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descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Kit Carson - Cheyenne County
Aliases: Big Sandy Creek Crossing
Ownership: None Listed
Description: The second-largest town in Cheyenne County is also the most productive when it comes to birds. The trees around town make up what is probably the best publicly accessible migrant trap in Cheyenne County, a fact that demonstrates how hard a county this is to bird. But don't despair! Rare birds have been found here, including an Inca Dove one spring, so there is always hope. The best trees are in the southwest quadrant of town, and on the east edge of town north of US 40. The Kit Carson Sewage Ponds, just south of town, are scannable from the east side of the town dump. They can occasionally attract ducks and other waterbirds, and probably make up the most reliable body of water in the county. Just southeast of town on both sides of CR 20 is an enormous prairie dog town with Burrowing Owls.

When birding Kit Carson, do not miss the Big Sandy Creek crossing on CR 20 south of town. "Sandy" is an apt descriptor here, but "creek" is not. Nonetheless, even though there is rarely water here, this spot is by far the best cottonwood forest in the county. All the land is private, so be sure to bird only from the bridge, which will put you at mid-tree level. Look and listen here for Eastern Bluebird, Red-headed Woodpecker, Orchard and Bullock's Orioles, Eastern and Western Kingbirds, House Wren, Yellow Warbler, Great Crested Flycatcher, and migrant flocks in season. The private sagelands south of the creek along the road are home to Scaled Quail, Cassin's Sparrow, Lark Bunting, and even Blue Grosbeak, but again you must bird from the road.

Habitat: Urban/Suburban, Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian, Grassland/Prairie
Directions: Kit Carson is along US-40 where US-287 splits off an heads south, 28 miles west of Cheyenne Wells, 56 miles north of Lamar, and 62 miles SE of Limon. To reach the sewage ponds, coming in on US-40/287, turn right (south) just before crossing Wild Horse Creek and follow the road underneath the railroad tracks to the dump. To reach the Big Sandy Creek crossing, head south on CR 20 from the east edge of town (west of the split of US-40/287). The crossing is in a little over a mile.
Other Wildlife:
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Other Sites in Cheyenne County
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Latest Kit Carson Sightings from eBird


CBRC Records from Kit Carson

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Inca Dove2004-94 11/21/2004
Brown Pelican2011-46 5/11/2011
Fox Sparrow (Red)2010-127 10/8/2010
Mourning Warbler52-96-886/1/1990