Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Crow Valley Campground - Weld County
Aliases: Pawnee National Grasslands Work Station, Bidwell Lake
Ownership: Federal - USFS
Description: This campground on the Pawnee National Grasslands (which see) is one of the state's premier migrant traps. It was formerly more productive, but changes in water rights has changed the habitat; whereas water formerly freuquently flowed through Crow Creek, it now rarely does so. However, it is isolated in the middle of the prairie and is bordered on the south and west by nice groves of trees, in places quite thick, with extensive trails and underbrush. Practically any eastern vagrant can be (and has been) seen here. Like other plains migrant traps, it is sometimes hopping and sometimes empty. Be sure to check the Russian-olives and willows just north of the campground (accessed by a small gate at the campground's north edge). Crow Valley is usually unproductive outside migration, but late fall and winter have produced sightings including roosting owls, Varied Thrush, and Common Redpoll. Sometimes mountain birds like Lewis's Woodpecker or Mountain Chickadee wander down to spend some time here. The campground road is closed during the winter, but you can park at the gate and walk in. In late spring and summer, this popular campground can get pretty hectic. Also be aware that Crow Valley can (rarely) have spectacular and dangerous floods when heavy rain swells the creek.

About a mile north of the campground entrance, on the west side of CR 77, is the Pawnee National Grassland Work Station. The small trees around this office can attract migrant passerines, especially sparrows, and they have attracted occasional rarities in winter, including owls, Bohemian Waxwing and Common Redpoll.

The town of Briggsdale itself has very few large trees and is probably safe to skip during migration, but nearby Bidwell Lake is worth checking for shorebirds when it has water.

Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Grassland/Prairie
Elevation: 4800 feet
Directions: Take CO 14 to Briggsdale (60 miles west of Sterling and I-76, and 38 miles east of Fort Collins and I-25), and turn north onto CR 77. The entrance to Crow Valley Campground is 350 yards north of this intersection.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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CBRC Records from Crow Valley Campground

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Black-billed Cuckoo2005-059 5/22/2005
Black-billed Cuckoo2010-085 6/15/2010
Costa's Hummingbird2001-0465/17/2001
Sandhill Crane2015-14728 Mar 2015
Red-bellied Woodpecker2006-044 5/1/2006 - 5/6/2006
Brown-crested Flycatcher2007-076 10/29/2007
Eastern Wood-Pewee2014-057 05/29/2014
Eastern Wood-Pewee2014-136 09/05/2014
Alder Flycatcher2007-086 6/1/2007
Alder Flycatcher2008-079 5/28/2008
Alder Flycatcher2011-111 8/28/2011
Vermilion Flycatcher2009-018 4/15/2009
White-eyed Vireo51-92-205/15/1992 - 5/20/1992
White-eyed Vireo2000-0925/20/2000
Yellow-throated Vireo51-80-67/3/1979
Yellow-throated Vireo51-90-456/20/1990
Yellow-throated Vireo51-92-645/21/1992
Blue-headed Vireo2003-114 9/1/2003
Blue-headed Vireo2016-075 09/02/2016
Philadelphia Vireo51-84-399/1/1984
Philadelphia Vireo2002-1255/19/2002
Gray-cheeked Thrush44-76-725/16/1976
Gray-cheeked Thrush44-92-685/19/1992
Gray-cheeked Thrush44-93-795/17/1993
Gray-cheeked Thrush44-94-505/25/1994
Gray-cheeked Thrush1997-0665/19/1997
Gray-cheeked Thrush1998-1075/19/1998
Gray-cheeked Thrush2002-1265/12/2002
Gray-cheeked Thrush2005-050 5/27/2005
Gray-cheeked Thrush2006-053 5/14/2006
Gray-cheeked Thrush2006-063 5/16/2006
Gray-cheeked Thrush2012-059 4/29/2012
Hermit Thrush2011-072 4/16/2011
Wood Thrush2006-097 6/3/2006
Varied Thrush2001-09010/16/2001
Varied Thrush2006-173 12/18/2006
Varied Thrush2008-111 10/1/2008 - 10/2/2008
Golden-crowned Sparrow1999-16110/1/1999
Golden-crowned Sparrow2010-173 10/15/2010
Eastern Towhee2006-085 5/23/2006
Eastern Towhee2015-113 09/21/2015
Eastern Meadowlark2014-157 09/29/2014
Prothonotary Warbler1998-1295/26/1998
Mourning Warbler52-94-815/26/1994
Mourning Warbler2014-091 05/21/2014
Kentucky Warbler52-92-655/2/1992
Kentucky Warbler1997-1005/30/1997
Bay-breasted Warbler52-74-645/19/1974
Bay-breasted Warbler1998-1289/5/1998
Bay-breasted Warbler2000-1325/24/2000
Bay-breasted Warbler2008-110 10/1/2008
Blackburnian Warbler1998-1225/26/1998
Blackburnian Warbler2000-1265/20/2000
Pine Warbler52-75-1349/12/1975
Yellow-throated Warbler2010-071 4/8/2010-4/10/2010
Prairie Warbler2002-0539/1/2002
Prairie Warbler2010-084 6/8/2010
Grace's Warbler2008-040 5/1/2008
Canada Warbler52-73-176/18/1967
Canada Warbler1998-1425/21/1998
Canada Warbler2006-115 8/26/2006
Canada Warbler2014-161 09/13/2014
Painted Redstart2014-046 05/01/2014
Scarlet Tanager2004-121 8/11/2004