Imperial NWR is part of a complex of three refuges that also include Kofa NWR and Cibola NWR. We get visitors in the VC from all over, and I felt I needed to know more about the other refuges within driving distance. So, yesterday Emma and I headed out to visit Cibola.
Even though it’s only about 25 miles north of the VC at Imperial, as the crow flies, I’m not a crow and the drive to get there is just short of 120 miles from my rig one way. I had to drive up through Quartzite on US 95 to catch I-10 west to Blythe, CA, and then head south on the other side of the Colorado River to reach Cibola NWR.
My first stop was the VC, of course, to introduce myself as a fellow volunteer and find out where to go and what to see. Both of the volunteers there suggested the wildlife drive, but cautioned me numerous times that I was not allowed to get out of my car while on the drive. All righty then. I’m not much of a rule breaker, but apparently I appeared so.
I also asked if I could drive through the volunteer village to take a look at the accommodations. I was given permission to do that. I always like to consider other volunteer opportunities, and seeing the RV sites is high on my list. Shade covers were provided at all six sites. Sounds nice, but I noted two problems with that for me. First off, my DISH is mounted on top of my rig, so that wouldn’t work under the canopy as far as I know. Secondly, there was only about ten feet between your rig and your neighbor’s rig on each side. A little tight for my preferences.
Then I was off on the wildlife drive. There’s a large pond area with hundreds of Canada geese and snow geese near the beginning of the drive. Some other waterfowl were mixed in as well.
Northern pintails were walking and floating about…
Along with northern shovelers. Cibola is touted as having the most waterfowl of the three refuges in the complex, but as far as what the general public can see, there’s not much more than what can be seen at Imperial in my opinion.
The rest of the wildlife drive is around the managed crop fields on the refuge. Along the irrigation canals, are more than a dozen of these unusual structures. They are maintained for the use of burrowing owls. Burrowing owls have their homes underground, and come up to hunt and loaf. These man-made structures have what looks like sewer hoses leading to underground burrows. The cross-like structures are for the owls to perch on. My hopes of seeing one at high noon were not high. You’ll have to take my word for it that a burrowing owl was sitting outside, but as I approached it ran down the pipe.
Luckily, as I was nearing the end of the drive one owl was out soaking up some rays!
These owls are pretty much nocturnal, and hunt small rodents. I considered myself lucky that one was out taking a sun bath. I didn’t intrude upon his slumber time for too long, and I definitely didn’t get out of the car.
I’m glad I made this trip to Cibola. Having been there, I feel better about what I can tell folks that visit here and ask about it. In a little over a week, I’ll be heading out to familiarize myself with Kofa NWR. Can’t do that this coming week, as I’ll be busy having fun with some folks many of you may know. I’m trying to build a little suspense here…
Time to get some shut eye for now… THE END!
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy