SoC#3: Lark Bunting  LbNA # 8385

Placed DateMay 26 2004
CountyEl Paso
LocationColorado Springs, CO
Found By TX AF Family
Last Found Sep 7 2007
Hike Distance?

Symbols of Colorado #3: Lark Bunting. This is the state bird of Colorado. Also known as the Prairie Lark-Finch, lark buntings are more often seen on Colorado's eastern prairie than its western slopes, but this one's the exception. These birds usually migrate to Colorado in April and leave for warmer Mexican climes by September. Male summer plumage is black with white wing patches and edging, and white accents on the tail. Male winter plumage is similar to the female: grayish-brown with buff wing patches. Unfortunately, Colorado's explosive growth is eating away at the prairie, and lark bunting numbers have decreased by 50 percent over the last three decades.

Terrain: Moderate to difficult. A short walk, but up steep hills and some rocky terrain to the box.
Clues: Mostly easy, some advance clue solving suggested.

Clues: In Oz these are made of tin, in the Springs they're a road. Take this exit off I-25 and follow it (watch the right turn) until you get to the trailhead. The trailhead and Open Space share the name of the peak above, which in turn was named for the landowner on whose ranch it used to rest (his was one of the earliest homesteads in the area). Park here. The letterbox is on top a hill 280* from the parking lot. See the water just to the left of it? Start your hike by "bear"ing left at the sign (you might want to read it first). First intersection, go straight, second go right. You'll reach an area of camping ashes, continue to the right until you reach the road. Head left up the winding slope until you reach the water you saw earlier. Continue straight through this property and pick up the trail on the other side. Here the trail gets a little tricky. At a grove of red rocks, go right (east) and follow the trail past some large rocks on your left to a rocky outcropping with a great view of the city. From here, you'll notice two more rocky outcroppings in a line 104* from you. Go to the second of these and see a fourth outcropping 132* from you. There you'll find a lightning-shaped tree, a good place to search for a lark bunting.

- No inkpad or pencil in the box, make sure you bring your own.
- Please do not ask me for additional hints without offering a bribe of unpublished clues, hitchhikers, etc.
- Please email me with notes about the box: