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Birding the Big Horn Basin


Big Horn County

Hot Springs County

Park County

Washakie County


Big Horn County

Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area

Since Bighorn Canyon NRA is a long complex park with several units, a stop at the National Park Service Visitor Center by Lovell at the junction of Highway 310 and 14A is highly recommended. There one can pick up maps of the park and the Yellowtail Habitat as well as information on the trails. The trails follow old roads and cairns from trailheads marked by signs. There are no designated parking areas at the trailheads, but there is ample roadside parking space. More than 200 species of birds have been identified in the BCNRA.
For maps and other information about the BCNRA, go to the "Links of Interest" page of this Web site and click on the Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area link.

Lovell Lakes

These lakes are not actually in Bighorn Canyon NRA, but are located 3.5 miles south of Lovell to the east of Highway 310. Don't be put off by the rim of salts. This alkaline lake is a haven for White Pelicans, ducks, grebes, shorebirds, and Osprey, as well as a variety of marsh birds.

Mason-Lovell Ranch

This collection of old ranch buildings is located in Bighorn Canyon NRA 12 miles east of Lovell on Highway 14A. The site was once the headquarters for the biggest cattle ranch in the Big Horn Basin. The ranch site itself is quite barren since the loss of irrigation rights, but the cottonwood groves around the ranch, and the spring east of the buildings, are often rich in a variety of raptors and desert birds. If the reservoir is low, scan the mudflats along the causeway for shorebirds.

Flicker House Ponds and Marsh

This site is on the Yellowtail Habitat and is managed by the Wyoming Game & Fish Department. Go two miles east of Lovell past the National Park Service Visitor Center. Turn north at the sign pointing to Bighorn Canyon NRA. The road crosses the Shoshone River, which is worth a stop to look for riparian songbirds, but since the woodlands are on private land, there is no access beyond watching from the road.

Three miles after the park turnoff is a sign for the Wyoming Game & Fish, just before the road turns north. At the end of a long driveway, near the Flicker house, you will find a fairly large parking area. The ponds and marshes are located south and east of the Flicker house, with good walking access along the irrigation ditches and levees. This area is rich in ducks, raptors, and marsh birds, including Marsh Wrens and Soras in the spring and early summer.

Yellowtail Habitat

Just north of the Wyoming Game & Fish turnoff , you will find the sign and turnoff to the Yellowtail Habitat. Since the access roads are mostly high in bentonite, the road into the habitat is not recommended in wet weather, but is very passable otherwise.

The Yellowtail Habitat is a mosaic of ponds, marshes, woodlands, agricultural fields, and desert shrublands. The richest sites are near the ponds where waterfowl congregate, but the area is also rich in raptors, songbirds, gamebirds, and mammalian wildlife. If you plan to explore the Yellowtail Habitat, do pick up a map at the NPA Visitor Center because it can be quite confusing without a map.

Horseshoe Bend

This campground and the surrounding area looks like a barren desert, but it is rich in a variety of birdlife. The bare rocky knob north of the campground turnoff is called Sykes Mountain. Canyon Wrens and Golden Eagles are often seen from the Sykes Mountain Trail. The greasewood and rabbitbrush flats near the turnoff and NPS Contact Station are excellent for Common Yellowthroats, Yellow-breasted Chats, Western Tanagers, and other songbirds. The cottonwoods often have Bald Eagles, and other raptors are commonly seen soaring near the cliff around Horseshoe Bend.

The campground and marina area, and the Mouth of the Canyon Trail, are rich in desert birds, including Lark Sparrows and Pinyon Jays. The Mouth of the Canyon Trail is especially interesting early in the morning.

Devil Canyon Overlook

No visitor to the park should miss this spectacular overlook with its view of a 1,000-foot canyon. It is located 8 miles north of Horseshoe Bend and is clearly marked. The overlook area has an active Peregrine Falcon aerie, as well as White-throated Swifts, Violet-green Swallows, and a variety of soaring raptors. Bighorn Sheep often hang out around the Devil Canyon Overlook.

Ewing-Snell Ranch/Layout Creek

Several miles north of Devil Canyon Overlook is the historic Ewing-Snell Ranch. Watch for Mountain Bluebirds and Hungarian Partridge in the woodlands between the Overlook and the Ranch.

Layout Creek wanders through pristine riparian woodlands and juniper from its origin at a series of springs at the top of Layout Creek Canyon. There is parking at the Ranch, and a 3-mile trail to the springs. The area is rich in songbirds, raptors, juniper woodland birds, and occasional Ruffed Grouse, as well as mule deer and a variety of unusual plant communities. Hiking alone up Layout Creek Canyon is not recommended because of the presence of mountain lions in the canyons along the east face of the Pryor Mountains.

Trail Creek / Hillsboro Ranch

This area is another historic ranch located on a creek with a north and south fork. The Trail Creek campground is on the north fork along the road that leads to Barry's Landing. The historic Hillsboro Ranch is located on the south fork. Both areas are rich in songbirds such as Bullock's Orioles, Lazuli Buntings, and Townsend's Solitaires.

There is a walking trail into Hillsboro, and access for the disabled is possible in dry weather. Just stop at the Lovell NPS Visitor Center for the key. It is worth camping at Trail Creek campground to hear and see the songbirds in the early morning during the spring and early summer.

Lockhart Ranch

The paved park road ends at the turnoff to Barry's Landing, but a graded gravel road continues on for another 2.5 miles to the Caroline Lockhart Ranch. This ranch is located on Davis Creek and is another songbird haven, as well as being the most complete of the five historic ranches within the park. Parking is at a wide area in the road by the gate, where you will find a sign and a short (0.1-mile) walking trail into the ranch.

There is a 2-mile loop trail along Davis Creek that offers great views of the Pryor Mountains as well as a variety of plants and birds. The trail originates at the Lockhart garage and follows an historic old road.

North District

The campgrounds and river accesses in the North District around Ft. Smith, Montana, are located in cottonwood bottoms and riparian woodlands. Black Canyon, a boat-in campground, is particularly rich in birdlife including Chukar and Bald Eagles, as well as birds seen in ponderosa pine woodlands. The chokecherry and plum thickets along the Bighorn River shelter a variety of songbirds. Ducks, geese, and raptors are often seen along the river.

~Suzanne Morstad

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Goose Island

Goose Island is located south of the town of Manderson. Take U.S. Highway 20 south of Basin for 10 miles to Manderson. Goose Island is a section of BLM land that straddles the Big Horn River south of the Manderson bridge. Proceed southeast of the bridge about one to one and a half miles. Turn toward the river on an unmarked dirt road. Drive on less than a hundred yards toward the bluff overlooking the river and park here.

Spotting scopes may be used from the bluff, or one may walk down to the Goose Island area, but proceed with caution as there are railroad tracks to cross and barbed wire fences to climb over.

The habitat in this area is riparian and Cottonwood bottoms. This area is a magnet for a variety of bird species, both waterfowl and songbirds. Bald Eagles may be found here in the winter. In the spring, one might expect to find the Spotted Towhee, Northern Oriole, Yellow Warbler, and Gray Catbird.

For more information about this area, contact the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) in Worland, 101 South 23rd Street, or phone 1-307-347-5100.

~Neil & Jennifer Miller

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Harrington Reservoir

Harrington and Wardell Reservoirs are located southwest of the town of Otto. Take U.S. Highway 30 from Basin for 10 miles to Otto. Follow the signage to Wardell/Harrington Reservoirs, about 15 minutes driving time from Otto.

The habitat is sagebrush plains interspersed with irrigated fields. There were 53 species of birds sighted during a survey in May 2000, including a variety of waterfowl and shorebirds, plus raptors and songbirds.

Special birds which might be seen here are Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Prairie Falcon, and Brewer's Sparrow. Snow Geese may be seen in March. Birding is good from March through May.

~Neil & Jennifer Miller

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Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site

Located 40 miles from Basin, and 6 miles northeast of Hyattville off Highway 31 along the western slope of the Big Horn Mountains. Take U.S. Highway 14/16/20 south from Basin to Manderson. At Manderson take Highway 31 toward Hyattville. Follow the signs just before you enter Hyattville.

Habitat types in this area are mountain foothills and riparian areas. The altitude is 4800 feet. Interesting birds found in this zone include Audubon's Yellow-rumped Warbler, Evening Grosbeak, Belted Kingfisher, Lark Bunting, Amercan Dipper, and Western Screech Owl.

The site is open from May 1 through November 4, and the Visitor Center is open from May 1 to Labor Day. The visitor will find campsites, drinking water, fishing, historical features, picnic areas, a playground, restrooms, a nature trail, and the visitor center.

The digs have been filled for preservation purposes, but prehistoric petroglyphs and pictographs remain on the red sandstone cliffs as reminders of the past.

For more information, contact:
Medicine Lodge State Archaeological Site
P.O. Box 62
Hyattville, WY 82428
Phone: 1-307-469-2234

~Neil & Jennifer Miller

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Red Gulch Road Near Shell

Take Highway 14 from Greybull heading toward Shell. About 10 miles out of Greybull (4 miles west of Shell), you will find Red Gulch Road on the south side of the highway. The turnout has a highway sign / marker, and there is a kiosk with information and a caution about taking this dirt road in rainy or muddy conditions.

The Red Gulch / Alkali National Back Country Byway winds through the western foothills of the Big Horn Mountains. The byway trails south for 32 miles to Wyoming State Highway 31, north of Hyattville.

Several Sage Grouse leks are located in this area, and you may also occasionally see Chukars and Prairie Falcons.

For more information, contact:
Worland District Office / Washakie Resource Area
101 S. 23rd. Street
Worland, WY 82401
Phone: 1-307-347-5100

~Neil & Jennifer Miller

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Shell Creek/Adelaide Trail

From Greybull, take Highway 14 to Shell. Continue on up the mountain past Post Creek and Shell Falls to the Paintrock Road turnoff signed "Cabin Creek Campground," "Ranger Creek Campground," and "Shell Ranger Station." (If you see the Antelope Ski Area sign, you have gone too far.) Turn south (right) on Paintrock Road, a graded dirt road, and continue on past Cabin Creek Campground, a total of about 3 miles. On your left will be the Ranger Station. Drive on just past the bridge to the parking area for the Ranger Creek Campground.

The Adelaide trailhead is across the road from the trailhead parking area, which is a hundred yards or so up the road from the Shell Creek Ranger Station. Don't cross the bridge; just follow the signs.

This is wonderful mountain riparian birding in the spring. Sapsuckers are plentiful.

~John McGough

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Shell Canyon/Post Creek

Take Highway 14 east from the town of Shell and you will soon find yourself in Shell Canyon. When you come to Post Creek Campground, continue on about two miles to a burn area on the south side of the road. There are several scenic turnouts on the canyon side of the road.

The burnt area is quite steep and difficult to climb, especially if you're not in shape. This is a very good place to find various woodpeckers.

~John McGough and Neil & Jennifer Miller

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Shell Canyon/Shell Falls

Shell Falls is located about 10 miles east of the town of Shell on Highway 14, and 5 miles west of Burgess Junction. The Interpretive Center's summer hours are 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. There are exhibits, maps, book sales, information, restrooms, and a self-guided trail.

Look under the waterfall for nesting Dippers. Hummingbirds abound in the vicinity of the Interpretive Center, as do the tourists. Continue to the east on Highway 14 into Shell Canyon where you are likely to see more Dippers, Townsend's Solitaires, Western Tanagers, and Mountain Bluebirds.

~John McGough and Neil & Jennifer Miller

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Shell Valley

The arid foothills of the Shell Valley around the town of Shell can be chukar country, and there are several local Sage Grouse leks in the vicinity which are active in the spring.

~John McGough

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Upper Shell Canyon/Granite Creek Campground

Granite Creek Campground above Shell Falls in Upper Shell Canyon is located about 15 miles east of the town of Shell on Highway 14. The road is between Shell Falls and the Ranger Creek Campground turnoff, and is clearly marked. The campground is an excellent place to see birds with a minimum of effort. Avid birders have found Lazuli Buntings there and call it a "real hot spot."

Just above Tornado overlook in the upper canyon is a good place to see Western Tanagers, Mountain Bluebirds, and Dippers.

~John McGough and Neil & Jennifer Miller

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Wardell Reservoir

Harrington and Wardell Reservoirs are located southwest of the town of Otto. Take U.S. Highway 30 from Basin for 10 miles to Otto. Follow the signage to Wardell/Harrington Reservoirs, about 15 minutes driving time from Otto.

The habitat is sagebrush plains interspersed with irrigated fields. There were 53 species of birds sighted during a survey in May 2000, including a variety of waterfowl and shorebirds, plus raptors and songbirds.

Special birds which might be seen here are Common Loon, Great Blue Heron, Prairie Falcon, and Brewer's Sparrow. Snow Geese may be seen in March. Birding is good from March through May.

~Neil & Jennifer Miller

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Hot Springs County

Big Horn River

The town of Thermopolis is located on the Big Horn River flyway, which offers good birding in spring and fall. The river can be accessed through Hot Springs State Park, located at the northern end of Thermopolis, and from several Wyoming Game & Fish public fishing and waterfowl hunting accesses. Numerous highway signs will direct you to the State Park.

Just after you turn east under the railroad overpass and then cross over the bridge near the historic Plaza Hotel, you will see a river walk which, because of the warm water, offers good waterfowl birding even in the winter. This area is primarily riparian habitat along the Big Horn River.

If you continue to drive through the park past the Big Spring, you will come to a cattle guard. Cross the cattle guard and continue on straight where it says, "Buffalo Pasture." At the next cattle guard, there is a street sign saying, "Lower East River Road" which leads to a small subdivision, but before you get to it, you will see a brown sign which will direct you to a Wyoming Game & Fish public fishing and waterfowl hunting access and parking area near the river.

