· Sandhill Crane
A watery oasis in the saltbush desert, Blanca Wetlands is a premier birding site, but closed to the public during nesting season from February 15 through July 15th. In late summer, however, you should still be able to find some of the Snowy Plovers that nest here — one of their strongholds in Colorado. Almost every other wetland bird from the area can be found here, from bitterns to harriers, and the variety of wetland habitats make this a good place to look for dragonflies and damselflies as well. Before visiting, you might want to stop at the BLM office in Monte Vista or the one in Del Norte to pick up a map, since it is very easy to get lost on the tangle of roads inside the wetlands. You may also be able to pick up a map at the kiosk at the entrance to the wetlands.
Habitat: Sagebrush, Marsh, Pond/Lake/Reservoir
Directions: From the intersection of US 160 and CO 17 in Alamosa, head five miles north on CO 17 and turn right (east) on CR 2S. Proceed seven miles east to the entrance gate.
Delorme: 81 D5
Roads of Colorado: 135 E3
Dates of Access: Open July 16 to February 14.
Restrictions: Closed Feb 15 to July 15 to protect nesting birds.
Parking: Unpaved parking areas
Lodging: Hotels in Alamosa, or primitive camping on BLM land outside the wetlands
Handicapped Access: Viewing from car