Great Horned Owl


Mittry Lake Area (Christmas Bird Count)
Dec 15, 2001 - 40-60 degrees

As part of the 2001 Christmas Bird Count, we covered Betty's Kitchen and Mittry Lake.  
species (list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Helga and Al

Helga and Al fed me juice and muffins at 0600, and then we headed up to Mittry Lake to begin our section of the 2001 Laguna Dam/Martinez Lake Christmas bird count.  It was still cold and dark when we reached Kool Corner, but we spotted a pair of Great Horned Owls atop two telephone posts, just south of their favorite date grove. 
Next to Betty's Kitchen, Helga spotted yet another one perched on a telephone pole, scanning for an early morning snack.  Later in the morning, we picked out our final owl, with it's beak still bloody from its final meal. (Click on either of the two small owl pictures for a full-sized version.)

Great Horned Owl


Mesquite & raindrops

It had rained the night before, so the salt cedars and mesquites looked quite lovely as they sparkled in the sunlight.  We drove to the Mittry Lake overlook, and soon had soras and Virginia Rails responding to the tape.  On the lake were many ducks and grebes. At Betty's Kitchen I was lucky enough to spot a Clapper scurrying over the road.

Ladder-backed Woodpecker

Using the same tree as the owl were a Phainopepla and this Ladder-backed Woodpecker.  They seemed quite unperturbed by the giant carnivore several feet away. 

Driving the backroads around Mittry, I covered my Pathfinder with salty water drops and streaks from the wet salt cedars.  In the desert brush we added quail, Verdins, and warblers.  In a wet, brushy cottonwood/willow plantation we added sparrow species:  Lincoln's, Song, White-crowned, Abert's & Spotted Towhees.

Dripping Salt Cedar

At the sewage ponds for the Yuma Proving Grounds we counted two large flocks of Northern Shovelers and Green-winged Teal.

Vermilion Flycatcher

The last few good birds of the day were a Harris' Hawk and three Vermilion Flycatchers.   The Harris' Hawk may be the last remaining descendent of the colony that was re- introduced here 15 years ago.

The hawk was in a lush area west of the Gila Gravity Canal--an area frequented by many flycatchers, warblers, and sparrows, too.  Next year we'll comb it much more carefully! 

Vermilion Flycatcher

Mittry Lake Area, 15 Dec 2001
# Species Name
1 Clark's Grebe
2 Eared Grebe
3 Pied-Billed Grebe
4 Western Grebe
5 White Pelican
6 Double-crested Cormorant
7 Great Blue Heron
8 Great Egret
9 White-faced Ibis
10 Green-Winged Teal
11 Ruddy Duck
12 Ring-Necked Duck
13 Redhead
14 Northern Shoveler
15 Lesser Scaup
16 Gadwall
17 Canvasback
18 American Wigeon
19 Mallard
20 American Coot
21 Clapper Rail
22 Sora
23 Virginia Rail
24 Common Moorhen
25 Killdeer
26 Least Sandpiper
27 Ring-Billed Gull
28 Caspian Tern
29 Red-Tailed Hawk
30 Osprey
31 Cooper's Hawk
32 Sharp-Shinned Hawk


# Species Name
33 Northern Harrier
34 Harris' Hawk
35 American Kestrel
36 Gambel's Quail
37 Mourning Dove
38 Great Horned Owl
39 White-Throated Swift
40 Anna's Hummingbird
41 Belted Kingfisher
42 Northern Flicker
43 Gila Woodpecker
44 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
45 Black Phoebe
46 Say's Phoebe
47 Vermilion Flycatcher
48 Tree Swallow
49 Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
50 Loggerhead Shrike
51 Northern Mockingbird
52 Phainopepla
53 European Starling
54 Common Yellowthroat
55 Orange-crowned Warbler
56 Yellow-rumped Warbler
57 Western Meadowlark
58 House Finch
59 Abert's Towhee
60 Dark-Eyed Junco
61 Lincoln's Sparrow
62 Song Sparrow
63 White-crowned Sparrow
64 Spotted Towhee


Photos Henry D. Detwiler