WHAT TO EXPECT Carson Valley is an area of extensive agricultural fields and shrub-steppe south of Carson City. Jacks Valley occupies the northwestern edge of Carson Valley at the foot of the Carson Range. The entire area is good for raptors and waterfowl in winter. Guided tours of ranches and the Carson River are available during the Eagles and Agriculture event in late February (Carson Valley Chamber of Commerce at 800-727-7677). The Nature Conservancy (TNC) owns several hundred acres of wetlands southeast of Genoa. TNC anticipates that public access, trails, and potential expansion of holdings will be completed by 2008 (TNC Field Office at 775-322-4990). Located south of Genoa, David Walley's Hot Springs Resort can be productive for marsh birds. Carson Valley is a Nevada Important Bird Area.
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.
Precautions: Travel in this birding area involves alternating between semi-rural roads and higher speed highways. The suggested route contains instances of doubling back designed to enhance viewing along roadsides and to provide safer access onto higher speed sections of the drive. Learn more here.