Marty & John Hirth


Black Rail Hunt - Yuma Area
May 10, 2003, and only 87 degrees!
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

Marty & John Hirth on a Black Rail search in AZ & CA 
species total

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

We started out at 5:30a.m. and along the way found this owl watching over the All-American Canal.  At West Pond, three Black Rails were calling close to the road, but our best efforts failed to lure them into sight.  At the end of the road we tried in vain for Clapper Rail, but we did hear an American Bittern doing its "bog pumping" call.

Great-horned Owl

Warbling Vireo
At Mittry Lake we tried to find the Black Rails on the Arizona side of the Colorado River, and heard a single individual growling in aggression.  Again, we didn't see hide nor hair of it.  We did start  seeing other birds, though, like this Warbling Vireo.
At Betty's Kitchen we saw lots of Wilson's Warblers, Western Wood Pewees, and more Warbling Vireos.  Also, we found the first of many Spotted Sandpipers for the day, a flock of eight.
Marty and John Hirth

Spotted Sandpipers


Pacific-slope Flycatcher

This Pacific-Slope Flycatcher was one of several we found, and just before we left Betty's Kitchen we caught up with a Hammond's Flycatcher, too. 

Close to Kool Corner we spied our local Harris' Hawk, and at the Gila River Grove we saw a Hermit and a Townsend's Warbler, and many more of those Wilson's Warblers.  The Willow Flycatchers hadn't yet returned for the season.

Harris' Hawk

Bumblebee on Palo Verde

We checked out the Burrowing Owls next to the Marine base to see if any babies were about, but not yet!  At Hunter's Hole we resumed our search for the Willow Flycatcher, but again we struck out.  We did see two Black Phoebes, and of course, lots more Wilson's Warblers.

We ate at Frog's Deli in Somerton, and then drove north to Martinez Lake & Imperial NWR in search of terns & shorebirds--but without much luck. Back along the Gila River we stopped at Fortuna Pond, where we found more Wilson's Warblers and a couple of Wood Rats. Our last stop of the day was at the Yuma Territorial Prison's "Mulberry Tree". 

 The fruits were still being gobbled up by Western Tanagers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, mockingbirds, and finches.  Twelve hours after we started, I dropped off the Hirths after a fine day of birding!

Western Tanager in Mulberry Tree

Yuma Area, 10 May 2003
# Species
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Clark's Grebe
3 Double-crested Cormorant
4 American Bittern
5 Great Blue Heron
6 Great Egret
7 Snowy Egret
8 Cattle Egret
9 Green Heron
10 Black-crowned Night Heron
11 Osprey
12 Harris' Hawk
13 Red-tailed Hawk
14 American Kestrel
15 Gambel's Quail
16 Black Rail
17 Virginia Rail
18 Common Moorhen
19 American Coot
20 Killdeer
21 Turkey Vulture
22 Rock Dove
23 White-winged Dove
24 Mourning Dove
25 Inca Dove
26 Common Ground-Dove
27 Eurasian Collared Dove
28 Greater Roadrunner
29 Great Horned Owl
30 Burrowing Owl
31 Vaux's Swift
32 Black-chinned Hummingbird
33 Anna's Hummingbird
34 Gila Woodpecker
35 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
36 Olive-sided Flycatcher
37 Western Wood Pewee
38 Hammond's Flycatcher
39 Pacific Slope Flycatcher
# Species
40 Black Phoebe
41 Vermilion Flycatcher
42 Ash-throated Flycatcher
43 Western Kingbird
44 Warbling Vireo
45 Horned Lark
46 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
47 Cliff Swallow
48 Barn Swallow
49 Verdin
50 Cactus Wren
51 Marsh Wren
52 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
53 Swainson's Thrush
54 Northern Mockingbird
55 European Starling
56 Wilson's Warbler
57 Yellow-rumped Warbler
58 Yellow-breasted Chat
59 Common Yellowthroat
60 Yellow Warbler
61 Townsend's Warbler
62 Tennessee Warbler
63 Hermit Warbler
64 Orange-crowned Warbler
65 Western Tanager
66 Abert's Towhee
67 Song Sparrow
68 White-crowned Sparrow
69 Black-headed Grosbeak
70 Blue Grosbeak
71 Red-winged Blackbird
72 Yellow-headed Blackbird
73 Great-tailed Grackle
74 Bronzed Cowbird
75 Brown-headed Cowbird
76 Bullock's Oriole
77 House Finch
78 House Sparrow


Photos Henry D. Detwiler