Today was the first of the last three days of my assignment at Imperial NWR. Nan and John Talley were signed up for my last bird tour of the season, but Nan sent me a message the other day that they were not enjoying the almost triple digit temps and had decided to head north to cooler weather.
So that left me with just myself for this tour. Not a problem! Instead of making sure any visitors had an enjoyable time, I could concentrate on just enjoying myself with my last glimpses of the wildlife management areas along the Colorado River.
Even though the temps were quickly approaching the 80’s, I was garbed in sweatpants and hoody inside the vehicle to help ward off the hordes of mosquitoes. Ever since the refuge has flooded the marsh areas, and much water has been released from the upriver dams, the refuge has turned into a mosquito paradise with all the standing water. I’d have to say it competes with the marshes of the upper Texas gulf coast for mosquito numbers. I never expected that considering I’m in the Sonoran desert.
Most of the wintering waterfowl has headed north towards their breeding grounds, but there are still plenty of American coots and egrets around. Those are the Chocolate Mountains in the background.
With the flooding of the marsh areas, the herons are busy beginning to nest and catch fish in the marsh areas.
While encountering a couple of turkey vultures along the way, I spotted something else in the distance.
Up popped a coyote out of the wet area. It quickly headed out away from me. I’ve noticed a definite lessening of coyote activity around the rig lately. I’m guessing they’re busy raising this year’s young and can’t be bothered with Emma at the moment. I’m happy about that.
I also found a pair of Western Kingbirds in one of the riparian areas. The top one was wrestling with a dragonfly. I wish it had found something else to eat as dragonflies love feeding on mosquitoes.
I decided I just couldn’t not include a pic of an American coot before I left here. It’s the only bird I guarantee visitors will see on any bird tour I give here. They’re almost as numerous as the mosquitoes. I really liked the reflections of the bull rushes in the water as well.
I took this shot as I was trying to get a clapper rail out into the open. He was ‘clapping’ away not far from me. I picked up two rocks to click together in hopes of enticing him out of the reeds, but it didn’t work.
It’s spring break around here for school kids, and tomorrow we have almost 30 youngsters coming to the refuge from the Yuma Proving Grounds holiday/summer day care program. In this heat, that ought to wear us out for the day.
Thanks for stopping by… talk to you later, Judy