NWR, Colorado River, & Yuma
by Henry Detwiler
Scouting out areas with Jackie, Elaine, Al & Helga, and Suzanne for the
upcoming Yuma Christmas Bird Count.
thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
Suzanne and I once again started out with excellent muffins and juice at Al & Helga's
before we drove north to Imperial NWR. Just before we got to the
headquarters we saw a bobcat crossing the road! We met Jackie
Ferrier, refuge biologist, and Elaine, one of the refuge volunteers, who
led us into the closed area.
Black Phoebe Silohuette
|A Cooper's Hawk was the welcoming committee. It
was cold starting out, and the cottonwood grove fairly quiet, with a
few Yellow-rumpeds and Black Phoebes. In the distance we got
an immature Bald Eagle and numbers of Northern Harriers. As we
left the grove, a Gray Flycatcher put in a brief appearance.
The ponds had a fine variety of ducks--Mallard,
Am. Wigeon, Gadwall, Bufflehead, N. Shoveler, teal, Ring-necked
and Lesser Scaup. Out in the wet fields were Ross', Snow,
and Canada Geese. Jackie said she'll never tire of the
Canada's honking--I agreed!
In one shallow pond Jackie found a flock of Least Sandpipers and a
Greater Yellowlegs. It took me forever to spot the yellowlegs, but
finally I did. We missed seeing any snipe the whole day!
Sparrows were also out and about, with large numbers of Savannahs and at
least one Vesper.
Martinez Lake provided excellent looks at Western Grebes and White
Pelicans. We heard the grebes' mating calls, and from their
vantage point, Jackie & Elaine saw their "pattering" dance
on the water. The sewage ponds at
Fisher's Landing had several more Black-necked Stilts and Least
Sandpipers, but even better was the Sage Sparrow and Bewick's
Wren. Then we said goodbye to Jackie and Elaine, and headed south to
Flycatcher, Dark-eyed Juncos, and a Lark Sparrow at the Hidden
Shores Golf Course watched us as we watched them. We
spent another two hours in a rather fruitless search for suitable
habitat among the lettuce fields of the n. Gila Valley.
I got a fine close-up
of the Great Egret above and this odd couple Killdeer and Spotted
Sandpiper. There were also several skittish kingfishers along the
canals, but not much else.
Killdeer & Spotted Sandpiper
On Sunday I was happy to see a Prairie Falcon fly
low directly over my head as I was filling a feeder, hover for a
second as it scanned the yard, and then take off. Later that
day we went to look for the Peregrine Falcon making life a risky
venture for the Rock Doves on 1st Street downtown. We found
him on the top of a high microwave tower and got some long-range
Red-necked Grebe - first
record for Yuma?
At a final
stop along the Colorado River w. of Joe Henry Park the bird gods
smiled upon us; a Red-necked Grebe came in for a landing several
hundred yards downstream. We got excellent views of it through the
scope, but the pics turned out poorly.