Camping alongside the wetlands of the Colorado River listening to the birds.
We’re camping at Palo Verde County Park which is nestled between Hwy 78 and the Colorado River a couple of miles from the Cibola Wildlife Refuge. It looked like there was no charge for camping - no host, no posted fee, no iron ranger box; but just before we left (after a week), a ranger pulled in and quoted us the rate ($10 night!). Luckily, he only charged us for about 3 nights - a lot more reasonable. There’s a boat ramp, bathrooms, a dumpster and access points to the river. Sat in the sun by my trailer watching the birds (White Herons, Great Blue Herons, Scoots, Grebes, Northern Pintails) and listening to a bunch more we couldn’t see (finally Julie spotted the 2 Great Horned Owls that roost in the trees near us). Occasionally, small fishing boats would troll or float by. All in all a very pleasant stay.
|The view from my campsite|
Just South of the county park we stayed is Palo Verde Oxbow Park at the turn onto Baseline Road which leads to the refuge. Oxbow Park is a good size BLM run campground ($15 night/$7.50 with the Senior Pass). We found more boon-docking on the way to the refuge; a large sandy area just after and to the right after crossing a one way bridge on Baseline Road; and also across a cattle guard opposite the refuge visitor center.
Cibola Wildlife Refuge
Even though we were visiting a bit after peak season, we saw a lot of birds on the Auto Tour - a 3 mile loop passing a pond, going through alfalfa fields that are flooded during the winter for the birds, and past many constructed burrows for the Burrowing Owl population. There is also a 1/2 mile walking tour through the desert but we were advised that a bobcat has been seen there and not to take Scruffy unless we carried hiking sticks – we decided to do the walk another day, maybe without the dog.
While there weren’t a ton of birds at the ‘loafing pond’, being a beginning birder, I sure saw a lot of different birds to add to my list.
This was one of the smaller constructions – maybe a studio apartment; some were more like large condominiums with lots of pipe for burrows and many crossed sticks for perches.