Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Crow Valley Campground - Douglas 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:
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