Continuing on past the subdivision, you will be on the Upper East River Road.

The Kirby Ditch access is located approximately 2.7 miles from Hot Springs State Park.

The McCarthy access is 3.5 miles north of Hot Springs State Park on the west side of Upper East River Road.

Wakely access is located off U.S. Highway 20 at mile marker 137.3, drive 0.6 mile east on Shaffer Drive to Wakely Ranch, then travel south 0.4 mile.

Shaffer access is located north of Thermopolis off U.S. Highway 20 at mile marker 138. Turn east onto Sunnyside Lane and follow the road for 1 mile.

Longwell access is located 0.7 mile east of the Shaffer fishing access (see above.) Follow the road 0.7 mile on past the Shaffer access through the Longwell Ranch.

Marino access is 7 miles north of Thermopolis on U.S. Highway 20. Turn east on State Highway 172/Black Mountain Road and go 0.6 mile. Turn south onto the dirt road and go another 0.2 mile to the parking area.

Skelton access is 7 miles north of Thermopolis on U.S. Highway 20. Turn east on State Highway 172/Black Mountain Road and at the 1.0 mile marker, turn north onto Hot Springs County Road 21/Skelton Road and drive another 1.1 mile. (Skelton Road is a small loop road which will take you back to State Hwy. 172.) Most of the land in this area is private.

Sorenson access is 7 miles north of Thermopolis on U.S. Highway 20. Turn east on State Highway 172/Black Mountain Road and at the 1.0 mile marker, turn north onto Hot Springs County Road 21/Skelton Road and drive another 1.2 miles.

Heading south out of Thermopolis, before you enter the Wind River Canyon, there is a Wyoming Game & Fish public fishing and waterfowl hunting access to the east (left) just after you cross the bridge and go past a few houses.

On a field trip in May of 2001, Meadowlark birders saw a total of 42 species of birds by following these fishing and waterfowl hunting access routes.

~Mary Baker and Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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Hot Springs State Park

Take U.S. Highway 20 to Thermopolis. At the intersection of U.S. Highway 20 and Wyoming Highway 120, follow 6th Street to the north and around the curve until you come to the fork in the road by the the high school and the fairgrounds. Take the road to the right, Park Street, and you will be entering Hot Springs State Park. Continue under the railroad overpass, and then cross over the bridge near the historic Plaza Hotel on the north and the Holiday Inn on the south. There is no entrance gate to the Park, and there are no fees to enter the park.

A walkway runs along the river and can be accessed from near the Plaza Hotel, or from just under the hot spring's terraces. The warm water is open year round, and it is often possible to see waterfowl even in the winter.

Continue on to the parking lot beyond the bathouses to the north of the park where the Big Spring is located, and you will find a boardwalk which winds around along the terraces and hot spring pools. This offers good birding as you walk through the park among the large trees.

The park has restrooms, picnic tables and a group cooking/shelter area, boat ramp, river access, buffalo pasture, and hot springs. The habitat is riparian and sagebrush.

If you drive from the Big Spring road over the cattle guard and then turn east (right), you will find some loop roads that will take you through pastures where you may see birds and wildlife. This road is paved for about 3 miles, then becomes a dirt road. The park has a buffalo herd, and baby buffalo are usually born in mid-May.

~Mary Baker and Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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Owl Creek / Hamilton Dome

The area has both sagebrush and riparian habitat. Some of the lands are private, and some are BLM There are no facilities in the area, and the tiny village of Hamilton Dome has no services available.

To reach this area, drive about 8 miles north of Thermopolis on State Hwy. 120, then turn left onto State Hwy. 170. This road goes along Owl Creek where you will see large old cottonwood trees and thickets. You may return to State Hwy. 120 the way you came, or continue on past Hamilton Dome until you complete the loop and are back at State Hwy. 120.

~Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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Wind River Canyon

Wind River Canyon


Wind River photo credit and thanks to Dolores and Walter Van Dusen.

The Wind River Canyon is located on U.S. Highway 20 between the towns of Shoshoni and Thermopolis. These are Indian lands, and you cannot fish without a special permit, or trespass without permission. Access is limited to the turnouts on the public right-of -ways. The habitat is riparian with junipers. Waterfowl are seen on the river in all seasons, with the greatest variety in early spring and again in the autumn.

Drive south 4 miles out of Thermopolis on U.S. Highway 20 to the "Wedding of the Waters" access on the west side of the highway, where the Wind River becomes the Big Horn River. There you will find a parking lot, restrooms with handicap access, interpretive sign, and boat launch.

Continue south on U.S. Highway 120 for a worthwhile trip through the Wind River Canyon. There are 18 turnouts on the west, or river, side of the road, and 3 more on the east side. Some turnouts are better than others for viewing waterfowl on the river.

At the south end of the canyon, about 17 miles south of Thermopolis, there are two State Campgrounds, and as you continue on south, you will enter Boysen Reservoir State Park. There you will find campgrounds, picnic areas, restrooms, and a boat launch. There are a number of roads that give access to the reservoir, and opportunities to see Canada Geese, ducks of all kinds, Common Loons, swallows, and other birds which are found near water. This is a fee area administered by the Wyoming Parks and Recreation Department.

~Mary Baker and Dolores & Walter Van Dusen.

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Park County

Clark / Beartooth Front Foothills

Vegetation:  Sage and prairie transition to scrub and pine forest.

Directions:  The foothills of the Beartooth Mountains lie north of the Clark's Fork Canyon and can be accessed by the Little Rock Trailhead. Take Road 8RA north off of 8VC and follow it to its end. High clearance vehicles are a must to reach this trailhead which is the start of a strenuous hike to Deep Lake, or a mellower hike north along the Front Range to the Bennett Creek area. Another access to the area is from the north, on Line Creek, which is reached by traveling to the Forest boundary on 1AB. A North Bennett Creek 7.5 minute USGS topographical map will be your best guide.

Birds and Fauna:  Three riparian areas are north of the Clark's Fork: Littlerock Creek, Bennett Creek and Line Creek. The foothills of the Beartooths afford a transition from the plains and habitat that is diverse in bird life and animals. The riparian and foothill areas have a wide variety of the Basin's regulars in every season. Specially appreciated are Mountain Bluebirds, Lazuli Buntings, Rufous and Ruby-throated Hummingbirds, Rock Wrens, Violet-green Swallows, White-throated Swifts, Pinyon Jays, Clark's Nutcrackers, Gray Jays, Northern Flickers, Greater Sage-Grouse, Blue Grouse, Chukars, Townsend's Solitaires, Dark-eyed Juncos, towhees, Common Nighthawks, Common Poorwills, as well as the Basin's usual raptors. Long-billed Curlews, Wilson's Snipe and White-tailed Deer can occasionally be seen in and near the riparian areas. On the south facing cliffs, Mountain Goats winter until July. All the usual Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem mammals (Wolves and Grizzly Bear included) are present and use the Front Range as a north-south corridor.

~Ken and Kathy Lichtendahl

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Chapman Bench

Vegetation:  Short grass/sagebrush prairie.

Landscape:  Very gently sloping bench land.

Birds:  The usual Wyoming birds of open, natural landscapes are present here, but probably the ones of most interest for this particular site are the Long-billed Curlews, Mountain Plovers, and McCown's Longspurs. These birds are most reliably seen from late April to late August, at which time they begin their southward migration. The best time to see the Long-billed Curlew nuptial flight is the very end of April to the first of May, shortly after they arrive.

Directions:  About 20 to 30 miles north of Cody on State Highway 120. View from numerous pullouts on either side of the highway.

~Chuck Neal

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Clark / Clark's Fork Canyon area

Vegetation:  Riparian transition from cottonwoods on the reach of the river out of the canyon to coniferous scrub pines as you enter and hike the canyon bottom.

Landscape:  The Clark's Fork of the Yellowstone is Wyoming's only "Wild and Scenic River." The designation is officially from the Shoshone Forest boundary upstream. However, the BLM access as well as several miles downstream on the reach of the river are just as wild and special as the canyon itself. The canyon trailhead is the start of the Morrison Jeep Trail which ends at Long Lake on the Beartooth Highway. From the end of the road, the first five miles are a slight, steady grade on the canyon floor. The riparian area is scrub coniferous and sage bottom land with the canyon walls rising through multiple climatic zones, attracting a varied bird and animal population both winter and summer.

Directions:  From Cody travel thirty miles north on Hwy. 120 and turn west on 1AB toward Clark. Travel west about three miles and then bear left on 8VC toward the canyon. The road will end eight miles later at the Canyon Trailhead. A parking area is available at the road's end; however if you have a high clearance vehicle, you can travel a little farther on the extremely rough two-track which parallels the river. The reach area outside of the canyon is accessed to the south side of 8VC about 1/2 mile before the road ends at the well-marked BLM fishing access sign. Follow the gravel road to the fishing access. The canyon area can be, and usually is, extremely windy, so pick a very calm day!

Birds and Fauna:  The canyon starts the western transition out of the Basin and the eastern perimeter of the Greater Yellowstone Ecosystem. This transition makes for a greater probability of surprises in both bird life and mammals. The cottonwood bottom land and scrub coniferous canyon area afford migratory stopover to the full range of the Basin's waterfowl and songbirds. In the winter months you are likely to see dippers in the river as well as otters that move out of the Beartooths and downstream to open water. The south facing canyon walls are winter home to many of the Beartooth's Mountain Goats and Bighorn Sheep. They may stay around until July due to last green-up conditions at their 9,000 - 11,000 ft. summer range. Take the one hour hike to Bridle Veil Falls in the canyon and if you don't spot the goats on the cliffs above, look for their prints beside the stream along the way.

~Ken and Kathy Lichtendahl

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Clark / Clark's Fork Riparian Area

Vegetation:  Deciduous riparian dense shrubs and some trees, e.g. Skunkbush, Water Birch, Wild Rose, Willow, Narrowleaf Cottonwood.

Landscape:  Clark's Fork river bottom.

Birds:  This site is of most interest because of its neotropical migratory songbirds such as Yellow Warblers, MacGillivray's Warblers, Yellow-breasted Chats, Spotted Towhees, Gray Catbirds, Brown Thrashers, and others. The birds are most reliably seen from late May to late August.

Directions:  About 30 miles north of Cody on State Highway 120, turn west off the highway at the last fishing access before dropping off Chapman Bench. The area can be best viewed from the rim of the bench itself. Caution: The dense riparian shrub community supports an excellent rattlesnake population.

~Chuck Neal

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Clark / Hogan & Luce Reservoirs Loop

The Hogan & Luce Reservoirs Loop is a good day trip out of Cody for the whole family, offering picnic and fishing opportunities, as well as birdwatching.

From Cody, take 16th Street north from Sheridan Ave. (the main downtown street) for 0.5 mile. Turn left on State Highway 120 at the sign for "Belfry." Continue north on Hwy. 120 for 18 miles (mile marker 118) to Road 7RP on the left hand side of the highway.

Road 7RP is a gravel road that winds through the foothills of the Beartooth Mountains and offers some breathtaking views. It travels along Pat O'Hara Creek for much of the way, until the creek empties into the Clark's Fork River. The vegetation is a mixture of sagebrush, hayfields, and dogwood in the creek bottom.

At 3.3 miles in from the highway, the road crosses Pat O'Hara, then begins to parallel it: this is a favored hunting area of Northern Harriers. At 4.7 miles, take the turnoff to Hogan and Luce Reservoirs at the Game & Fish Access sign. Continue on 0.75 mile to the parking area on the north side of Hogan Reservoir where you will find picnic tables and a restroom.

Grab your binoculars and scan the lake for ducks. You may be lucky and see migrating Trumpeter Swans in the spring and fall. Migratory warblers also like the pines along the shore.

Before you stop for your picnic lunch, take the 0.25 mile hiking trail to Luce Reservoir. It is a flat, easy walk to this catch-and-release, artificial-flies-only, fishing area. (Hogan is a general regulations fishing area, allowing you to keep six trout, with only one over 20 inches.) You should find more waterfowl and shore birds at Luce.

After your stay at the reservoirs, continue north on Road 7RP watching for Northern Flickers and Mountain Bluebirds in the trees and on the fencelines. At 6.2 miles, take a right on Road QT. Use your scope to spot waterfowl on the private lake just past the intersection. At mile 9.0, Road 7RP rejoins QT just before Pat O'Hara empties into the Clark's Fork. At mile 9.5 you can see the Beartooth Audubon Center across the river. Stop at mile 9.7 to look for waterfowl and raptors at the small pond on your right. At mile 11.0, the river runs right next to the road; this is a good spot to pull over to check for ducks.

Road 7RP then climbs away from the river and travels across a sagebrush plateau for another mile, a good place to spot Horned Larks. The road rejoins Highway 120 at mile marker 125. You can then turn right (south) back to Cody, or left to continue on to Clark.

~Mary Klein

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Cody / Alkali Lake & Beck Lake

Vegetation:  Cattails, Rushes, Sedges, Salt Grass, Russian Olive, Greasewood.

Landscape:  Lakes surrounded by gently undulating open grass and sagebrush.

Birds:  Virtually all waterfowl and shorebirds that pass through the Cody area will be present at some time on these lakes. Trumpeter Swan, Tundra Swan, Canada Geese, Snow Geese, and both diving and dabbling species of ducks: Grebes, Common Loons, shorebirds such as American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, White-faced Ibis, Marbled Godwits, etc. Best viewing is from April through May, then again in fall until freeze up.

Directions:  Along U.S. Highway 14, 16, 20 on the eastern edge of Cody from K-Mart to the Airport. You may pull well off the highway onto the shoulders to view the birds, and you will find one pullout and parking area created especially for birders.

