Your Guide to Birding

in San Juan County

County Map San Juan County
Author(s):  James Beatty, James D. Beatty
County Seat: Silverton
Size: 388 square miles
Low Elevation: 8,251 ft. - Animas River on the La Plata border
High Elevation: 13,894 ft. - Vermillion Peak
Best Birds: What can you find?
Checklist: San Juan County Checklist
Introduction: San Juan County has many unique features, but bird variety is not one of them. This county is located high in the San Juan Mountains of western Colorado. It is very sparsely populated, only has one major road, one town, one river, and many high elevation mountains and abandoned mines. The low point of the county is about 8,400 feet above sea level and the county has many 13,000-foot peaks. Most of the drainage is to the Animas River, which flows south. Silverton at 9,200 feet and with about 500 people is the only town. It is surrounded by high peaks. The only highway is US 550, which bisects the county from north to south and winds through three passes above 10,000 feet. The Continental Divide snakes through the eastern part of the county. One recent Silverton Christmas Bird Count amazingly recorded Sandhill Cranes flying south over 12,000 foot mountains in January.

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Birding Sites

Andrews Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Streamside Willow, Spruce-Fir Forest
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Animas River – North
Habitat: Stream, Streamside Willow, Spruce-Fir Forest
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Animas River – South
Habitat: Stream, Streamside Willow
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Cascade Creek
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Mixed Conifer Forest
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Coal Bank Pass
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willow
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Little Molas Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willow
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Molas Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Streamside Willow, Spruce-Fir Forest
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Old Lime Creek Road
Habitat: Stream, Cliff Face, Streamside Willow, Mixed Conifer Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest
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Ophir Pass Road (FR 679)
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Mountain Meadow, Streamside Willow, Krummholz, Alpine Tundra
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Red Mountain Pass
Habitat: Cliff Face
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Silverton
Habitat: Urban/Suburban
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Silverton Mountain Ski Area
Habitat: Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willow, Stream
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South Mineral Creek
Habitat: Streamside Willow, Spruce-Fir Forest
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Spud (Potato) Lake
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Aspen Grove, Mixed Conifer Forest, Spruce-Fir Forest, Streamside Willow
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West Lime Creek
Habitat: Stream, Streamside Willow, Mixed Conifer Forest
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eBird Seasonal Bar Chart

Latest Unusual Birds (eBird) in San Juan County

 


CBRC Accepted Records from San Juan County

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Boreal Owl2013-72 07/16/2009
Common Redpoll2013-46 02/05/2013