Dec 24, 2003
comments by Henry Detwiler)
A trip to the
Colorado River in search of the continuing Black-throated Blue Warbler,
first found by Todd Easterla on Dec 14!
species (list follows at end
thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
|I arrived well before day light. Not sure if
it made the nasty little road better or worse! It is 19
miles of pure torture but the bird at the end of it was worth
every bump. (It's wasn't bad at all in
my Pathfinder, and only 35 minutes!) From Interstate 8, go north (away from Yuma) at
the Fourth Street exit. Turn right at the stop sign and
follow the signs for Picacho State Park.
|The pavement will end, you will make a sharp,
narrow turn to cross over the All American Canal and then it will
be 19 miles of severe washboard. Give yourself an hour for
this portion if you like your vehicle! When you come to the
kiosk at the SP, pay the $2 at self-registration, correct change
helps. Then continue three tenths of a mile and you will
come to a T. Go to the right and then immediately go left at
the large Tamarisk Trees. There is a little lane that goes
back about 100 feet and ends at a barbed wire fence corner.
Park near the road and walk back to the fence. There will be
a large Mesquite thicket on your right. There is a thick,
dark, upright trunk inside the thicket, on the side nearest the
fence. The Black-throated Blue Warbler will come to that
limb repeatedly!! At first daylight he was in a Palo Verde
on the other side of the fence but when the sun gets on the
Mesquite, he spends his time between it and the large Tamarisk.
|I was not sure I was in the right spot at first. I saw
an adult Bald Eagle fly over the river and three minutes later the
Marines flew by. The chopper had just past and I was standing
there wondering if it was our partner Jeff when I suddenly realized
that I was hearing the call notes I had read in my field guide not
ten minutes before. Sure enough there he was, Black-throated
Blue Warbler perched in the sunlight!! What a memorable lifer
The right spot!
Picacho State Park
|The Tamarisk trees were very busy and there were
Red-naped Sapsuckers, Ladder-backed and Gila Woodpeckers in and
out. Black-tailed Gnatcatchers were showy too! Went
exploring the rest of the park and it has really changed in the
twenty years since I used to spend a lot of time
Yuma River Boat Tours
The river is very low this time of year.
Captain Ron Knowlton of Yuma River Boat Tours came by as I was on
the docks. A lone Herring Gull was a surprise and quite unusual
for the river. As I was snapping his pick the adult Bald
Eagle came along and landed in a lagoon on the other
Herring Gull & Bald
The eagle is the white speck just below the mountain ridge on
the right and the Herring Gull is on the sandbar. Wish I had more
time to spend there as the habitat is awesome and the birds were
just everywhere. Could not find the Northern
Parulas. (They are hanging out in the
northeast corner of the eastern-most grove of cottonwoods--last
seen on Dec 28th.)
On my way back to the Imperial Valley I stopped at
the old Brock Research Station. The lack of birds there was
amazing till I got down to the east end where there had been some
water and the weeds were thicker. A Spotted Towhee, Lesser
Goldfinch and some of the few Juncos I have seen this year.
|The Dainty Sulphur above is the smallest Sulphur and
there were two here.
|Several Monarch butterflies were working one of the Eucalyptus
Trees. (Also lots of Queens and Painted
Ladies there when I last visited on 21 Dec.)
Sunset at home
I watched this beautiful sunset develop as I birded
my way across the ag fields on the eastern side of the
valley. Nice way to end the day........ begin the evening!!
Lea Anne and I attended a Christmas Eve party in Brawley :-)