Westwings Gunnison Sage-Grouse Tour

Gunnison Sage Grouse Tour

Bird List
March 23-26, 2007
$665, all-inclusive
from Salt Lake City, Utah

The recent split of the sage-grouse has elevated the smaller subspecies of sage-grouse to full species status. Found only in a few isolated locations of southwestern Colorado and southeastern Utah, seeing the Gunnison Sage-Grouse presents a challenging quest for North American birders. On this tour, we’ll travel to southeastern Utah, where several leks of displaying males will give us the best chance at successfully viewing this rare bird. By watching the spectacular display of the males, we’ll also be able to see the most striking differences between the two sage-grouse species, including the elongated filoplumes on the neck of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse. After watching the grouse in the morning, we’re free to spend the rest of our day search for other birds amongst the spectacular red-rock landscape. Perhaps the most under-birded part of Utah, this corner of the state has a huge potential for turning up some real avian surprises.

Friday, March 23 We leave Salt Lake City this afternoon, and head south, then east across the Wasatch Mountains and into the heart of the Colorado Plateau of southeastern Utah. As time and daylight permits, we may make a stop at the Matheson Wetlands Preserve in Moab for a little birding after dinner. From there, we continue south to the small town of Monticello and our hotel, where we retire immediately in anticipation of our early morning the next day.

Saturday, March 24 This morning finds us at a lek of the Gunnison Sage-Grouse at first light, where we watch the display of this newly recognized species, noting how different it is from that of its northern cousin. For the rest of the day, we explore the pinyon-juniper woodlands, pine-oak forests, and cottonwood bottoms of southeast Utah’s canyon country. In addition to many birds, such as Williamson’s Sapsucker, Pinyon Jay, Pygmy Nuthatch, Canyon Wren, and Western Bluebird, we’ll see some of the ancient rock art and ruins which are scattered throughout this area. Overnight in Monticello.

Sunday, March 25 This morning gives us a second chance to view the grouse display, just in case weather or other disturbances interfered with our viewing the previous day. Later, we leave the canyon country for a leisurely journey back to Salt Lake City, birding as we go. In the afternoon, we’ll look around the Salt Lake area for any birds which we haven’t found that you wish to see, and may look for some owls in the evening (since you won’t be at all tired!). Overnight Salt Lake City.

Monday, March 26  This morning, you’ll transfer from your hotel to the airport. Soon you’ll be flying home full of memories of the sight of North America’s newest bird species, along with many other birds, wildlife and the spectacular scenery of Utah.

Arrival and Departure information: The tour begins in Salt Lake City as soon as everyone arrives on March 17 (but not after 3 pm MDT), and lasts through early morning on March 20. Westwings, Inc. staff will meet you outside the airport baggage claim area. Flights to and from Salt Lake City should be arranged to arrive no later than 3 pm MDT on March 17, and depart anytime on March 20. As an alternative, you may fly into Salt Lake City on March 16. You will be responsible for your own accommodations in Salt Lake City on the extra night (if you wish, we can make a reservation for you). The tour price includes all non-personal expenses during the trip, such as transportation, lodging, meals, and admission fees.

If you have further questions regarding this trip, please call toll free (866) 552-0221, or e-mail to cbirds@westwings.com

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Bird List From Gunninson Sage-Grouse Tour

This is the actual bird list from a previous year’s tour. The birds seen on any tour will vary, according to the yearly fluctuations in bird numbers, the desires of tour participants, and luck.
 Canada Goose
 American Wigeon
 Cinnamon Teal
 Northern Shoveler
 Northern Pintail
 Green-winged Teal
 Ring-necked Duck
 Lesser Scaup
 Common Goldeneye
 Common Merganser
 Red-breasted Merganser
 Ruddy Duck
 Ring-necked Pheasant
 Gunnison Sage-Grouse
 Wild Turkey
 California Quail
 Common Loon
 Pied-billed Grebe
 Eared Grebe
 Western Grebe
 American White Pelican  
 Double-crested  Cormorant     
 Great Blue Heron
Turkey Vulture
 Bald Eagle
 Northern Harrier
 Cooper's Hawk
 Red-tailed Hawk
 Ferruginous Hawk
 Rough-legged Hawk
 Golden Eagle
 American Kestrel
 Prairie Falcon
 American Coot
 Black-necked Stilt
 American Avocet
 Greater Yellowlegs
 Least Sandpiper
 Common Snipe
 Ring-billed Gull
 California Gull
 Rock Dove
 Band-tailed Pigeon
 Mourning Dove
 Western Screech Owl
 Great Horned Owl
 Short-eared Owl
 Belted Kingfisher
 Red-naped Sapsucker
 Williamson's Sapsucker
 Downy Woodpecker
 Hairy Woodpecker
 Northern Flicker
 Gray Flycatcher
 Say's Pheobe
 Loggerhead Shrike
 Steller's Jay
 Western Scrub-Jay
 Pinyon Jay
 Clark’s Nutcracker
 Black-billed Magpie
 American Crow
 Common Raven
 Horned Lark
 Tree Swallow
 Violet-green Swallow
 Barn Swallow
 Black-capped Chickadee
 Mountain Chickadee
 Juniper Titmouse
 Red-breasted Nuthatch
 White-breasted Nuthatch
 Pygmy Nuthatch
 Brown Creeper
 Rock Wren
 Canyon Wren
 Marsh Wren
 American Dipper
 Golden-crowned Kinglet
 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
 Western Bluebird
Mountain Bluebird
Townsend's Solitaire
 American Robin
Sage Thrasher
 European Starling
 American  Pipit
Cedar Waxwing
 Yellow-rumped Warbler
 Grace’s Warbler
 Spotted Towhee
 Brewer's Sparrow
 Lark Sparrow
 Sage Sparrow
 Song Sparrow
 Lincoln's Sparrow
 White-crowned Sparrow
 Dark-eyed Junco
 Red-winged Blackbird
 Western Meadowlark
 Yellow-headed   Blackbird
 Brewer's  Blackbird
 Black Rosy-Finch
 Cassin's Finch
 House Finch
 Red Crossbill
 Pine Siskin
 American Goldfinch
 House Sparrow
For general questions and information email cbirds@westwings.com: For reservation status or account information email assistant@westwings.com: Or contact us by phone toll free at 866-552-0221: Our local number is 801-487-9453
Please send reservation forms and other mail to
Westwings, Inc.
P.O. Box 521720
Salt Lake City UT, 84152
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