SOUTHWEST BIRDERS

YUMA AREA BIRDING GUIDE
Laguna Dam Area


Abert's Towhee on Fan Palm

 
DESCRIPTION
(Numbered spots correspond with the map at the bottom right.)


River Front RV Park - 2 Ruddy Ground-Doves seen there on Friday, 20 Dec 2002  (directions on the right)

Laguna Dam (1) is the oldest dam on the Colorado River (1907).

Laguna Dam RV Park (2) - on the north side of this park, along the road leading up to the All American Canal, is a lady who feeds the birds (scatters seed on the ground and road).  On December 20th and 22nd, Golden-crowned Sparrow seen.  On the 22nd, a Summer Tanager was also observed.  More common birds are Inca Doves,  Gambel's Quail, and White-crowned Sparrows.

Trader Horn - (3-4-5) old abandoned settlement with lots of remaining California Fan Palms.  On December 21st and 22nd, two Rufous-backed Robins were seen multiple times.  They have been seen as early at 9:30 and as late as 1:30.  They weren't seen after that, despite long waits.  The most obvious characteristic of this bird is the bright orange bill, and when flying away from you, the bright rufous back.  The pair spend most of their time on the ground.  

 
Rufous-backed Robin 
(well, some of it, anyway)

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Site #12 on the  Yuma County Map

Getting here from 1st Str & 4th Ave. takes 30-45 minutes:

- From I-8, take the 4th Ave exit and go north .5 mi. to the turn-off for California Highway S-24.  

or

- From 1st Str and 4th Ave, drive north .8 miles on 4th Ave across the Colorado River Bridge to the turn-off for California Highway S-24 

then

- Turn right and go north on S24 (veer left to follow it under the RR bridge)
- Follow S-24 as it winds its way through Bard
- At 11.8 miles you'll be at River Front RV Park (on your right, along the Colorado River)
- After 12.9 miles you'll be at Laguna Dam (1), the first dam built along the Colorado River in 1907.  Across from it is the Laguna Dam RV Park (2).  
- At 13.3 miles you'll be at a yellow & black fruit stand tent (3)  - turn right here (north side of Laguna Dam Lagoon) on a narrow, 1-lane dirt road and travel .1 mile to parking area (loop at end of road) (4) (N 3249''48" - W 11429''37")
- Walk 100 yards north on the sandy track to a pair of fan palms (5) on the east side of the road.  The first palm is used by the birds to feed in.  The birds are also seen on the dead (burned) salt cedar just beyond the two palms.

- .6 miles beyond this turn-off is the turn-off to Senator Wash and West Pond -- if you reach this turn off, go back .6 miles!


Some of the other birds seen from the Rufous-backed Robin spot on the 21-22 Dec were:

- both pelican species (flying)
- Caspian Tern and Ring-billed Gulls
- Ospreys
- Sharp-shinned Hawk
- Gambel's Quail
- Gila & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers
- Northern Flickers
- 100s of American Robins
- Spotted & Abert's Towhees
- Verdins
- Crissal Thrasher
- Blue-gray Gnatcatchers
- Cactus Wren
- Orange-crowned & Yellow-rumped Warblers
- White-crowned Sparrows 

Lots of these birds are also feeding on the fan palm fruits, including the Gambel's Quail and Abert's Towhees!


American Robin in Fan Palm 

Laguna Dam area
   



Aerial view - All American Canal on the left, Colorado River on the right

     
Photos Henry D. Detwiler
Last Update: 26 Dec 2002