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San Miguel River
Description: The San Miguel River from Naturita to its confluence with the Dolores River has some of the best lowland riparian habitat in southwest Colorado. Perhaps the main avian draw here are the many Black Phoebes that nest along the river; look especially around the old bridge at Uravan. The beautiful riparian area has species such as Yellow-breasted Chat, Indigo and Lazuli Buntings, Black-headed Grosbeak, Gray Catbird, and Blue Grosbeak. This riparian corridor has some of the greatest rarity potential in the area. The canyon sides and side canyons are filled with pinyon-juniper woodland, and Black-chinned Hummingbird, Gray and Plumbeous Vireos, Pinyon Jay, and Virginia's Warbler, among others, are possible.
Habitat: Cliff Face, Lowland Riparian, Pinyon/Juniper Forest
Directions: CO 141 runs along the stretch of the San Miguel River from Naturita to Uravan. Much of the land is public and access is easy. Nature Conservancy owns some of the land next to the river. A stop at any bridge over the San Miguel River should give good views of Black Phoebe. But for more viewing sites drive just beyond Uravan (north) and take CR Y11 left and drive to the confluence of the San Miguel and Dolores Rivers. Continuing on CR Y11 will connect to CO 90 and Paradox Valley. As the road breaks out into the valley observe the lowest elevation juniper trees which hold a fair population of Gray Vireo.
Dates of Access: Any
Hours of Operation: Daylight hours
Delorme: 64 B3-B4
Roads of Colorado: 96 C4, 97 D4, 113 D1-D2
Lodging: Hotels in Naturita
Parking: Gravel parking areas
Restrictions or Hazards: Respect private property; bird from the road where applicable
Handicap Access: Some viewing from car