Learn the Best Places in Carbon County by Season with Local Birder Palma Jack.
The best thing about birding is you can do it anywhere you travel. It is nice however, to know where some of the local hot spots are when traveling. Hopefully this article will help with that for Carbon County, Wyoming.
March, April and May as the ice and snow melt away; birding hotspots can include Saratoga Lake for returning waterfowl, pelicans and Osprey. Two published sage grouse leks (mating areas) are in Carbon County. The Wyoming Game and Fish publish exact directions and birding etiquette for watching these birds. The Pass Creek lek is 12 miles North of Saratoga and the Upper Red Creek lek is about 7 miles North of Baggs. The grouse are usually there late March and April. Also 25 miles North of Baggs on highway 789 are the Muddy creek wetlands near Dad. There are no facilities in the area, so be prepared.
Year round there are usually golden and bald eagles on the drive from Saratoga to Riverside and Encampment on highway 130. The Riverside town park is a quite small park which usually holds several species including woodpeckers and warblers.
The local cemetery in Rawlins is also a nice place to take a walk after a day of traveling. Great Horned Owls are known to return each year to nest in the cemetery. Other birds include red-shafted flickers; mountain bluebirds; flycatchers; and finches. The town also has a returning breeding population of turkey vultures which soar over the ridges in and around town.
The Sinclair golf course off I-80 has a very nice picnic area next to the North Plate River. Kingbirds, bluebirds, wren, warblers, goldfinch, great blue herons, cormorants, bald and golden eagles and red tailed hawks are just a few of the birds in the area. There are also deer and antelope in the area.
Once the snow clears and the highways open over Snowy Range and Battle Mountain (usually by June) a trip into the forest is always a great birding destination and may reward you with an American Dipper around the Battle Creek Bridge area. And of course with all the sagebrush along the way you can usually find a sage thrasher, vesper sparrow and even a Shrike.
I usually visit most of these sites several times a year, but not to be missed for me is seeing what new bird pops up in my own back yard. Happy Birding!