For the Birds.
Within Grand Staircase Escalante National Monument we have over 200 bird species! For all you bird lovers out there, Garfield county has an array of hot spots to get your birding fix.
A great resource on where to scope out the local treasures in the area is ebird.com on Garfield County, UT. Here you will find an extensive list created by local birders like Ryan McDermott, right here in Boulder Town!
- Birds spend most of their time foraging, either finding food for themselves or to offer to a roosting mate or growing hatchlings. One of the most active feeding times is early morning as the sun rises and warms up insects. Late evening is similarly active for feeding birds as they store energy for the night.
- When birds are vocal, birding by ear is much easier. During the spring and summer birds are working to establish territories and attract mates, and they frequently sing in the early morning when sounds carry further and there may be less ambient background noise. Birders who go into the field in the morning are better equipped to take advantage of the sounds birds make to find and identify different species.
In regards to our favorite hotspots in the immediate vicinity:
The Main Pond:
Located right in Boulder Town directly behind Hell’s Backbone Grill
Common Species Found Here: American Coot, Red-winged Blackbird, Pinyon Jay, Cinnamon Teal
Escalante River Trail:
Also in the same parking lot one would use to get to 100 hands Petroglyphs, follow trails directly to the left of right of the creek.
Common Species Found Here: Cedar Waxwing, Turkey Vulture, Wild Turkey, Spotted Towhee
Lower Calf Creek:
The sign for this trailhead is directly off Hwy 12. Popular 6 mile hike, so be conscious of that. Better to get an early start (better for birding anyways) and get your birding fix all along the creek.
Common Species Found Here: Dark-eyed Junco, White-throated Swift, Cliff Swallow, Western Bluebird
6.2 miles down Burr Trail Road you will come across Deer Creek Campground. Parking area and trails all along the creek.
Common Species Found Here: White-crowned Sparrow, Pine Siskin, Violet-green Swallow
10.6 miles down Burr Trail Road you will come across the Gulch. The Burr Trail leaves Long Canyon here at its confluence with it’s sister gorge, the Gulch, and climbs up onto the lower slopes of Boulder Mountain.
Common Species Found Here: Canada Goose, Pinyon Jay, Ash-throated Flycatcher, Broad-tailed Hummingbird
12.4 miles down Burr Trail Road you will find a parking area for Long Canyon. The narrow canyon is enclosed by sheer walls of wingate sandstone which tower hundreds of feet above the the road. Once on the trail, head through the cattle guard and follow the creek for your birding pleasure.
Common Species Found Here: Yellow-rumped Warbler, Dark-eyed Junco, Cassin’s Finch
Head up the winding road of Hell’s Backbone, following ridges and mountain contours throughout the drive up. Halfway along the 38 miles road you will come across a sign for Posey Lake/Pine Creek Road. Follow the sign and park in the picnic area.
Common Species Found Here: Mallard, American Coot, Ruddy Duck, Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Caution: Be conscious what time of year you head up due to snow as well Black Bears have been spotted at the lake! They are more afraid of you then you are of them, but be bear aware.