Dusky Grouse, Black Canyon of the Gunnison.

DUSKY GROUSE IS ONE OF COLORADO’S MAGNIFICENT SEVEN grouse species (there is an eighth, Ruffed Grouse, but this one is a little too remote in Dinosaur National Monument to be included in the spring grouse circuit). It was great to spend some time hanging out at one of my favourite birding sites of all before the tour – The Black Canyon of the Gunnison. Pete and I had some great encounters, including a male that sat up perfectly on an exposed, lichen-covered rock, the early morning sun catching its plumage with a dark background. I could hardly have composed a nicer setting in my mind’s eye. Apart from its Dusky Grouse, the Black Canyon is a great place to bird at the same time as admiring its jaw-dropping scenery. There are few places in the world like it.

Pete Loncar enjoys breakfast overlooking the Painted Wall.