Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area (Lake Avery Unit)
Aliases: Big Beaver Reservoir, Oak Ridge State Wildlife Area, Bel Aire Unit, Buford
Lake Avery is a good spot to look for Barrow’s Goldeneyes and other waterfowl in the fall and early winter, before the lake freezes over. The best way to check out the lake is to scope it from the top of the hills. Also check the willows and marshy area near the inlet, which are good for warblers and other songbirds, such as Lincoln’s and maybe Fox Sparrow, Wilson’s Warbler, and more. The lower road, on the dam side, is also worth checking out for sparrows, swallows and waterfowl. The nearby Oak Ridge SWA is a good place to look for Dusky Grouse amid the abundant Gambel Oak woods. There is also a campground and access to the river which might produce some nice birds including Wilson’s Snipe, Belted Kingfisher, American Dipper, and others.
County: Rio Blanco
Habitat: Pond/Lake/Reservoir, Scrub Oak Forest, Streamside Willows, Stream, Marsh
Directions: From CO 13 east of Meeker drive 18 miles east on county road 8 to 82 road.
Delorme: 35 A4-A5
Roads of Colorado: 51 E3
Dates of Access: Open all year
Ownership: Colorado Parks and Wildlife
Admission: A valid hunting or fishing license, or State Wildlife Area pass is required for everyone 16 or older accessing any state wildlife area or state trust lands.
Parking: Gravel parking areas
Lodging: Primitive camping
Handicapped Access: Some car birding
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Area CPW Office: Meeker, (970) 878-6090