Hone your birding skills with birding celebrity Ted Floyd, and Naturalist Journeys’ Pat Lueders as you explore bird habitats including western sagebrush steppe, pinyon juniper woodland, lush cottonwood riparian, grasslands and wetlands, and pine forest. This NEW! Naturalist Journeys Colorado birding tour is designed to be a true birding vacation. Zapata Ranch is an important conservation property adjacent to Great Sand Dunes National Park and the rugged Sangre de Cristo Mountains, located in one of the most remote and pristine mountain valleys left in the American West. There is simply no place like it!

Unpack once and enjoy fine hospitality on this Colorado nature tour at one of the west’s grand guest ranches, one associated with The Nature Conservancy, in view of Colorado’s beautiful Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

Tour Highlights

  • UNPLUG! Be inspired as you bird—this remote location gives a sense of unlimited space and quiet, so rare in today’s world
  • Visit wildlife refuges to find Western Grebe, White-faced Ibis, Cinnamon Teal, Yellow-headed Blackbird, Virginia Rail, and Black-crowned Night-Heron
  • Watch Great Horned Owl fledglings learn about life in the grand cottonwood trees that surround the ranch and look for Elk with their young in the sage
  • See Common Nighthawk display at dusk, listen to a chorus of Coyote song, then marvel at stars so brilliant in the dark skies
  • Enjoy an optional, gentle horseback ride with stunning views; enjoy western meals, perhaps some music and fun (experienced riders can request more horse time—ask us for details)
  • Search for six possible woodpecker species, and learn to identify western flycatchers
  • Study bird behavior in detail and learn about caching by resident Pinyon Jay, a fascinating lifestyle!
  • Look for rare Black Swift by Zapata Falls and nesting American Dipper in the rushing stream that flows from it
  • Find nesting Mountain Bluebird, Mountain Chickadee, Sage Thrasher, Sage Sparrow, Western Tanager, and western warblers
  • Wake to the calls of Western Meadowlark before learning more about ranch history and daily ranch life
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Photo credits: Banner: Riding at Zapata Ranch by Lynn Tennefoss; Bison by Jerry Meislik; Panorama by Jerry Meislik; Aspens by Sandy Sorkin; Great Sand Dunes by Lynn Tennefoss; American Dipper by Sandy Sorkin; Bison by Marissa Chiantella; Lewis's Woodpecker by Sandy Sorkin; Virginia Rail by Tom Dove; Swallowtail Butterfly by Sandy Sorkin; Pine Grosbeak by Sandy Sorkin; Moose by Sandy Sorkin; Mountain Bluebird by Hugh Simmons Photography; Riding by Lynn Tennefoss; Long-eared Owl by Greg Smith; Riding by Lynn Tennefoss; Green-tailed Towhee by Sandy Sorkin; Lewis's Woodpecker by Sandy Sorkin; Steller's Jay by Peg Abbott; Bison by Hugh Simmons Photography.

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