Unaweep Seep Natural Area

Unaweep Seep Natural Area

Printable County Checklist

About this Location

A 40-mile drive, from Whitewater to Gateway that hosts nearly 100 species of breeding birds. Begin birding at the bridge over the Gunnison River last several mile after turning off Highway 50. A variety of ducks, swallows, and other water birds congregate here in season. Most of the lowland riparian species can be found in the cottonwoods along the river banks, including Blue Grosbeak, Yellow Warbler, and Bullock's Oriole. New gravel mines a half-mile west of the river promise to be hotspots once mining is complete and they are allowed to fill with water. About 2 miles from the highway a nice riparian strip of cottonwoods line East Creek; these are nice migrant trap, and cliffs across the creek host Canyon Wrens . The road then climbs up through sparse pinyon-juniper woodlands, which host the expected species during the breeding season including Gray Vireo and Ash-throated Flycatcher. After climbing the hill through the PJs, a pullout on the right offers an overlook of the creek; look and listen for Belted Kingfisher, Rough-winged Swallow, and Lesser Goldfinch here. Take a short side trip into Cactus Park for Sage Sparrow, Sage Thrasher, and Brewer Sparrow. The cliffs one half-mile west of the Cactus Park road host to colony of White-throated Swifts. A rich mid-elevation riparian zone extends a quarter-mile or so above and below the first bridge over East Creek. This strip is on BLM land; Cooper's Hawk, Yellow-breasted Chat, and Lazuli Bunting are regular breeders here. Eared Grebes, Canada Geese, and a variety of ducks nest at the two Ponds just west of Unaweep Divide, and Sandhill Cranes can frequently be found in the wetlands between these two ponds. Unaweep Seep is a lush mid-elevation riparian zone that hosts all of the expected species, Including Yellow-breasted Chat (the seep also hosts a nice variety of butterflies including California Sister and Nokomis Fritillary) home. The bridges over West Creek often have nesting American Dippers, and those at 6.7 Road may represent the lowest elevation Dipper nest site in the state. Near Gateway, the road reenters low elevation riparian, which here hosts Western Screech-Owl.

Habitat: Lowland Riparian, Cliff Face, Pinyon-Juniper Forest, Pond, Wet Meadow, Stream

Directions: Five miles south of Grand Junction on US Highway 50, turn southwest on Colorado Highway 141 and start birding.

Acknowledgments: Hotspot information was originally compiled on Birding Colorado, a service of Colorado Field Ornithologists. CFO thanks all the original contributors.

Content from Birding Colorado (Colorado Field Ornithologists)