KOFA NWR, Territorial Prison - Yuma, AZ  
Mar 12, 2001

Guides: Bob Miller from Southwest Birders and George Bryant
55 species total

by Bob Miller

I met with George Bryant and his group of eleven Canadian adventurers who were in Yuma to see the birds, flowers and nature at their best. We headed out HWY 95 to the KOFA NWR.  The vast fields of lettuce with all the varying shades of green and purple were a great primer for the desert wildflowers that awaited us just a few miles down the road. Lupine, Verbena, Heliotrope, Fiddleneck, Purple Mat, Fairy Duster, Brittlebush, Ocotillo.......everything was showing off its best blooms.  We hiked up Palm Calm to view the California Fan Palms.  Side-blotched Lizards darted everywhere and numerous species of butterflies were out.  The morning started out cloudless but was now full of "popcorn" clouds which played shadows across the wide desert plain and the ragged peaks.  We could not have had better weather.  We ate lunch in a side wash near Castle dome with Black-throated Sparrows and Costa's Hummingbirds flitting around us. 

Went into the Imperial NWR visitor center and looked out on the marshes below which held few birds. Spring is coming on fast and migraters are migrating!  We tried to go North to some of the river view points but the road was still flooded from the 1.5" of rain that poured down in one night the previous week.  The roadside into Martinez Lake and the refuge is carpeted with Sand Verbena and Primrose. 

A stop at the Yuma Territorial Prison ponds was amazing as there were lots of waterfowl, swallows, Ibis, etc..... A visit to the picnic area below the prison is always a great spot too and we had a White-tailed Kite put on a show for us. Returning to Yuma, the sun went down as cloudless as it had risen.  Eleven happy Canadians and one happy desert rat parted ways.  I am going to have to get up there one of these days.  If the countryside is as great as the group of people I spent the day with it will be one of the best adventures I will ever have.


Ocotillo Bloom
Birds Observed
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Eared Grebe
3 Great Blue Heron
4 Great Egret
5 White-faced Ibis
6 American Wigeon
7 Gadwall
8 Green-winged Teal
9 Northern Shoveler
10 Redhead
11 Ring-necked Duck
12 Ruddy Duck
13 Turkey Vulture
14 Osprey
15 White-tailed Kite
16 Northern Harrier
17 Cooper's Hawk
18 Red-tailed Hawk
19 American Kestrel
20 Common Moorhen
21 American Coot
22 Black-necked Stilt
23 Killdeer
24 Greater Yellowlegs
25 Ring-billed Gull
26 Rock Dove
27 Mourning Dove
28 Anna's Hummingbird
29 Costa's Hummingbird
30 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
31 Northern Flicker
32 Black Phoebe
33 Say's Phoebe
34 Ash-throated Flycatcher
35 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
36 Barn Swallow
37 Phainopepla
38 Cactus Wren
39 Marsh Wren
40 Northern Mockingbird
41 Sage Thrasher
42 Verdin
43 Loggerhead Shrike
44 European Starling
45 Orange-crowned Warbler
46 Yellow-rumped Warbler
47 Abert's Towhee
48 White-crowned Sparrow
49 Red-winged Blackbird
50 Western Meadowlark
51 Yellow-headed Blackbird
52 Brewer's Blackbird
53 Great-tailed Grackle
54 House Finch
55 House Sparrow


Photos Henry D. Detwiler