~Chuck Neal

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Newton Lakes

Fins and Feathers are found in this recreation area located a short distance north of Cody. Take Wyoming Highway 120 north, and beginning from the bridge over the Shoshone River, travel 2.9 miles until you reach County Road 7WC, where you will see a sign saying "Cody Shooting Complex." Turn west on road 7WC, a paved road, and follow it for 2.0 miles until you see the Newton Lakes sign on the north side of the road. Traveling the Newton Lakes road, the first turn to the right will take you to East Newton Lake, while continuing without turning will take you to West Newton Lake.

Both lakes have ample parking, and both have wheelchair accessible rest rooms. In addition, East Newton has a cement walkway which leads from the handicapped parking area to the rest room and to a wheelchair accessible fishing pier. West Newton has two picnic tables, but neither lake has potable water nor fire rings. When birding at the Newton Lake recreation area, having a rod and reel packed along with the binoculars and bird books is a great idea.

Bird watchers can find an assortment of songbirds at Newton Lakes. Red-winged Blackbirds, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, American Robins, wrens, and the occasional Brown-headed Cowbird are visible daily.

Game birds such as Greater Sage-Grouse, Gray Partridge, Chukar, and a few Ring-necked Pheasant hang out on the mountainous hillsides north of Newton Lakes. Rumor has it that Wild Turkey may soon be inhabiting Rattlesnake Mountain, so these game birds might soon be part of the scenery, especially when the grasshoppers are out.

Raptors are prevalent. Bald Eagles, Golden Eagles, Red-tailed Hawks, Barn Owls, and Cooper's Hawks ride the thermals as they search for prey in the water or along the vast greenbelt surrounding the recreation area.

Waterfowl and shorebirds can be seen year round as well. Double-crested Cormorants, American White Pelicans, Mallards, teal, Gadwall, Canada Geese, sea gulls, terns, and American Coots are common sights. Less common are sightings of Ruddy Ducks.

These are just a few of the avian creatures found in the Newton Lake sinkhole country. One might be lucky enough to see Northern Flickers, Downy Woodpeckers, bluebirds and jays that make the trip downwind from Rattlesnake Mountain, too. During migration, some unusual sightings have been made, so keep an especially sharp eye out if you're in the area in the spring or fall. Whatever your viewing pleasure, watching songbirds, waterfowl and other birds can pass the time while fishing for the wily, and big, trout that are the underwater residents of the lakes.

East Newton Lake is managed as a Trophy Fishery by the Wyoming Game and Fish Department. Flies and lures only are allowed on this lake. The limit is one trout over 20 inches, but most anglers practice catch-and-release whereby the trout keep getting larger! No bait is allowed in East Newton Lake.

West Newton Lake is managed as a Put-and-Take fishery. This means that the Wyoming Game and Fish Department plants catchable Yellowstone Cutthroat Trout that have been raised in a fish hatchery. A six trout limit, one of which can be larger than 20 inches, applies at West Newton Lake, and flies, lures or bait are legal on this lake.

~Tim Wade, Fishing Pro

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North Fork of the Shoshone River

There are some great campgrounds located west out of Cody in the Shoshone National Forest. Take U.S. Highway14,16,20, also known as the North Fork Highway, and watch for the campground signs. The campgrounds themselves have many species of birds. This is also the highway you take to access the north side of Buffalo Bill Reservoir and the State Campground.

• Elk Fork Campground
Drive up the North Fork until you are in the Shoshone National Forest. Watch for the North Fork Campground sign and turn into the campground. Go to the south end of the road past the horse corrals and cross Elk Fork Creek. In the summer, you will have to wade the creek. (If you can't get across the creek, go back to the highway and cross the creek on the bridge and travel south on the west side of the creek.) Go south down the old dirt road where you will find lots of aspen, cottonwood, and spruce trees. The road continues on for 2 miles.

Birds you might see, depending on the time of the year, are woodpecker, flicker, jay, Clark's Nutcracker, crow, raven, chickadee, nuthatch, robin, Townsend's Solitaire, Ruby-crowned Kinglet, Bohemian and Cedar Waxwing, Western Tanager, Lazuli Bunting, finches (Purple, Grey-crowned Rosy, and Black Rosy), Pine Grosbeak, Common Redpoll, Pine Siskin, American Godlfinch, Red Crossbill, Oregon Junco, Mountain Bluebird, Golden Eagle, sparrows, and various hawks.

• Buffalo Bill Reservoir
Drive out the North Fork highway, U.S. 14,16,20 until you go through the tunnels. You will be at the dam area and there is a parking lot on the south side of the road by the Visitor Center. Continue on to the west and there will be a State Park with campgrounds, a boat launch, restrooms, picnic areas, and parking. The shallower end of the reservoir at the west end is often productive for a variety of waterfowl. Depending on the time of year, one may find Canada Geese, Am.White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, grebes, loons, seagulls, various ducks, and Golden Eagles.

• North Fork of the Shoshone River Fishing Access
On the west end of Buffalo Bill Reservoir, Gibb's Bridge crosses the North Fork of the Shoshone River at the mouth, going south from the North Fork highway. That road T's into County Road 6FU. From there, go west along the dirt road approximately 1 to ½ miles until you hit a fishing access on the north side of the road. Drive down to the Shoshone River and you will come to a large grove of cottonwoods and open sagebrush flats.

This area is best late spring and summer. Birds you might find here are Bald Eagles, dippers, flickders, woodpeckers, crows, ravens, meadowlarks, sparrows, robins, swallows, ducks, and hawks.

~Jim McNiece

• Lower North Fork Riparian Area
Vegetation:  Deciduous, woody riparian trees and shrubs, e.g. Narrowleaf Cottonwoods, Willows, Red-osier Dogwood, Chokecherry, etc.

Landscape:  North Fork river bottom.

Birds:  This area is most interesting because of the rich diversity of neotropical migratory song birds such as numerous warblers, several vireos, orioles, Hermit Thrush, Veery, and others. These birds are most reliably seen from late May to late August.

Directions:  Any of the riparian deciduous areas along U.S. Highway 14,16,20 from the east border of the Shoshone National Forest for about 10 miles into the forest.Caution: This area is occasionally used by grizzly bears during spring and fall (more uncommonly throughout the summer.)

~Chuck Neal

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Oregon Basin / Loch Katrine & Wiley Lake

Vegetation:  Cattails, Rushes, Sedges, Greasewood, Sagebrush, upland prairie grasses.

Landscape:  Loch Katrine is the relic of a much larger Pleistocene lake bed, currently maintained by oil field discharge water; Wiley Lake is maintained as an irrigation reservoir. They are surrounded by a grassland/sagebrush plant community which is heavily developed as an oil field.

Birds:  Virtually all waterfowl and shorebirds that pass through the Cody area will be present at some time at these lakes. Trumpeter Swan, Tundra Swan, Canada Geese, Snow Geese, and both diving and dabbling species of ducks: Grebes, Common Loons, shorebirds such as American Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, White-faced Ibis, Marbled Godwits, etc. In addition to these birds, this is one of the better sites near Cody to see the Black-bellied Plovers in May and again in August and September. This is an excellent shorebird area. Burrowing Owls are often seen in the prairie dog colony southeast of Loch Katrine. The Peregrine Falcon, Bald Eagle, and Golden Eagles are also seen here. Rough-legged Hawks are regulars in the winter months. Best overall viewing for all species is from April through May, and again in fall until freeze-up or "dry-up."

