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Colorado River
July 20, 85 - 103 degrees, 0730-1200
- Henry Detwiler

A morning trip to look for shorebirds along the river, in flooded fields, and at local sewage lagoons.
59
species

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.


Osprey

Starting at River Mile 31 and 33 (west of Paradise Casino), I looked for shorebird habitat along the Colorado River.  Although low, the river didn't provide anything of interest to the shorebirds.  Coots, Green Herons, and this Osprey were the standard fare.  Blue Grosbeaks were singing, as were Common Yellowthroats and Verdins
     

The Imperial Dam complex includes the headgate for the Gila Gravity Canal.  There are often peeps on the moss & algae covering the concrete.  Today was no exception, and the Least & Spotted Sandpipers were feeding in the slime.


Headworks of the Gila Gravity Canal
     

    
Spotted Sandpiper

Just beyond the entrance to the Yuma Proving Ground (YPG) post is a sandy track leading to their sewage lagoons.  Most of them are dry, but the back three are active, and can be seen from outside the fence.
   
            

   
Least Sandpipers and Black-necked Stilts were the common birds here, but there were also some surprises.  Larger than expected flocks of Cinnamon Teal and Mallards flushed from the last pond.  Three Ruddy Ducks swam about unperturbed.

 


Least Sandpiper
     


Black-necked Stilt
      

  
The last pond held the best birds.  Four Short-billed Dowitchers, two Wilson's Phalaropes, and a single Avocet were nice birds to find in this area.  Two Western Sandpipers rounded out the selection. 

    
A short stop at Betty's Kitchen provided me with four early Western Tanagers and several additional Tree Swallows, birds I don't expect to see in Yuma in July.
      

      

White-faced Ibis

It took me all morning, but I finally located some flooded fields with shorebirds as I was driving back home.  A single Whimbrel was in one of them, and a large flock of 48 White-faced Ibis was in the other!      

   
Colorado River & YPG Sewage Lagoons, 20 July 2002
 
# Species Qty
1 Pied-Billed Grebe 2
2 Double-crested Cormorant 5
3 Great Blue Heron 2
4 Great Egret 1
5 Green Heron 2
6 Snowy Egret 1
7 White-faced Ibis 48
8 Ruddy Duck 3
9 Mallard 18
10 Cinnamon Teal 26
11 American Coot 38
12 Common Moorhen 1
13 Black-necked Stilt 29
14 American Avocet 1
15 Killdeer 12
16 Spotted Sandpiper 2
17 Western Sandpiper 2
18 Short-billed Dowitcher 4
19 Wilson's Phalarope 2
20 Whimbrel 1
21 Turkey Vulture 4
22 Osprey 1
23 Gambel's Quail 6
24 White-winged Dove 140
25 Common Ground Dove 5
26 Inca Dove 2
27 Mourning Dove 283
28 Rock Dove 2
29 Burrowing Owl 1

   

 
# Species Qty
30 Lesser Nighthawk 2
31 Black-chinned Hummingbird 3
32 Costa's Hummingbird 1
33 Rufous Hummingbird 2
34 Anna's Hummingbird 1
35 Gila Woodpecker 1
36 Black Phoebe 2
37 Western Kingbird 31
38 Ash-throated Flycatcher 2
39 Cliff Swallow 32
40 Rough-winged Swallow 4
41 Tree Swallow 5
42 Verdin 14
43 Marsh Wren 2
44 Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher 1
45 Loggerhead Shrike 2
46 Northern Mockingbird 2
47 European Starling 1
48 Common Yellowthroat 8
49 Great-tailed Grackle 14
50 Red-Winged Blackbird 44
51 Yellow-headed Blackbird 1
52 Brown-headed Cowbird 11
53 Bronzed Cowbird 1
54 Western Tanager 4
55 House Sparrow 44
56 House Finch 16
57 Abert's Towhee 2
58 Song Sparrow 2
59 Blue Grosbeak 6
 

Photos Henry D. Detwiler