Field Trips

Field Trips General Information

Find info about upcoming field trips in the Calendar.

All field trips are free (unless otherwise noted) and open to the public. All experience levels are welcome. Bring snacks or lunch, water, binoculars, and spotting scopes. RSVP strongly encouraged.

Field Trip Reports

2017

2016

2015

2014

2013

2017 Field Trip Reports

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: December 10, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 12

Highlights: The weather on this day was spectacular, and a good hike was enjoyed by all. But a long stretch of calm weather throughout the area may have kept winter migrants at bay, after most of the fall migrants had already flown south, so the bird diversity was unusually low. The usual host of corvids, chickadees, and nuthatches were as entertaining as always. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S41017453.

Loveland Area Lakes

Date: November 18, 2017

Leader: Michael Costello

Other attendees: 5

Highlights: This group visited many area lakes in a single day in pursuit of ducks, geese, gulls, and whatever else was present. Over the course of the day they saw all five of the geese species that are seen annually in Larimer County (Cackling, Canada, Greater White-fronted, Ross’s, and Snow) and a variety of duck species. They also found six(!) gull species at Horseshoe Reservoir, including a rare Glaucous-winged Gull, as indicated on this checklist of observations: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40593827.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: November 12, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 13

Highlights: Two Golden-crowned Kinglets may have been the highlight of this survey. Other species observed included a Golden Eagle, three Red Crossbills, and a flock of Bushtits. As usual at Bobcat Ridge, a large group attended, giving people a chance to make or renew friendships with fellow birders. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S40483287.

Fossil Creek Reservoir

Date: October 14, 2017

Leader: Sirena Brownlee

Other attendees: 8

Highlights: High winds made for poor viewing conditions, but fortunately there was a good diversity of species hunkered down in nearshore areas, including Northern Pintails and Redheads. A checklist is not available online.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: October 8, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 7

Highlights: The timing was perfect to see Mountain Bluebirds (35 of them!) migrating down from higher elevations. Pygmy Nuthatches (20) were also abundant. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39850344.

Eagle’s Nest Open Space

Date: September 16, 2017

Leader: John Shenot

Other attendees: 4

Highlights: Bad weather – rain, and lots of it – preceded this field trip. Fortunately, the rain stopped before the hike started, though it was unseasonably cold and menacing clouds filled the sky. Those who took the chance were treated to a Bald Eagle flying low overhead, a Common Nighthawk flying below the observers, a calling Golden Eagle, and another bout of pounding rain that nearly made the trail impassible. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39221405.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: September 10, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 17

Highlights: Several unexpected species turned up today. Most surprising, without question, was an Eastern Phoebe. This was the first time this species has been observed on one of our monthly surveys at this location. Also observed were two Lark Buntings, which are more typically seen in the extensive grasslands east and north of Fort Collins. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39120932.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: August 13, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 11

Highlights: Attendees on this field trip enjoyed seeing a group of 8 Wild Turkeys, a Calliope Hummingbird, and some 40 other bird species. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38647704.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: July 9, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 12

Highlights: If variety is the spice of life, this was a very spicy day – 60 bird species were observed in one morning. Among the many highlights were a Prairie Falcon, Virginia’s Warblers, Cordilleran Flycatchers, and Grasshopper Sparrows. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38067264.

Pawnee National Grasslands

Date: June 17, 2017

Leader: Bill Miller

Other attendees: 11

Highlights: This annual field trip is often a scorching hot affair, but this time it was actually pretty cool. So that would be nice, except it also turned out to be less “birdy” than previous trips to the Pawnee. The Burrowing Owls were not emerging from their burrows, but the group did see three Ferruginous Hawks as the highlight of the day. A checklist is not available.

Lily Lake, Rocky Mountain National Park

Date: June 13, 2017

On June 3, 13 FCAS participants enjoyed a beautiful morning in Rocky Mountain National Park. They visit-ed Lily Lake on the east side of the park, then walked the Matthews/Reeser Trail along Lake Estes in Estes Park.

Bird species observed were: Song Sparrow, Ringnecked Duck, Wilson's Warbler, Hammond's Flycatcher, Sora, Chipping Sparrow, Violet-green Swallow, Tree Swallow, Common Raven, Red-winged Blackbird, Brewer's Blackbird, Broad-tailed Hummingbird, White-breasted Nuthatch, Pygmy Nuthatch, Western Tanager (heard), Mallard, and Yellow-rumped Warbler. Along with the bird species seen, Muskrat, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrel, and Colorado Chipmunk also were viewed.

