National Wildlife Refuge
|317 Mesquite Avenue
Needles, CA 92363
Phone Number: 760-326-3853
|Visit the Refuge's Web Site:
Continued . . . It is easy to focus on animals like the desert bighorns or the elusive mountain lion and overlook the foundation of the Havasu NWR ecosystems. Jackrabbits, mice, and packrats form a plentiful prey base for coyotes, fox, and bobcats at the refuge. The colorful sandstone cliffs towering above Topock Gorge form more than a spectacular backdrop for boaters. Desert bighorn sheep find a haven in this vertical world connected to the thirst-quenching Colorado River.
Look for the southwestern willow flycatcher in spring and summer darting out from a willow perch to catch a flying insect. Flycatchers join hundreds of species on the refuge warblers, Yuma clapper rails, and western tanagers.
Though sightings of peregrine falcons are rare, they do nest on the refuge. A peregrine can plummet at 150 mph upon an unsuspecting bird flapping along far below the speedy predator.
The bald eagle, an American symbol, tends to stick close to the water, where fish and waterfowl are plentiful. Your best chance for bald eagle watching is in winter. An eagle will swoop down with talons outstretched to pluck a fish from the water. Bald eagles do not nest on this refuge, so sightings are mostly limited to fall and winter. Besides the rare birds, the refuge shelters thousands of Canada and snow geese and ducks each winter. Snow geese descend like a winter squall of whirling flakes in late October after a long flight from Arctic nesting grounds. By February they are gone. Assuring excellent habitat for wintering migratory birds is the primary goal of the refuge.
Western and Clark's grebes raise their young in both Topock Marsh and Topock Gorge. Herons and egrets nest in rookeries in the marsh. Along the river, songbirds warble from the shelter of Fremont cottonwoods, Gooding's willow, and honey and screwbean mesquite.
In the desert uplands, your best chance to see roadrunners and coveys of Gambel's quail is during warm weather in early morning or evenings.
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