West Pond, CA


Tacna & the Colorado River
Nov 10, 2002, 70-80 degrees, 8:00-5:45PM
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

A day trip with Stuart and Anne to find some of our regional specialties. 

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Anne & Stuart

We started out east of town at Tacna, in search of the elusive LeConte's Thrasher.   Sage Sparrows, American Kestrels, and lots of Say's Phoebes greeted us as we reached the saltbush flats.  One Say's Phoebe even ventured into the car in search of a meal. We walked around for a while without success, so I played the thrasher tape.

Soon we heard a soft singing coming from within a bush. We spread out and walked towards the singing, and I flushed the bird.  Stuart and Ann converged from different angles, and Anne was fortunate to see it perch on an old irrigation ditch before it disappeared for the last time on the other side of the road.

Stuart & Anne
Watching the loon in the Gila Gravity Canal

After lunch we made our way north and west to the Colorado River.  Betty's Kitchen was pretty bare, but there were grebes and a White Pelican on Mittry Lake.  As we started along the dike of the Gila Gravity Canal, Anne cried out for me to stop and back up.  It was a loon!  We thought at first it must be a Common Loon, but consultation with some friends confirmed a diffent bird:  Pacific Loon!

Pacific Loon in the Gila Gravity Canal


The Hidden Shores Golf Course was bare, so we drove over to West Pond.  Here at last were some ducks--about a dozen Redheads mixed in with hundreds of American Coots.

  American Coots at West Pond

Double-crested Cormorant
West Pond, CA

 At the north end of West Pond we tried to scare up some rails, and just before we were about to give up, a pair of Virginia Rails started clattering right in front and behind us.  And as we slammed one of the car doors, a Sora let out a whinny. 

The desilting ponds were beginning to fill up with ducks, and we saw many species:  Mallard, American Wigeon, Lesser Scaup, a possible Greater Scaup, Bufflehead, and Gadwalls.  And as is usual for the location, several Ospreys were surveying the area for fish.  Farther north, Senator Wash, a holding impoundment for Colorado River water, held only a few grebes, so we moved on.

Osprey at Desilting Ponds

Phil Swing Park is right next to the Imperial Dam.  At times it can be very birdy.  This afternoon there was a female mule deer and her offspring, as well as a Northern Flicker and Dark-eyed Juncos.  The sun was on its way down, so we called it a day and headed back to Yuma.

Phil Swing Park with 2 Mule Deer

Tacna & the Colorado River, 10 Nov 2002
# Species
1 Common Loon
2 Pied-billed Grebe
3 Western Grebe
4 Clark's Grebe
5 American White Pelican
6 Double-crested Cormorant
7 Snowy Egret
8 Great Blue Heron
9 Great Egret
10 Mallard
11 Greater Scaup
12 Gadwall
13 Bufflehead
14 Redhead
15 American Wigeon
16 Ruddy Duck
17 Lesser Scaup
18 American Coot
19 Sora
20 Common Moorhen
21 Virginia Rail
22 Killdeer
23 Spotted Sandpiper
24 Ring-Billed Gull
25 Turkey Vulture
26 Cooper's Hawk
27 Northern Harrier
28 Osprey
29 Sharp-shinned Hawk
30 American Kestrel
31 Gambel's Quail
32 Rock Dove
33 Mourning Dove
34 Inca Dove


# Species
35 Common Ground-Dove
36 Greater Roadrunner
37 Belted Kingfisher
38 Northern Flicker
39 Say's Phoebe
40 Black Phoebe
41 Vermilion Flycatcher
42 Tree Swallow
43 Common Raven
44 Verdin
45 Marsh Wren
46 House Wren
47 Rock Wren
48 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
49 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
50 Loggerhead Shrike
51 Leconte's Thrasher
52 Northern Mockingbird
53 Phainopepla
54 European Starling
55 Yellow-rumped Warbler
56 Common Yellowthroat
57 Orange-crowned Warbler
58 Great-tailed Grackle
59 Red-Winged Blackbird
60 Western Meadowlark
61 House Sparrow
62 House Finch
63 Dark-eyed Junco
64 Song Sparrow
65 Sage Sparrow
66 White-crowned Sparrow
67 Savannah Sparrow
68 Abert's Towhee
69 Vesper Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler