Betty's Kitchen (#2 on the
map below), Mittry Lake, and the surrounding area offer a wealth
of bird-finding opportunities. Waterfowl, raptors, and
passerines are all to be found. The annual December
Christmas Bird Count nets between 110 and 130 species. Betty's
Kitchen was at one time a cafe that served a small community
just north of the Laguna Dam, but was completely flooded out in
1985. Since that time, BLM has constructed a parking area,
restrooms, a fishing pier, picnic facilities, and a 1/2-mile
interpretive trail that winds through riparian and desert scrub
Site #5 on the Yuma
Getting there from the intersection of I-8 and 16th Street takes
about 30 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 until the asphalt turns into gravel,
- Go another .4 miles and turn left onto a gravel road which crosses over
a finger of Mittry Lake (look for the sign for Betty's Kitchen
Wildlife and Interpretive Area, which is currently there-Dec 203)
- Go about .2 miles and turn left into the parking lot.
There are picnic tables and restrooms available.
is a $5.00 fee to visit this site, or you can buy a $50 annual pass
from the BLM office in Yuma (2555 E. Gila Ridge Rd), which is
also good at other BLM sites in the area.
spots correspond with the map on the right.)
is the eastern edge of Laguna Dam--the first dam on the Colorado
River, it was built in 1907 to control flooding. A mixture
of riparian and upland Sonora plants supports orioles,
kingbirds, gnatcatchers, Verdins, sparrows, and warblers.
Look at the historical bridge with Swastikas (on the sides)
which crosses a canal from the time the Laguna Dam was built in
1907. The Swastikas were originally Indian good luck icons, but
during WWII the Bureau of Reclamation had to post a guard to
keep the locals from tearing the bridge down.
Kitchen--the loop trail passes through several habitats.
Palm trees, mesquites, cottonwoods, willows, quailbush, and
reeds shelter Great Horned Owls, Crissal Thrasher, Abert's
Towhee, Verdins, hummingbirds, gnatcatchers, Ash-throated
Flycatchers, and warblers. Migration is even better, with
all the western warblers and numerous other passerines passing
through. Winter brings more sparrows, and the occasional
rarity (see list below). The half-mile loop trail is level, and
can be done at a leisurely pace in 30 minutes.
Nursery--this nursery is often flooded, and yields Spotted,
Green-tailed, and Abert's Towhees in the winter, as well as
Lincoln's, Song, Savannah, and Fox Sparrows. An Eastern
Phoebe spent some time here several winters ago.
Grove--this mature grove is reached by walking along the
agricultural fields beyond the locked gate (foot travel
welcome). Bullock's Orioles breed in the cottonwoods, and many
migrants rest & feed here. The fields will have a
variety of sparrows, Water Pipits, White-tailed Kites, Northern
Western Meadowlarks depending on the season.
Laguna Mountains--although not very birdy, you can usually find Rock Wrens and
Black-throated Sparrows, which are permanent residents.
on the map for aerial photo)
the birding suggestions on the left
Blue areas are water (canals, rivers, ponds, marshes, etc.)
dots are trees