Birding by Habitat: Capitol Creek Ranch & Old Snowmass
Birds of montane and subalpine habitats are the focus of this field trip to Capitol Creek Ranch, located below Haystack Mountain in upper Capitol Creek Valley. Birds and other wildlife abound on this special property which borders Wilderness and has a long history of conservation-minded ownership. We will explore aspen groves, streamside riparian woods, beaver ponds, scrub oak, sagebrush, conifer forest, mountain meadows, and irrigated pastures, enjoying the sights and sounds of native birds in unspoiled environs. A morning hike will take us through richly varied habitats, some of which are particularly attractive to migratory birds. Over lunch, we will enjoy learning from historic records of birds observed on the ranch, followed by more time in the field. Our starting point on the ranch is 8,100 ft and hikes will take us on ranch trails, game trails, and off-trail in spots. Walking conditions will be on the rugged side. Species we may encounter include mountain bluebird, Wilson’s snipe, red-naped sapsucker, northern flicker, various hawks, tree swallow, dusky grouse, wild turkey, various warblers, hermit thrush, ruby-crowned kinglet, black-capped and mountain chickadees, Woodhouse’s Scrub-Jay, and more.
This class requires advance registration to ensure appropriate planning for the field experience.
Birders of all experience levels are welcome! Special attention will be given to orienting beginning birders to local habitats and their associated bird species, and basic field craft skills. Mark Fuller, former Independence Pass Foundation Director, and ACES Birding Guide Rebecca Weiss will be your instructors. Mark and Rebecca are photographer and author, respectively, of Birds of Aspen and the Roaring Fork Valley.
This class meets at Old Snowmass Park-N-Ride (CDOT) at corner of Highway 82 and Snowmass Creek Road. We will carpool from there to field trip locations.
What To Bring:
Come prepared for a full day in the field, including non-strenuous hiking on and off trails. Please wear layered clothing for both the chilly morning and warmer daytime temperatures. Wear sturdy footwear and bring rain gear, sun hat, sunglasses, sunblock, a hearty sack lunch, snacks, and plenty of water. Bring your binoculars (or borrow ours) and your field guide (optional). We will provide binoculars, a scope, reference books, and handouts.