Southern California

29th April - 7th May 2006

Picacho State Recreational Area
& Mitry Lake NWR

On the banks of the Colorado River, Picacho SRA lies at the end of 18 miles of dusty, unpaved road through a very barren stretch of rocky desert. The Colorado River forms the border between California and Arizona and creates a fertile corridor through an otherwise hostile landscape.

Lincoln's Sparrow (Melospiza lincolnii)

Lincoln's Sparrows are winter visitors, inhabiting the marshy land by the banks of the river. Several individuals were still lingering in the area.

Northern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx serripennis)

female Great-tailed Grackle (Quiscalus mexicanus)

Just across the state border in Arizona, Mitry Lake lies on the opposite bank of the river. It is better known for its large concentrations of wildfowl in the winter but birding can still be reasonably productive in the summer...if you can tolerate the blazing heat that plagues this part of the country. By May the midday temperatures are already reaching 100°F (38°C) and it doesn't drop much below 80°F (27°C) at night.

Zebra-tailed Lizard (Callisaurus draconoides)

As with most desert areas in southern California, Desert Cottontails were abundant...

Desert Cottontail (Sylvilagus auduboni)

Salton Sea NWR California map San Deiguito River Park