Doudy Draw and the Mesa Trail
- Boulder County
Aliases: Mesa Trail
Ownership: None Listed
Description: These trails, which start just across the road from one another, are two of the most popular birding spots in Boulder. Doudy Draw's main claim to fame is spring migration, although late summer regularly draws wandering Cassin's Kingbirds and Northern Mockingbirds, both rare in Boulder County. In spring, check riparian habitats for all sorts of migrant foothill birds, from towhees to Empids to tanagers, and expect good numbers of Indigo/Lazuli/hybrid buntings and maybe a vagrant eastern warbler. The first nice tangle is on the right (west) side of the trail, a quarter mile from the trailhead. Farther on, the trail crosses the creek, and the riparian habitat is excellent from that point onward for at least the next quarter mile. Upland habitats in this area are good for Say's Phoebe and the like. Bullock's Oriole and Blue Grosbeak can be expected throughout the summer.
Across the road, the riparian area right around the Mesa Trail parking lot can be counted on to deliver many of the same goodies, along with maybe a dipper if the stream is running high. Eastern Screech-Owl can be heard here sometimes after dark or just before dawn. Several trails lead up into the foothills from here, and all can be birdy. This is one of the best places in the county to come hunting for Bushtit or maybe Western Bluebird, and a couple pairs of Northern Pygmy-Owls usually nest up in the conifers--you might be able to whistle one up at any time of year. If you get up near the cliffs, keep an eye and an ear out for nesting Peregrine and Prairie Falcons in addition to Canyon Wrens and a foothill avifauna similar to that of the adjacent Chautauqua Park.
Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Stream, Foothill Shrub, Grassland/Prairie, Ponderosa Forest, Cliff Face
Directions: From Boulder, take Broadway (CO 93) south out of town a few miles to its intersection with Eldorado Canyon Road (CO 170). Turn right (west) on Eldorado Canyon Road. The parking lot for Doudy Draw is on the left (south) in about two miles, and the parking lot for the Mesa Trail is directly opposite it on the right (north).