Thursday, January 15, 2015

Imperial Wildlife Refuge–Birding with Judy, Mo and Sue…

The last time we were in Yuma we visited the Imperial Wildlife Refuge but at that time it was closed.  Since we are back in Yuma we definitely wanted to revisit it. As it turns out a special lady in blog land happened to be volunteering there this year. I contacted Judy, of Travels with Emma fame, and asked if she would be willing to be our guide for a tour. She replied that she had a plan and would let me know soon.


Judy set a date to meet for the tour and even better , Mo and Sue of The MoHo and Other Traveling Tales fame would join us on the tour. Sue and Mo are some other bloggers we have yet to meet although we have come close several times. What a perfect gathering for, as Judy put it a “Mini Blogger-fest.” (It seems plans are in the making for a larger blogger-fest at Quartzite this year and we plan to attend once we figure out exactly where it will be).

Anna's Hummingbird

The only challenge with this fine adventure was that Sharon would have to rise before the sun does. I am pretty sure Sharon hasn’t seen a sun rise in over three years but I woke her at 6:45 so we could hit the road by 7:30 for our 8:30 rendezvous with Judy, Mo and Sue. Surprisingly we arrived first only because I thought the drive would be a bit longer than it actually turned out to be. Sharon reminded me that she could have slept about 15 minutes longer had I had done better planning…

Anyhow Judy, Sue and Mo arrived soon thereafter where we exchanged our initial greetings and then hopped in the Imperial Refuge vehicle for the birding tour .We immediately began to see some common winter residents such as American Coot, Great Blue Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, Ruddy Ducks, Canvasbacks, Gadwall, Buffelheads, Canada Geese, Northern Harriers, Pied Billed Grebes, Eared Grebes, Western Grebes, Western Meadowlarks, Yellow Rumped Warblers and several Loggerhead Shrikes. We did see one really fun to see bird when Sue spotted an owl flying low over the marsh and when it lit in a tree by the road we could easily see the ear tufts of a Great Horned Owl, and what a beauty it was. Lots of photos were taken of this beautiful bird and as Judy pointed out in her blog the talons on this fine bird of prey were very distinguishable…

We had a blast getting to know Judy, Sue and Mo and were glad we made the 45 minute drive north. I would highly recommend that you go along with Judy for a bird tour at Imperial National Wildlife Refuge or wherever she be next as she is fun and very knowledgeable… It was a lucky day for us as we saw a beautiful Great Horned Owl as well as finally getting to meet Judy, Sue and Mo…


  1. What a nice visit and with a guide! That Great Horned Owl was spectacular. I had to laugh at Sharon getting up before the sun. I totally understand where she is coming from with the early morning thing. Sunsets are just fine with me ( and Sharon)!!

  2. Nice that you got to meet them, we were hoping to this year, but plans kinda slid sideways.

  3. I'm generally always up for a bird tour, but things have to work out just right at the refuge if it isn't a Sunday morning. :) It was great meeting you and Sharon. If you're up Oregon way next summer, I'd be happy to show you the nest birds of Goat Island in Oregon Islands NWR.

  4. Sure wish we'd been along... what fun!

  5. Yup, that Judy makes a great tour guide. Maybe she should think of getting a job doing it. Wait........thinking she does. Glad you all met.