Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Tamarack Ranch State Wildlife Area - Logan County
Ownership: None Listed
Description: There are no tamaracks in Colorado, so the name is a mystery, but nevertheless this enormous and varied SWA is probably among the top ten SWAs in Colorado, and certainly not a spot to be missed during the summertime. Tamarack can be frustrating to bird thoroughly, especially the eastern portion where there are multiple large hedgerows that take a lot of time to check, and any of which could be hopping or dead. Northern Cardinal has been seen here, and White-throated and Harris's Sparrows are possible during the winter. Ring-necked Pheasant, Bell's Vireo, Yellow-breasted Chat, Blue Grosbeak, Field Sparrow (especially in the surrounding grassland) and Baltimore Oriole are possible during the breeding season.

The more extensively wooded western portion of the SWA, which includes a large stretch of riverside trees and brush, usually has better birding. This is probably the best place in the state for Baltimore Oriole, along with Bullock's and everything in between. Bell's Vireos are common along the road, and both Northern Cardinal and Red-bellied Woodpeckers can be found in the woods. Look for Eastern Phoebe nesting under the bridge over the South Platte, and for Bobolink in the fields on the south side of the road a mile or so down. The most complicated issue here are the towhees – many people have reported Eastern Towhee from here, but Tamarack is in the middle of the hybrid zone, so be very careful when IDing this species, and be sure to use both visual and aural clues. Tamarack is also the best place in the state to look for Black-billed Cuckoo, but it is rare even here, and can be confused with young Yellow-billed Cuckoo.

Tamarack SWA also includes some large tracts south of I-76, most of which are prairie. A while back Sharp-tailed Grouse and Greater Prairie-Chickens were introduced to this part of the SWA, and some may still be here, but access to this area is tricky and finding the chickens is not easy, even if you decide they are "countable." To get to a traditional site for breeding Cassin's Sparrow, follow CO 55 south of I-76 a while until you get into the sagebrush habitat--the birds can be fairly common here.

Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt
Directions: The best way to reach Tamarack is to take I-76 to exit 149 (the Crook exit) and go north on CO 55 from the exit ramp. To reach the eastern shelterbelts, take a right (east) off of CO 55 onto CR 385 in a little over a mile from the interstate. To reach the western portions along the river, go a little beyond CR 385 and take a left onto an unnamed road that parallels the river. This road goes all the way through to Proctor, but not all of it is on public property.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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Latest Tamarack Ranch State Wildlife Area Sightings from eBird


CBRC Records from Tamarack Ranch State Wildlife Area

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Common Ground Dove25-81-6312/17/1981
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron5-93-195/16/1982 - 5/19/1983
Yellow-crowned Night-Heron5-91-126/17/1989
White Ibis2006-029 4/10/2006 - 4/15/2006
Ladder-backed Woodpecker2012-073 5/25/2012
Eastern Wood-Pewee2014-093 08/02/2014
Eastern Wood-Pewee2015-097 07/19/2015
Eastern Wood-Pewee2016-087 06/03/2016
Eastern Wood-Pewee2016-088 06/03/2016
Eastern Wood-Pewee2017-043 06/10/2017
Alder Flycatcher2008-080 5/28/2008
Alder Flycatcher2014-066 05/25/2014
Alder Flycatcher2019-040 29 May 2019
White-eyed Vireo51-92-775/20/1992
Golden-crowned Sparrow56-82-691/2/1982
Eastern Towhee2014-069 05/25/2014
Eastern Towhee2015-022 02/21/2015
Eastern Meadowlark54-88-416/6/1988
Golden-winged Warbler1998-1165/19/1998
Connecticut Warbler52-96-87 5/27/1996
Kentucky Warbler52-83-505/18/1983
Cape May Warbler52-83-455/20/1983
Scarlet Tanager55-87-845/14/1986