Directions:  Drive about 10 miles east of Cody on U.S. Highway 14,16,20 and turn south on the Oregon Basin Road. Follow the blacktop to Loch Katrine, about 4 miles. Stay on the blacktop through Oregon Basin, about another 4 miles, to Wiley Lake. Turn on the two-track up the hill to view Wiley Lake.

~Chuck Neal

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Powell / Polecat Bench

Located north of Powell. From Colter Avenue (US Hwy. 14A), turn north on Absaroka Street. After the second four-way stop sign, continue straight ahead for eight miles on Wyoming Highway 295 (Airport/Elk Basin Road) to the top of Polecat Bench.

Driving east on any of the oilfield roads leading off Hwy. 295 provides access to a large portion of BLM land on Polecat Bench.

Some birds you may see in this area are Sage Grouse, Sage Thrashers, Lark Buntings, Golden Eagles, and, if you are lucky, Mountain Plover.

~John Roland

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Ralston Reservoir

Vegetation:  Cattails, Rushes, Sedges, Greasewood, Sagebrush, Willows, Cottonwoods, Russian Olive.

Landscape:  Irrigation reservoir set in mixture of nearly level to gently rolling farmlands and natural vegetation.

Birds:  Virtually all waterfowl and shorebirds that pass through the Cody area will be present at some time at this reservoir. The Peregrine Falcon is seen here during periods of migratory bird concentrations. In addition to those species listed under the Cody / Alkali & Beck Lake entry, this is the best area anywhere near Cody to see and hear large concentraations of Sandhill Cranes. They begin arriving in late March, as many as several hundred in early April in farmlands around the reservoir, concentrated again in late September and early October to the number of several hundred. A few Sandhill Cranes will stay and nest at Ralston Reservoir. A large number of cranes may be seen on the west side of the reservoir. There are also occasional raptors.

Directions:  (Located just west of Ralston.) Drive about 18 miles northeast of Cody on U.S. Alternate Highway 14 (the Powell Highway) to Lane 12, a gravel road on the left (west) side of the road just before entering the village of Ralston. The gravel road leads to the joint-use WY G&F, Bureau of Reclamation, and Irrigation District parking area by Ralston Reservoir, about 0.75 mile. There is a restroom located at the parking area.

Cross the foot bridge over the irrigation canal to the observation building.

~Chuck Neal, with some additional information from John Roland

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Shoshone River / Paul Stock Nature Trail

Vegetation:  Deciduous riparian woody begetation and grass/sagebrush. Cottonwoods, Russian Olive, Willows, Silver Buffaloberry, Skunkbush, Greasewood, Wild Rose, etc.

Landscape:  Shoshone river flood plain and low terraces.

Birds:  This site is of interest throughout the year because of its ease of access. The usual neatropical migratory birds use this area during spring and fall migrations such as warblers, vireos, orioles, and thrushes. Such birds as American Robins, Black-capped and Mountain Chickadees, and Song Sparrows are often here throughout the winter. The Mountain Bluebird is often seen here in spring and summer. There are a number of waterfowl in the open Shoshone River throughout the winter such as Canada Geese, Mallards, Gadwalls, Green-wing Teal, Common Goldeneye, and Common Merganser.

Directions:  The Paul Stock Nature Trail is below West Park Hospital. Start out of Cody on Wyoming Highway 120 (the Belfry Highway), turn left at the only road before crossing the Shoshone River bridge, and drive west on River View Drive to the trailhead.

~Chuck Neal

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Southfork of the Shoshone River / Trailhead

A trip up the Southfork from Cody can be a rewarding birding and spectacular viewing experience for everyone, no matter what the season of year. However, unlike the North Fork Shoshone River Area (East Entrance to Yellowstone National Park), the Southfork road dead-ends approximately 40 miles south from Cody at the Shoshone National Forest Cabin Creek Trailhead, across from the Majo Ranch Headquarters. You must return to Cody along the same general route, unless you are proceeding further toward or into the Washakie Wilderness along a BLM or Forest Service trail. There are several trails, primarily in the upper Southfork area. A few noteworthy side excursions by vehicle are also possible. These include trips to the Shoshone Forest Southfork Ranger Station / Work Center Area, a trip up the Carter Mountain Road to Long Park (not identified on many maps), and a trip along the Lower Southfork Road.

Also be aware that much of the land along the Southfork River and Southfork Road is in private ownership, and public picnic areas and campgrounds are few. Deer Creek campground, about 37 miles up from Cody on the Shoshone National Forest, offers primitive camping (Donation fee only -- haul out your own trash) and is open in winter. Drinking water is unavailable, but Deer Creek runs nearby. Restroom facilities are available at the Deer Creek site as well as Twin Creek, Ishawooa, and Boulder Basin trailheads.

Caution:  Grizzly bears use parts of this valley, particularly during the spring, early summer, and fall seasons. Birders and other outdoor users are encouraged to be alert and carry bear pepper spray as a safety precaution. This product is available from several retail outlets in Cody.

Vegetation: Plant species and vegetation community types are highly variable, depending on the specific location within the Southfork Valley. Common types include irrigated pastures and hay meadows, Narrowleaf Cottonwood, willow, Red-osier Dogwood, Buffalo berry and other deciduous shrubs along the riparian areas of the Southfork Shoshone River and tributaries; sagebrush, grass, and forbs in the drier lower benches, flats, and mountain foothills; and juniper woodlands merging into mixed coniferous forest (lodgepole pine, Douglas-fir, and Engelmann spruce) of more mesic habitats at higher elevations.

Landscape: Southfork Shoshone River and tributary bottomlands; mountain foothills, ridges, benches and flats grading into steeper mountainous country as elevation increases. The main Southfork Valley is relatively wide in the lower end near Buffalo Bill Reservoir, but becomes much narrower in the upper end above the confluence of Ishawooa Creek with the Southfork Shoshone River.

Birds and other Wildlife: The diversity of habitats makes for a diversity of birds and other wildlife. Along the southern shores of Buffalo Bill Reservoir and the water bodies behind the dust abatement dikes (lower Southfork loop road), a variety of waterfowl and other water associated species may be present, particularly during the fall and spring migrations. Canada Geese, grebes, American White Pelicans, Double-crested Cormorants, mergansers, seagulls, various species of dabbling and diving ducks, and shorebirds are all possibilities. Keep your eyes and ears alert for Sandhill Cranes in the open fields and meadows also during migration.

