Willow Flycatcher


New River Wetlands Project
May 25, 2002 - 82-90 degrees 
- Henry Detwiler

Bob and I headed down to the New River Wetlands to survey the late migrants and breeding birds.  
species (list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

As part of our monthly survey, we gathered up our gear and drove down to the Imperial Ponds.  While Bob & I were talking with Al Kalin at the site entrance, I heard the first of ten Willow Flycatchers we would see that day. They were in a variety of habitats: the bullrushes, the mesquites lining the cliff, and along the New River. 

Willow Flycatcher


Ruddy Duck

Ruddy Ducks in breeding plummage patrolled several of the ponds.  This male was on the first big one.


Green Heron
Green Herons appear to be common breeders, although we have yet to find a nest.  We see about a dozen every trip we take here.  Also present are Least Bitterns, but we heard only one on this visit.  Great Blue Herons sometimes fly by, but rarely settle in while we're around.

The best birds of the day were a pair of Gull-billed Terns that flew low over the ponds, scanning below for a tasty morsel.


The water flows from one pond to another via culverts --perfect habitat for all sorts of spiders.     


Snowy Egret

Snowy Egrets use the ponds to feed, and are one of the regulars.  Other regular water-loving birds include American Coots, Common Moorhens, and Double-crested Cormorants.

This was the tail end of the migration, and we still located several warblers and flycatchers.  The Ash-throated Flycatchers may breed in the area, but we don't see them at these ponds unless it's spring time or fall.
Ash-throated Flycatcher


We arrived at the Brawley Ponds at 10:30AM and recorded many of the same species there.  The baby American Coots (photo below) were watching us from the edge of the reeds.

American Coot chick

New River Wetlands Project, 25 May 2002
Imperial Ponds
Species Numbers
least bittern 1
double-crested cormorant 11
great blue heron 1
snowy egret 19
cattle egret 3
green heron 18
white-faced ibis 1
mallard 5
ruddy duck 10
common moorhen 16
American coot 33
killdeer  4
black-necked stilt


gull-billed tern 2
western kingbird 2
willow flycatcher 8
ash-throated Flycatcher 3
black phoebe 3
Say's phoebe 1
no. rough-winged swallow  8
cliff swallow   24
verdin 1
marsh wren 12
Townsend's warbler 1
yellow warbler 36
common yellowthroat 14
Wilson's warbler 6
Abert's towhee 4
song sparrow 3
red-winged blackbirds 10
Western meadowlark 3
yellow-headed blackbird 24
brown-headed Cowbird 19


Brawley Ponds
Species Numbers
pied-billed grebe 7
least bittern 2
great egret 2
snowy egret 6
green heron 9
black-crowned night heron 1
cinnamon teal 1
turkey vulture 1
Gambel's quail 2
common moorhen 6
American coot 18
white-winged dove 2
Western kingbird 1
willow flycatcher 2
black phoebe 1
no. rough-winged swallow 10
verdin 6
cactus wren 1
warbling vireo 1
yellow warbler 18
Abert's towhee 1
red-winged blackbirds 7
yellow-headed blackbird 3
brown-headed cowbird 9



Photos Henry D. Detwiler