Fruitgrowers Reservoir

On this western Colorado road trip, I stayed for a few days with a friend who lives high on a hill with 360 degree views of mountains. On the other side of the hill lies Fruitgrowers Reservoir. The reservoir provides irrigation for the orchards and farms in the area. But we were there to see birds.

Grand Mesa
After the storm

The reservoir has been called best waterbirding spot on Colorado’s West Slope. According to the sign at the site, it has been designated as an important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society with over 220 species of birds sighted.

Each of the three evenings I was there, we pulled over onto the narrow shoulder along the road which bisects the wetlands. My friends are birders, quite knowledgeable about the species that frequented this wetland landscape, and could point out some that, with that little bit of help, I could identify. I had just missed the great migration of Sandhill Cranes coming through, but there were still a handful to spot, along with a few unmistakable Blue Herons. There was quite a pod of White Pelicans; at first glance I thought they were swans. (The National Park Service advises they can be called a brief, pod, pouch, scoop, or squadron of pelicans!) We also saw Grebes, Blackbirds, Coots, Avocets, and geese. The combined bird calls sang a kind of symphony.

This was one time I wished I had splurged to buy a more powerful zoom lens. The photos are from a distance and dim in the dusky light, so please excuse the quality of the images. I’ve taken the liberty of enhancing the exposure a bit digitally and cropped in for a closer look.

White Pelicans
Birds and cows
Great Blue Heron
Blue Heron
8 Cranes standing behind the Pelicans

Note on bird identification: I have changed the captions for a couple of images after hearing from birder friends, who know much more than me! The photo above tagged as Avocets, I originally called Kildeer, based on the photo in the sign at the site. The darker bird in flight I had thought was a Sandhill Crane based on images I saw online, but have been advised it is a Great Blue Heron. Any mistakes on this page are mine.

Western Slope road trip: Grand Junction sculpture, Dominguez Canyon, Fruitgrowers Reservoir, Western Slope towns, Colorado National Monument

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Published by rkrontheroad

Writer, photographer, traveler

38 thoughts on “Fruitgrowers Reservoir

  1. Look at all the beautiful birds on display, especially the white pelicans. I love birdwatching and find that birdwatching will make you love nature even more! When you step out into forests, jungles, wetlands, swamps, and lakes, you will slowly learn how beautiful our wild world is Thanks for sharing and have a good day 🙂 Aiva xx

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I don’t think it’s a liberty at all to crop and enhance the exposure to give us a better look at this great mix of birds! I loved seeing the Sandhill Cranes in flight in particular 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would think you would agree! I have received emails from a couple of birder friends that advise that darker bird in flight is a Blue Heron. I bow to those more knowledgeable. I will add some notes to the post indicating that I may be mistaken. 🤔

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Wow, what a lovely sunrise – the colours, the mountains in the distance and clouds make it just picture perfect! Bird paradise indeed – love the white pelicans and the blue heron in flight. Well, you could have fooled me with the different bird names 😉 … I like them all!

    Liked by 1 person

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