorado: Chasing Chickens (April 2012) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Andrew Spencer. This was a set departure tour.

Colorado in spring is hard to predict. I’ve seen blizzards, torrential rain, blazing sun with high temperatures, and everything in between. I’ve also seen eastern warblers, western gulls, northern invasives, and southern overshoots. And, of course, it’s the best time to see chickens. This was Tropical Birding’s first set-departure tour to Colorado, and we all got a taste of this unpredictability. The lowest snowpack I’ve ever seen in the state, combined with the beginnings of a drought on the eastern plains affected the birding somewhat, but the warmer than usual spring also meant some spring arrivals were ahead of schedule. We scored a near clean sweep of the chickens, missing only Ptarmigan on Loveland Pass. And proving that Colorado is more than just grouse, we also scored a number of other local and highly desired species, ranging from stunning views of Black Rail to the near endemic Brown-capped Rosy-Finch to the accidental Black-chinned Sparrow.

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