Best time of year: Winter for raptors and waterfowl; spring and summer for nesting songbirds and Tricolored Blackbirds.
Notable species: For the entire area, wintering raptors include Bald and Golden Eagles, Rough-legged and Ferruginous Hawks, and Prairie Falcon. Red-tailed Hawk, Northern Harrier, and American Kestrel are resident. White-faced Ibis and a modest number of Sandhill Cranes may be observed. A colony of Tricolored Blackbirds breeds in the Carson Valley, the only known occurrence in Nevada.
Below is a popular Carson Valley Birding Route:
Turn right on Jacks Valley Road/SR 206, a stoplight 1.2 miles south of the US 395 & US 50 junction. Watch for raptors along the route, in particular Golden and Bald Eagles. At 6.1 miles check the farm ponds on the left. At the stop-sign in Genoa (8.5 miles) turn left (east) onto Genoa Lane/SR 758. During winter, mainly in February, Bald Eagles feed on calving afterbirth in the pastures on both sides of the road. Continue a total of 3.7 miles from Genoa to US 395. Turn right (south) onto the highway, travel 1.8 miles to Muller Lane/SR 757, and turn right (west). Check the ranches on both sides of the road, especially for wintering raptors.
At the stop sign (3.2 miles) turn right (north) onto Foothill Road/SR 206 and proceed 0.8 mile to 1862 David Walley's Hot Springs on the right. Black Phoebe, Green Heron, and other marsh species have been observed on the grounds at the rear of the resort. Return to northbound Foothill Road (55 mph zone) from the resort's north exit. At about 0.3 miles the TNC wetlands, signaled by a grove of poplar trees, comes into view on the right. Continue north approximately 1 mile to Genoa.
The little town of Genoa, located at the interface of the Carson Valley and the steeply rising Carson Range, abounds in Nevada territorial history. It can be an interesting spot to find both mountain and valley birds. Mormon Station Historic State Park is situated on the northeast corner of the only intersection in town. A half block west of this intersection, on Nixon Street, you will see Genoa Park (restrooms). Spring through fall, both of these parks can be worth exploring for songbirds.
From Genoa Park, return to Foothill Road/SR 206, turn right (south), and drive 4.4 miles to Mottsville Lane/SR 207. Turn left (east) and check the ranches along both sides of the road. At the SR 88 stoplight (3.3 miles), turn right (south) and travel 1.5 miles to Centerville Lane/SR 756.
Turn right (west) and pull onto the right shoulder. The marsh across Centerville Lane/SR 756 on the southwest corner of this intersection should be checked in spring and summer for a breeding colony of Tricolored Blackbirds. Continue 2.8 miles west, checking the ranches on either side, to Foothill Road/SR 206. Turn right (north) and travel 1.3 miles to return to Mottsville Lane/SR 207, turn right (east) and return to the stoplight at SR 88. Turn left (north) onto SR 88, which will connect with US 395 at 1.9 miles to return south to Minden.