June 10, 2023 Bird Walk to Meyer’s Gulch with Jamie Simo

June 14, 2023

Well, we finally made it to Walker Ranch after last month’s aborted attempt! The Meyer’s Gulch trail is one of the best places for foothills birding in Boulder County. It’s also spectacular in the spring with its wildflowers and butterflies.

This past Saturday the weather was warm and sunny, but not too hot. We couldn’t have asked for a better morning. Before we even left the parking lot we had some great birds, including a singing Green-tailed Towhee and a Pine Siskin. As we started off down the trail the number of singing Vesper Sparrows was incredible. Vesper Sparrows are a grassland bird with a prominent white eye-ring, streaked breast, and white outer tail feathers. If you can get a good view of one (which is entirely possible because they like to sing from an elevated perch), you may see the little reddish patch on their shoulder. Their song starts off with a couple of whistles followed by a trilling song.

Vesper Sparrow. Photo by Jamie Simo

As we continued along the trail, we were stopped by the sight of a couple Western Bluebirds and got great looks at our most common and least shy flycatcher, the Western Wood-Pewee. Western Wood-Pewees almost always like to sit out in the open and they can be distinguished from other flycatchers by their relatively long wings, lack of eye-ring, and still tail (many flycatchers tail bob).

Western Wood-Pewee. Photo by Jamie Simo

As mentioned previously, Walker Ranch is a great place for wildflowers. Some of the most notable were western wallflower, blue-mist penstemon, and locoweed (mistakenly identified by me on Saturday as a type of vetch). Broad-tailed Hummingbirds were abundant as they took advantage of the nectar and one even helpfully posed for several minutes so we could get a look at him and his gorgeous gorget.

Other species we saw on our walk were Chipping Sparrows, a Dark-eyed Junco, a Western Tanager, a lone male Red Crossbill, and several Plumbeous Vireos. Though remaining unseen, we also heard the songs of Macgillivray’s Warbler as well as Warbling Vireo.

Unfortunately we didn’t make it too far along the trail before having to turn around, but only because there was just so much to look at and listen to!

Walker Ranch–Meyers Gulch, Boulder, Colorado, US
29 species (+1 other taxa)

Broad-tailed Hummingbird  3
Red-tailed Hawk  1
Northern Flicker  2
Western Wood-Pewee  5
Cordilleran Flycatcher  3
Plumbeous Vireo  3
Warbling Vireo  3
Steller’s Jay  2
Black-billed Magpie  3
American Crow  4
Common Raven  2
Mountain Chickadee  3
Violet-green Swallow  3
White-breasted Nuthatch  1
Pygmy Nuthatch  2
House Wren  7
Western Bluebird  2
American Robin  7
House Finch  1
Red Crossbill  1
Pine Siskin  1
Lesser Goldfinch  3
Chipping Sparrow  2
Dark-eyed Junco  1
Dark-eyed Junco (Gray-headed)  1
Vesper Sparrow  6
Green-tailed Towhee  2
Brown-headed Cowbird  1
MacGillivray’s Warbler  1
Western Tanager  1


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