Ben, Bill, and Emily from Bird Watcher’s Digest were joined by 21 intrepid birding souls for the Colorado Rocky Mountain High Reader Rendezvous, June 22 to 26 in Fort Collins, Colorado. Local resident and genuinely nice dude Carl Bendorf guided us for four days of spectacular birding in a range of habitats from high desert grassland to mountain tundra above the tree line. In the Pawnee Grasslands, one of our first full days of birding, we raced eastward into the approaching dawn to find chestnut-collared and McCown’s longspurs, burrowing owl, mountain plover, ferruginous and Swainson’s hawks, lark bunting, and many others.
Day two found us wandering into the foothills of Colorado’s Front Range for American dipper, cordilleran flycatcher, western tanager, black-headed grosbeak, Clark’s grebe, and broad-tailed and black-chinned hummingbirds.
Days three and four we got high—reaching an altitude of 12,500 feet above sea level in Rocky Mountain National Park. It was here that we scored target birds such as pine grosbeak, American three-toed woodpecker, Clark’s nutcracker, brown-capped rosy finch, and white-tailed ptarmigan.
In all we topped 130 species for the four days, ate ourselves silly at a variety of dining establishments, soaked up the majestic scenery, breathed in the thin, clean mountain air, and reveled in the company of our good friends.