Ring-necked Duck by Ron Harden

Ring-necked Duck by Ron Harden

Violet-green Swallow by Ron Harden

Violet-green Swallow by Ron Harden

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: June 11, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 16

Highlights: The group on this trip managed to find a Broad-tailed Hummingbird on a nest, a difficult and rewarding task! They also observed three of our most colorful foothills species – Bullock’s Orioles, Lazuli Buntings, and Yellow-breasted Chats. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S37850945.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: May 14, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 21

Highlights: Ahhh, spring migration! After years of monthly surveys at this location, this survey group was the first ever to observe a Great Crested Flycatcher. They also observed a Lewis’s Woodpecker, a ridiculous number (20!) of Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, and more than 50 other species. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S36864183.

Running Deer and Cottonwood Hollow Natural Areas

Date: May 12, 2017

Leader: Sirena Brownlee

Other attendees: 9

Highlights: Attendees on this Friday afternoon field trip enjoyed a Happy Hour or two. The group saw Cinnamon Teal, dozens of White-faced Ibis, American Avocets, and Yellow-headed Blackbirds. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S36777025.

Colorado State Forestry Service Nursery

Date: May 6, 2017

Leader: John Shenot

Other attendees: 16

Highlights: What a difference a week makes! After our last snow-packed field trip, this one was warm and sunny. The group got great looks at three species of hawks (Red-tailed, Broad-winged, and Cooper’s), and heard Sora calling from a small marshy area. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S36589873.

Sunrise Ranch

Date: April 29, 2017

Leader: John Shenot

Other attendees: 1

Highlights: This trip did not go as planned. An unexpectedly heavy snowstorm arrived overnight and continued through the early part of the day. Most of the likely attendees had the good sense to stay home, and Michael Costello, who was to lead the trip, greeted just two people – then announced that he had severe back pain and couldn’t lead. The two attendees discussed going home, as the snow continued to fall, but decided to tough it out. John, who was familiar with the Ranch trails, filled in as guide. Eventually, the weather cleared up and the two intrepid birders got a rare treat, watching a Peregrine Falcon chase (unsuccessfully) a Willet over Green Ridge Glade Reservoir. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S36392114.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: April 9, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 20

Highlights: This month’s survey encountered the “usual suspects” for this location at this time of year, and not much else. One theory is that the abundant Western Meadowlarks (55 of them?!), scared away or ATE a bunch of rare species that would have been seen had the group come one day earlier. It’s just a theory. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35846598.

Fossil Creek Reservoir Natural Area

Date: March 18, 2017

Leader: John Shenot

Other attendees: 10

Highlights: The weather was spectacular, the Western Meadowlarks were singing their hearts out, and the ducks – 11 species of ducks – were abundant. Great Blue Herons had settled into their rookery near the east blind. Spring was definitely in the air! A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35254709.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: March 12, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 14

Highlights: In Colorado, you often hear about bluebird skies. Well, I don’t think this is what the phrase means but it sure is cool: the group on this field trip observed about 200 Mountain Bluebirds, plus a couple of Western Bluebirds thrown in for good measure. High winds probably reduced the chances to see other birds, but 200 bluebirds? Seriously? That’s a good day!!! A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S35135977.

Jackson Reservoir State Park

Date: February 25, 2017

Leader: Austin Hess

Other attendees: 3

Highlights: The weather was much more winter than hoped-for early spring, but as usual this hotspot did not disappoint. The group found around 30 Bald Eagles, a Cedar Waxwing pair with the male feeding the female, a Rough-legged Hawk, a nice duck diversity, around 30 Wild Turkeys (outside of the State Park), and 3 early migrant American White Pelicans. A complete checklist of observations inside the park is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34788232.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: February 12, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 18

Highlights: As in January, the highlight of this month’s survey was once again an American Woodcock that continued to be seen throughout January and February. Well, that was the rarest bird anyway. High numbers of corvids also made the outing special: dozens of Steller’s Jays and even more Clark’s Nutcrackers, along with a scattering of Common Ravens, American Crows, Blue Jays, Black-billed Magpies, and Woodhouse’s Scrub-jays. Hitting double digits (10) on Cassin’s Finches rounded out the day. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S34325721.

Running Deer and Cottonwood Hollow Natural Areas

Date: January 28, 2017

Leader: John Shenot

Other attendees: 9

Highlights: Things were a little slower than usual at this natural area, due to less open water that is normal even for January. Still, the group got superb views of adult and juvenile Bald Eagles, and a Northern Shrike proved to be a “life bird” for some of the attendees. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33986560.

Bobcat Ridge Monthly Survey

Date: January 8, 2017

Leader: Denise Bretting

Other attendees: 10

Highlights: Finding 29 species in one location can be a challenge in January, but despite the great variety of birds there can be no mistaking the highlight of this trip. The group was treated to views of an American Woodcock, for which there are very few historical records in Northern Colorado. This is the third January in a row that Woodcocks have been seen at Bobcat Ridge. Two individuals were observed. A complete checklist of observations is available here: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S33548079.

See Ptarmigan for more information.