Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge - Rio Grande County
Ownership: None Listed
Description: Year-round, paved highways around the perimeter of the Monte Vista refuge and an auto tour route through part of the refuge make viewing the waterfowl and wading birds quite easy. Since it is located in the Rocky Mountain Flyway, large flocks of migrating waterfowl are common, with Sandhill Cranes (mostly Greater, some Lesser, and fewer Canadian) drawing many birders. Occasionally American White Pelicans, Willet, and Snow Geese migrate through the refuge, but Ross's Geese are rare. Several of the more common waterfowl (dabbling ducks, teal, and coots) nest here, and rarities such as Greater Scaup have been seen here. Expect to see White-faced Ibis, Snowy Egret, Eared Grebe, Marsh Wren, and Virginia Rail. Bewick's Wren also has been recorded. Great Egret and Cattle Egret are uncommon, whereas American Bittern and Black-crowned Night-Heron are more common than sightings suggest. Among raptors, Golden and Bald Eagle are fairly common, and all of Colorado's common falcons appear occasionally; Short-eared Owl is a resident that is only infrequently seen in the NE portion of the refuge; Long-eared Owl has been reported in the past, but Great Horned Owl is by far the most common owl around the refuge and elsewhere in the area. On open ground, Grasshopper, Sage, and Lark Sparrow appear occasionally. In the wooded parking area on RG 8S Rd, various migrating warblers such as Tennessee and Virginia's gather, particularly in fall. The Alamosa-Monte Vista NWR Complex has a checklist that is available to the public.

Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Marsh, Wet Meadow
Directions: Take CO 15 south of Monte Vista to the refuge auto tour route on the east (signed). Also drive CR 8S along the refuge's southern border, CR 3E on the east, and other county roads in the area.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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Latest Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge Sightings from eBird


CBRC Records from Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Brant (Black)8-92-734/1/1992
Brant (Black)2015-030 04/05/2015
Eurasian Wigeon8-81-104/5/1981
Eurasian Wigeon8-88-294/14/1988
Eurasian Wigeon8-91-173/25/1989
Red Phalarope21-75-645/28/1975 - 6/1/1975
Little Blue Heron5-74-535/26/1974
Little Blue Heron#39515, #395197/5/1988
Scissor-tailed Flycatcher34-89-306/19/1989
Prothonotary Warbler52-96-785/25/1996