SOUTHWEST BIRDERS

YUMA AREA BIRDING GUIDE
Gila River Cottonwood & Willow Grove


Yellow Warbler in Cottonwood

TOURS & RATES      WHO WE ARE      BIRDING      PHOTOGRAPHY      LINKS      HOME

 
DESCRIPTION

An area of mature cottonwoods, willows, farm fields, cat tails, and flowing water.  The Gila River runs south of the grove, and a farmer's drain runs through the grove into the Gila River.  Within the grove, the drain is used by numerous warblers, tanagers, and sparrows as bathing and drinking location.  The fields to the north of the grove are used by buntings, sparrows, shorebirds, raptors, and owls.  One of the canals which feeds the drain is frequented by waders and Cinnamon Teal.  


Bathing area in the grove

DRIVING DIRECTIONS

Site #4 on Yuma East Overview Map

Getting there from the intersection of I-8 and 16th Street takes 15-20 minutes:

- Drive east on 16th Street (Highway 95) 5.1 miles to Ave 7E (Circle K and Chevron stations). 
- Turn left on Ave 7E and drive north for 1.7 miles. 
- Turn right on the levee dirt/gravel road just after crossing the Gila River. 
- Drive east about 1.4 miles
- Park on the wide spot of the levee
- There will be a trail leading down from the levee into and through the Gila River Grove (it does get overgrown and cottony at times)
- If you'd rather bird from the levee, that's also provides great views!

BIRDING SUGGESTIONS
(Numbered spots correspond with the map on the right.)

1) The bridge over the Gila River has breeding Cliff Swallows under it.  The large trees on both sides attract woodpeckers.  This is the only spot you will actually see the Gila River.

2) As you drive along the levee in summer, watch for Blue Grosbeaks perched in the trees.  During the winter look for Cooper's and Sharp-shinned Hawks. 

3) The fields north of the levee will have a variety of birds, depending on the season.  Flooded fields during migration can bring 15 species of shorebirds.  Burrowing owls nest along some of the berms. 

4) Yellow-headed Blackbirds nest along the river--listen for their squeaky, rusty door-hinge call.  Listen also for Clappers and Soras.

5) This is the heart of the grove, which has warblers, flycatchers, grosbeaks, tanagers, and finches during migration.  Cuckoos visit in late summer.

Gila River Grove

(Click on the map for aerial photo)
   

Red numbers correspond to 
the birding suggestions on the left.  
Blue areas are water (canals, rivers, ponds, marshes, etc.)
Green dots are areas with trees.

POSSIBLE SIGHTINGS
-
unusual birds highlighted in dark red

Migrants:

Warblers
-Hermit, Black-throated Gray, MacGillivray's, Townsend's, Yellow-rumped, Wilson's, Nashville
-Yellow Warbler (breeds)
-Common Yellowthroat (breeds)
-Yellow-breasted Chat (breeds)

Flycatchers
-Western Kingbird (breeds)
-Ash-throated Flycatcher (breeds)
-Western Wood Pewee
-
Willow Flycatcher (might breed)
-
Olive-sided Flycatcher
-Greater Pewee
(rare)
-Phoebes 
-watch for rarities - see Bird List

Other Passerines
-thrushes
-Blue Grosbeak (breeds)
-gnatcatchers 
-
Yellow-billed Cuckoo
-finches
-
Pine Siskin
-Bullock's Oriole (breeds)
-sparrows

Year-round Residents:

-American Coot
-Greater Roadrunner
-Turkey Vulture
-Gambel's Quail
-Burrowing Owl

-Ladder-backed Woodpecker
-Verdin
-Song Sparrow

GILA GROVE TRIP REPORTS 
(Web Pages)

These pages give you some idea of the birds that you can find in this location during the different seasons.
     

Dave Taylor, Jeff Coker, & Henry Detwiler's List
(this is a comprehensive bird list from the area, 1988-2002)

May 12, 2002
(several days of excellent warbler & tanager watching)



Male Western Tanager
Gila River Grove


Female Western Tanager
Gila River Grove

     
Photos Henry D. Detwiler
Last Update: 16 Aug 2002