Your Guide to Birding

in Saguache County

County Map Saguache County
Author(s):  Mark Peterson, Nathan Pieplow
County Seat: Saguache
Size: 3,167 square miles
Low Elevation: 7,528 ft. - San Luis Creek on the Alamosa border
High Elevation: 14,294 ft. - Crestone Peak
Best Birds: Bendire's Thrasher (1984, 1986 & 1990), Anna's Hummingbird (1984)
Checklist: Saguache County Checklist
Introduction: Enormous, varied, and not even that remote, Saguache County ("sa-watch") has been almost criminally neglected by birders. The Continental Divide slices through it, separating the wonderful wetlands of the San Luis Valley from the sage and sage-grouse of the Gunnison Basin, and making this one of the few counties in Colorado to cover both slopes. Above the two valleys rise montane habitats from pinyon-juniper all the way up to the tundra of the Sangre de Cristos and the La Garitas. With the exception of large reservoirs and true shortgrass prairie, Saguache County has it all! It even contains the majority of the Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve--but since the easily visited parts of it are all in Alamosa County, you'll find it described on that page.

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Birding Sites

Bonanza area
Habitat: Streamside Willow, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Aspen Grove, Pinyon-Juniper Forest
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Carnero Pass Road
Habitat: Rimrock/Mesa, Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Cliff Face, Streamside Willow, Aspen Grove, Ponderosa Forest, Mixed-Conifer Forest
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Cebolla Trail
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Krummholz, Streamside Willow, Alpine Tundra
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Cochetopa Canyon
Habitat: Stream, Cliff Face, Streamside Willow
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Cochetopa Pass and Rabbit Canyon
Habitat: Rimrock/Mesa, Ponderosa Forest, Lodgepole Forest, Aspen Grove
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Crestone area
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Urban/Suburban, Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Foothill Shrub, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Stream, Spruce-Fir Forest
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Dome Lakes State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir
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Elephant Rocks
Habitat: Pinyon-Juniper Forest
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Groundhog Park Road (FR 650)
Habitat: Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Ponderosa Forest, Aspen Grove, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest, Mountain Meadow, Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Streamside Willow
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Hot Springs Canyon area
Habitat: Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Scrub Oak Forest, Aspen Grove
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La Garita area
Habitat: Cliff Face, Streamside Willow, Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Aspen Grove, Spruce-Fir Forest, Mountain Meadow
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Marshall Pass Road
Habitat: Sagebrush, Streamside Willow, Mixed-Conifer Forest, Aspen Grove, Lodgepole Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest, Alpine Tundra
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Moss Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Wet Meadow
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Russell Lakes State Wildlife Area
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Marsh, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Sagebrush
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Habitat: Urban/Suburban, Wet Meadow
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Use the form on the home page to contact the editor with corrections or to volunteer to add a site.

eBird Seasonal Bar Chart

Latest Unusual Birds (eBird) in Saguache County


CBRC Accepted Records from Saguache County

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Laughing Gull2012-116 8/18/2012 - 9/4/2012
Franklin's Gull2018-041 04/16/2018
Tricolored Heron2000-0116/28/2000 - 7/24/2000
Bendire's Thrasher43-85-176/19/1984
Bendire's Thrasher43-86-366/21/1986
Bendire's Thrasher43-90-436/9/1990
Black-and-white Warbler2011-095 7/3/2011
Chestnut-sided Warbler2001-0896/25/2001