The Bill Williams River flows west out of central Arizona and joins the Colorado River at Lake Havasu near Parker Dam. Planet Ranch Road leaves Highway US-95 south of Bill Williams River and follows the valley east 2½ miles where a barricade prevents any vehicles from advancing, but the route continues for those willing to ride “Shank’s Mare” as we old-timers used to say. The valley floor here is thick in willow, sycamore, cottonwood and other riparian trees and shrubs growing in the deep sands washed down from the higher plateaus over countless millennia.
Though environments such as these dense woods are great for a host of avian encounters, they do not lend themselves well to bird photography. When subjects are flitting through a high canopy silhouetted against a bright sky or skulking through the shadows in dense brush and understory, gathering good images can be a challenge.
A different bird community can be met on the neighboring brush covered rocky desert slopes bordering the valley floor, and at the boundary between trees and brush, one can find a mix of birds from both communities.
The birds I met here were Ruby-Crowned Kinglet, Bewick’s Wren, Black-Tailed Gnatcatcher, Verdin, Loggerhead Shrike.