The Lower Southfork loop road, as well as other sites in the valley, is also a good spot for Rough-legged Hawks during the winter. Our National symbol, the majestic Bald Eagle, is another large raptor that nests in the valley and can be seen at other times and places along the river when and where open water is available. Along the drive you could also see Golden Eagles, Peregrine Falcons, Prairie Falcons, Red-tailed Hawks, Northern Harriers, and the tiny but beautiful American Kestrel. If you drive up the Carter Mountain Road through open woodlands and into the coniferous forest, Cooper's, Sharp-shinned, and Goshawks could be seen along with Gray Jays, Mountain Bluebirds, Clark's Nutcracker, and Mountain Chickadees.

The Twin Creek Trailhead and Southfork Ranger Station / Work Center sites are two excellent possibilities for public access to deciduous riparian areas and the many bird species associated with such sites. Yellow-breasted Chat, Bullock's Oriole, Lazuli Bunting, and various species of warblers, vireos, sparrows, and flycatchers may be seen at these sites during the May through August period.

Some large burned-over areas formerly consisting of juniper and sagebrush / grass occurs at the end of the road and the Cabin Creek trailhead. This is a good site to look for species associated with this kind of habitat, such as the Mountain Bluebird.

While driving along the many pastures and hay meadows and enjoying the spectacular scenery, don't forget to look for Wyoming's state bird, the Western Meadowlark, singing from a fence post or power pole.

In addition to the many bird species you might see on a drive up the Southfork, the Upper Southfork valley also supports on of the largest wintering populations of bighorn sheep in the lower 48 states. Sheep can usually be viewed easily from your car from October to June. Elk, antelope, and mule deer, and on rare occasions, a moose, could also be spotted. With this abundant amount of prey, keep your eyes peeled for mountain lions in the Upper Southfork and for Grey wolves which were reintroduced into Yellowstone Park in 1995 and have moved into the surrounding adjacent environments.

Directions: Proceed west out of Cody a short distance past Wal-Mart until you reach the junction of the Southfork Road (State Highway 291 and Park County Road 6WX.) It is immediately across the road from the Lockhart Inn Bed and Breakfast. Take a left turn and stay on this road unless you decide to take one or more of the side excursions. It is a paved route for about 30 miles, with the last 6 or 7 miles being graveled.

Approximately 9 miles up from the beginning of the Southfork Highway in Cody, is the turnoff to the right for the Lower Southfork Road (County Road 6QS.) This route traverses lower bottomland country along an irrigation canal, the south arm of Buffalo Bill Reservoir and the dust abatement reservoirs, crosses over the river, and eventually loops back into the main Southfork Road. It is about 5 miles in length and is paved all the way.

About 19 miles up the Southfork is the turnoff to the left for the Carter Mountain Road leading to the higher elevation mountain meadow on the north side of Carter Mountain known as Long Park. The road is a primitive dirt road, is rough in certain spots, and may not be suitable for low-profile vehicles, or during inclement weather. Local inquiry is advised from the Forest Service Wapiti Ranger District office located in Cody a short distance past Wal-Mart before reaching the Southfork turnoff.

About 34 miles up the main Southfork Road (2 miles past the end of the paved road) is the turnoff to the left (Hunter Creek Road, County Road YXD) which crosses over the river and traverses the eastern side of the valley around to the Southfork Ranger Station / Work Center and beyond. This route is paved a short distance, then turns into an improved graveled route.

~Dave Henry

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Willwood - Wyoming Game & Fish Public Access

Located south of Powell along the Shoshone River. From Colter Avenue (US HWY 14A) in Powell, turn south on Fair Street, drive past the V.F.W. building and continue south on Road 9, the "Willwood Road." Turn left just before the bridge crossing the Shoshone River and continue to the G&F Access Area.

Some birds to observe: various waterfowl and shorebirds on the ponds and along the river. Sora, Common Snipe, yellowlegs, and Wilson's Phalarope. Also, Bullock's Oriole, Gray Catbird, Least Flycatcher, Marsh Wren, and Yellowrumped Warbler. Best time to observe is 7:00 to 10:00 a.m.

Note by John Roland: This habitat is being devastated by four-wheelers and four-wheel-drive vehicles, resulting in fewer numbers of birds, fewer species, and fewer nesting birds. Landowners excepted, restricting the access area to foot traffic and non-motorized bicycle would enhance the enjoyment of the access area and help protect the birds and other wildlife.

~John Roland

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Yellowstone National Park

The east entrance of Yellowstone National Park is located just 50 miles west of Cody on Highway 14-16-20. The Park is a birder's paradise. According to author Terry McEneaney in his Birds of Yellowstone, "Two hundred and seventy-nine species of birds have been observed in Yellowstone National Park since it was established in 1872."

Yellowstone is made up of many different habitats, and Mr. McEneaney discusses the types of birds one may expect to find in these diverse environments. At the back of the book, a Yellowstone Bird Checklist and Ecological Charts indicate the times one is most likely to see a particular specie, the life zone(s) in which it may be found, the best areas of the Park in which to find it, and one's chances of observing it.

Rather than try to describe birding locations within the Park, the visitor is advised to try to find a copy of Mr. McEneaney's book, Birds of Yellowstone; Copyright 1988 by Terry McEneaney; Published by Roberts Rinehart, Inc. Publishers (now Rowman & Littlefield.)

~Joyce Cicco

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Washakie County

Castle Gardens

This is a badlands and desert habitat area administered by the BLM. You will find a restroom and picnic tables, but no drinking water.

To reach Castle Gardens from Worland, drive about 24 miles east on U.S. Highway 16, then exit to the south at the Castle Gardens sign. Then immediately turn right at the next sign onto a dirt-gravel road. Proceed west for several miles, then turn south onto a dirt road signed "Rome Hill Road." Proceed several miles to the south, then turn west at the sign for Castle Gardens. This is a beautiful geological area, and popular with Mountain Bluebirds, Pinyon Jays, and Rock Doves.

~Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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Duck Swamp

Duck Swamp is located about 6 miles north of Worland. From the junction of U.S. Highways 16 and20, take U.S. Highway 16 west across the Big Horn River and turn north onto State Hwy. 433, which runs along the west side of the Big Horn River.

Proceed north about 6 miles to the Jim Bridger Memorial rest stop, a handicap accessible area, with paved trails, benches, restroom, gazebo, cooking facilities, and drinking water. You may access the Duck Swamp by crossing a footbridge over the canal. The habitat in this area is marsh.

For more information on this area, contact the BLM District office in Worland. Phone (307) 347-5100.

~Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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Leigh Creek and Tensleep CreekCampgrounds

These campgrounds of the Big Horn National Forest are in riparian habitat, with large trees. Leigh Creek Campground is in a deciduous-coniferous area along Ten Sleep Creek, near the Wyoming G&F Wigwam Fish Hatchery. Ten Sleep Campground is in a tall deciduous area with a few conifers. You will find camping, restrooms, water, fishing, and birding. Both campgrounds, with their large trees, provide excellent birding opportunities, particularly in the spring.

For Leigh Creek Campground, drive east from Ten Sleep on U.S. Hwy. 16 for several miles, until you come to State Hwy. 435. Turn south onto State Hwy. 435 at the sign for Wigwam Fish Hatchery and Campgrounds and continue about one mile, before you reach the hatchery.

