Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Big Johnson Reservoir - El Paso County
Aliases: Blue Stem Open Space
Ownership: None Listed
Description: This reservoir is one mile long, from the Southeast to the Northwest corner. It is by far the best large body of water in the county to bird. Unfortunately most of the birding is from a distance, but it is absolutely worth a stop if you want to look at water in the county. Along with all the regular occurring species of duck you can occasionally find Barrow's Goldeneye, Long-tailed Duck and all three Scoters. It hosts Common Loons annually and usually a Pacific Loon or two will stop by in the fall. Both Yellow-billed and Red-throated Loons have been recorded here also. At least 15 species of gull and 7 species of tern have been reported from here. Some years you can find shorebirds here but for the most part shorebirding at this location is difficult due to distance. The grasslands around the reservoir are host to many of the grassland sparrows. There is a prairie dog town that has hosted Burrowing Owls in some years. Scaled Quail can be found near the parking area where there is a pile of broken up concrete. You have a very good chance of finding Lapland Longspurs in the winter if you decide to walk around the reservoir.

Habitat: Reservoir, Grassland/Prairie
Elevation:
Directions: From I-25 take the Academy exit (exit 135) and head east/north to Bradley Road. Take Bradley Road for approximately 4.4 miles to the parking lot at Blue Stem Open Space. Note: Bradley Road changes to Goldfield Drive along the way.
Restrictions/Hazards:
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:
Website:






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CBRC Records from Big Johnson Reservoir

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Tundra Swan2007-13 3/19/2007
Black Scoter1997-1911/8/1997
Black Scoter1999-2811/11/1999 - 11/28/1999
Red-necked Grebe2-82-64/10/1982
Snowy Plover2015-055 05/03/2015
Buff-breasted Sandpiper19-72-378/22/1972
Parasitic Jaeger2010-96 9/11/2010
Little Gull2000-499/25/2000 - 9/27/2000
Laughing Gull2013-172 06/30/2013
Western Gull2014-171 11/30/2014
Least Tern2006-96 6/2/2006
Arctic Tern2014-132 09/05/2014
Royal Tern2004-126 6/17/2004
Yellow-billed Loon2000-43/26/2000 - 4/18/2000
Neotropic Cormorant2009-100 10/22/2009
Glossy Ibis2002-695/4/2002
Baird's Sparrow2000-1539/26/2000