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Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Jumbo Reservoir State Wildlife Area - Sedgwick County
Aliases: Julesburg Reservoir
Ownership: None Listed
Description: (Contributed by Andrew Spencer and Henry Armknecht): Most people call it Jumbo, but on some maps and signs, it is labeled as Julesburg Reservoir. Whether or not you think the reservoir deserves the name "Jumbo", the birding here certainly does! Jumbo is filled by canal in the winter and drawn down for irrigation during the summer, so water levels can vary widely. The reservoir may be almost dry by late fall. Jumbo can provide great fall shorebird activity due to the drawdown and wide mudflats. Access to Jumbo requires a fee--daily permits are available at self-pay stations for $3.00. If you have a hunting or fishing license, you may purchase an annual permit for $5.00. The reservoir straddles the county line; the western portion of it is in Logan County, the eastern portion in Sedgwick County.

A road entirely circles Jumbo, but actually seeing all the shorebirds from it can be really tough, and requires scanning from all possible viewpoints. The best places to check are usually 1) the southwest corner along CR 68 just east of CR 95 (Logan), 2) the former campground just south of the dam (Sedgwick), 3) the area around the outlet canal along the dam (Sedgwick), 4) the promontory just north of the dam (Sedgwick), and 5) a couple of vantage points along the NW side that require a bit of a walk (Logan). Just about every shorebird that has occurred in Colorado has been seen here, and Jumbo is especially noted as a good place to find Buff-breasted Sandpipers, which when present are usually in the emergent vegetation in the southwest corner.

Many thousands of Snow and Ross's Geese use the lake in the spring, and throughout the winter if there is open water. Greater White-fronted Goose is not uncommon. This remote lake should be studied carefully for rare visitors--any place that has attracted a Ross's Gull (as Jumbo did in 1983) deserves a lot of respect! Jumbo is also a particularly reliable spot for Sabine's Gull in the fall; a trip here often produces multiple individuals. Even some good waders can show up, as three Yellow-crowned Night-Herons demonstrated in 2002.

The timbered area that is a former campground on the southeast side of Jumbo is a good bet for migrating warblers, vireos, etc. Eastern Screech-Owl and Great Horned Owl are resident. While you're landbirding, don't neglect the groves on the west side (some of which are on private property, some of which are not--use good judgment to tell the difference).

Other places to check here include the marshes below the road on the southern part of the reservoir for Yellow-headed Blackbird, rails, and maybe a Marsh Wren. The prairie dog towns northeast and southeast of the lake can be good for raptors, including Golden Eagle and Ferruginous Hawk, especially during the winter, and Burrowing Owl in summer. On the north and southeast sides of the lake there are some high quality grasslands that can have breeding Grasshopper Sparrow, Upland Sandpiper and Dickcissel. Finally, the very long hedgerow to the south of the lake (in Sedgwick County) often has Long-eared Owls roosting in it during the winter, though given how long the row is, finding them can be quite hard.

Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Shortgrass Prairie, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Marsh
Directions: Jumbo is located about a mile north of CO 138 on the Logan/Sedgwick County line, five miles west of the town of Sedgwick. From I-76, take exit 155 and go north on Red Lion Road (CR 93) just over the river to US 138. Turn right (east) and in one mile turn left (north) onto CR 95. Take this north two miles and turn sharply right onto CR 68 to get to the southwest corner of the reservoir, or stay on CR 95 another mile and turn right on CR 70 to get to the north side of the reservoir.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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CBRC Records from Jumbo Reservoir State Wildlife Area

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Black-billed Cuckoo26-90-298/7/1990
Ruddy Turnstone18-75-1035/11/1975
Red Knot2004-128 9/13/2004
Red Knot2012-041 9/2/2011
Buff-breasted Sandpiper19-95-319/1/1995
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2009-086 9/20/2009
Buff-breasted Sandpiper2012-109 9/8/2012
Short-billed Dowitcher1997-0328/27/1997
Red Phalarope2000-0407/19/2000
Parasitic Jaeger22-87-269/6/1985
Parasitic Jaeger2016-076 09/17/2016
Black-legged Kittiwake23-90-2611/22/1990
Black-legged Kittiwake23-94-3511/26/1994
Black-legged Kittiwake2009-011 3/21/2009 - 3/23/2009
Little Gull23-76-485/8/1976
Ross's Gull23-83-324/28/1983 - 5/6/1983
Laughing Gull23-75-816/8/1975
Short-billed Gull2009-009 2/25/2009
Iceland Gull2009-013 3/29/2009
Glaucous-winged Gull23-92-833/31/1989
Great Black-backed Gull2009-008 2/17/2009
Red-throated Loon1-82-3711/29/1980
Red-throated Loon1-84-511/5/1983
Red-throated Loon1999-00211/27/1999
Red-throated Loon2010-067 11/19/2005
Neotropic Cormorant4-86-229/6/1985
Neotropic Cormorant4-90-28/21/1990
Least Bittern2010-063 7/9/2006
Tricolored Heron2008-094 8/8/2008
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron2009-060 8/30/2009
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron2009-084 9/2/2009
Snowy Owl2012-002 1/1/2012
Eastern Wood-Pewee34-90-328/18/1990
Alder Flycatcher2001-0805/19/2001
Vermilion Flycatcher34-95-646/20/1995
Philadelphia Vireo51-83-395/23/1983
Philadelphia Vireo51-83-405/31/1983
Sedge Wren42-76-815/16/1976
Gray-cheeked Thrush44-76-755/29/1976
Prothonotary Warbler52-75-615/11/1975
Canada Warbler2004-093 9/4/2004