Ten Sleep Campground is about one-and-one-half miles east on State Hwy. 435, past the Wigwam Fish Hatchery.

For more information, contact:
Big Horn National Forest District in Sheridan
Phone: (307) 672-0751.

~Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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South Big Horn Mountains

The South Big Horn Mountains are within the territory of Meadowlark Audubon, but the reader should be aware that they are a 300-mile round trip away from Cody. For more information about roads, facilities, camping, etc., in the South Big Horn Mountains, contact:
the Big Horn National Forest District in Sheridan
Phone: (307) 672-0751.

U.S. Forest Service Road 18

Road 18 is the old highway through Ten Sleep Canyon. Warning:  This one-lane road is narrow, with several switchbacks, and few places to turn around. The old blacktop is gone. It is a poorly maintained gravel road. This road may be closed and gated for cattle grazing. It is suggested that the Forest Service be contacted for information about closure and road conditions.

U.S. Forest Service Road 18 may be accessed at the base of Ten Sleep Canyon, or at the top of the canyon. To access from the base of the canyon, drive east from Ten Sleep on U.S. Hwy. 16 for several miles. Turn right onto State Hwy. 435 toward the Wigwam Fish Hatchery and Leigh Creek and Ten Sleep Creek Campgrounds. Immediately past the Ten Sleep Campground, U.S. Forest Service Road 18 begins to climb up Ten Sleep Canyon. It provides spectacular views of the canyon, and some birding opportunities are available near the top, where there is a small pond, and further west, where there are a couple of tiny stream areas and a primitive camping area.

To access Road 18 from the top of the canyon, drive east from Ten Sleep on U.S. Hwy. 16 to the top of the canyon. Immediately after crossing the bridge west of Deer Haven Lodge, turn right at the parking area onto U.S. Forest Service Road 18. This is the easiest way to reach the best birding areas, including the small pond and Squaw Creek Primitive Campground.

For more information, contact:
Big Horn National Forest District in Sheridan
Phone: (307) 672-0751

Battle Park Road & West Ten Sleep Lake Road

This route offers several campgrounds and good birding opportunities, particularly west Ten Sleep Lake, which has a nice hiking trail adjacent to the lake. The lake may be explored by canoe. There is also a trail to west Ten Sleep Creek waterfall. Facilities include restrooms, picnic areas, and campgrounds.

This area is riparian and montane (relatively moist cool upland slopes below timberline, with large evergreen trees) habitat, with aspen-conifer forest.

Access by driving east from Ten Sleep on U.S. Hwy. 16, up Ten Sleep Canyon to the Deer Haven Lodge sign. Turn left onto U.S. Forest Service Road 27, and continue to the "Y," where you turn left onto U.S. Forest Service Road 24. You will find several lily ponds, favored by a variety of ducks for nesting sites. If you choose to continue on Battle Park Road, you will enjoy some spectacular views of the mountains. Eventually, the road deteriorates and you will want to return to the "Y", where you will see a sign for U.S. Forest Service Road 27, and for Tyrell Ranger Station, and also signs for several campgrounds, including Island Park, Deer Park, and west Ten Sleep Lake.

Meadowlark Lake

This is riparian and montane habitat. There is a resort which offers food, lodging, fuel, and groceries, a boat launch, picnic area, fishing, and camping.

To reach Meadowlark Lake, drive east from Ten Sleep on U.S. Hwy. 16 about 25 miles where you will see a sign for the lake. The lake provides birding from trails or boats.

One favorite birding area is Lake View Picnic and Campground, which has access to the lake and also to a swampy area. It is accessed by a right turn just before you get to Meadowlark Lake Resort. Also, a couple of miles east on U.S. Hwy. 16, past the resort, you will see a sign for the ski area. This offers excellent access to the lake shore, where there are also restrooms available. There are beaver lodges at the edge of the lake, north of the restrooms.

~Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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Tensleep Preserve

The Tensleep Preserve is owned by The Nature Conservancy, a non-profit conservation orgainzation. The preserve consists of riparian and juniper scrub habitats, with trails, a Visitor Center, information, and an archeological site. During the summer, the conservancy conducts several Open House days, usually in July and August. These are in addition to special programs, for which fees are charged. Special Programs during 2002 are: Natural History Adventures, June 20-25; Wildflower Photography, June 26-30; Natural History Adventures, July 4-9; Geology and Natural History of Ten Sleep, August 1-6; and Natural History Journal Workshop, August 15-20.

The town of Ten Sleep is located about 26 miles east of Worland on U.S. Hwy. 16. To access the Nature Conservancy's Ten Sleep Preserve, drive east from Ten Sleep on U.S. Highway 16 for about 5 miles. Turn off onto State Hwy. 436 and proceed east to the end of the road. The paved road will give way to a well-maintained dirt road for several miles, until you reach the gate to Ten Sleep Preserve. You must have prior permission to open the gate and enter the preserve. Continue on to the headquarters and Visitor Center.

For permission to visit the Nature Conservancy's Ten Sleep Preserve,
Phone: (307) 366-2671.
Physical Address: 1095B RD 56; Ten Sleep
Mailing Address: 101 Rome Hill Road; Ten Sleep, WY  82442.

~Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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Wyoming G & F Fish Rearing Station

This riparian area is especially popular with birds during the spring. Dippers always nest under the old bridge, and the ponds at the rearing station attract a variety of songbirds.

Drive east from the town of Ten Sleep on U.S. Highway 16 for several miles. Continue about one-tenth mile past State Hwy. 436, then turn left onto a dirt road with a sign for the Fish Rearing Station. Just before you cross a small wood-railed concrete bridge, you will find a small parking area on your left. There are a couple of picnic tables in this area. Or, you may continue on to the rearing station where parking is also available.

~Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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Wyoming G&F Wigwam Fish Hatchery

The Wigwam Fish Hatchery is located in the same general vicinity as the Fish Rearing Station in the entry above. The habitat is similar, riparian, but with some large trees. There are no public facilities at the hatchery.

Drive east of Ten Sleep on U.S. Hwy. 16 for several miles. Turn south onto State Hwy. 435 and proceed about one-and-a-half miles to the hatchery. The ponds contain large rainbow trout, and the large trees attract a variety of songbirds. Ten Sleep Creek, across the road from the hatchery, provides more birding opportunities.

~Dolores & Walter Van Dusen

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Thanks to all those who have generously given of their time and knowledge to help assemble the information contained in this "Birding the Big Horn Basin" Guide. Special thanks to: Mary Baker, Dave Henry, Mary Klein, Ken and Kathy Lichtendahl, John McGough, Jim McNiece, Jennifer & Neil Miller, Suzanne Morstad, Chuck Neal, John Roland, Dolores & Walter Van Dusen, and Tim Wade.

If you find the above invormation valuable to you, drop the Webmaster a note to let us know. Click on the blue words, "Meadowlark Webmaster," at the bottom of this page. Happy Birding!


Site originated: 2/21/2002
This page last updated: 2/10/2011

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