|Lake Dorothey/James M. John State Wildlife Areas|
These adjacent state wildlife areas rise up the east side of Raton Mesa from the High Plains of southeastern Colorado to Fisher’s Peak at 10,000 feet in elevation. Lake Dorothey is a 10-acre reservoir stocked with sport fish. Willow riparian habitats with New Mexico locust along the stream near...
Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge
|Description: Located in the arid San Luis Valley, the refuge is a complex of ponds and marshes created and managed to provide nesting and feeding habitat for waterfowl and other wildlife. By contrast, surrounding greasewood uplands are dry. Farmed plots of grain and alfalfa supplement natural food sources.|
Wildlife to Watch: Throughout March the refuge and surrounding fields are an important staging ground for greater sandhill cranes. Look for a few whooping cranes in the sandhill flock. Thousands of cranes return in October and stay four to eight weeks. Twenty species of ducks, four species of geese, swans, snipe, sandpipers, herons, egrets, white-faced ibis have been sighted here. Numerous songbirds nest or migrate through. Watch for short-eard owls. Fall duck populations can exceed 35,000. Bald eagles visible in winter. A bird list is available. Mammals include mule deer, elk, muskrats, rabbits, and coyotes. Clumps of cottonwoods scattered throughout the refuge offer opportunities to see warblers, flycatchers, woodpeckers, and great horned owls in summer and during spring and fall migration.
Special Tips: The self-guided auto tour route is open dawn to dusk year-round.
Headquarters is at Alamosa National Wildlife Refuge.
Ownership: U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Size: 14,189 acres
Closest Town: Monte Vista
Best Seasons for Wildlife Viewing: