Site Details

descriptions and directions

Cottonwood Marsh photo by Peter Burke

Hale area - Yuma County
Aliases: Hale Ponds State Wildlife Area, South Republican State Wildlife Area, South Republican Wildlife Easement
Ownership: None Listed
Description: Below the dam at Bonny Reservoir is the old Hale townsite. If you want to see the king of all hedgerows, this is where to go. These large rows (perhaps 8-10 in all) can be especially productive in the winter, when (with the appropriate number of people) you are likely to see at least one Long-eared Owl. The past few winters there has been a Barn Owl hanging out here, and there are usually sparrow flocks that can contain Harris' or White-throated Sparrows. These hedgerows can also be good during migration, when anything can show up (well, not a Great Green Macaw). Keep an eye out for Northern Cardinal; this is just about the best area around Bonny to find one. If the hedgerows are hopping, it may be worth your while to head north along the road and bird the trees just past the hedgerows. PLEASE do not trespass on the private property here.

North of Hale, just across the river, is the South Republican Wildlife Easement. Rock Wren breeds here, and Sprague's Pipit has been found in fall migration. To look for the pipits, drive through the entrance gate in late September or October and follow the road about a mile to the next gate, which marks the end of public land. Park before going through this second gate and hike up the hill to the right of the road. Walk the ridgeline between the fence and a windmill to the northeast, listening for the characteristic calls of flushed pipits and watching to see where they land. If this fails, keep searching the ridgeline from the windmill east back to the end of the high ground, near the easement entrance.

Hale Ponds State Wildlife Area along the South Fork of the Republican River can be good for migrants and some breeding species, but is seldom birded. All of the uncommon breeders listed for Bonny occur here, and some are easier to find. Look for Yellow-billed Cuckoo in summer and Eastern Screech-Owl at any season.

South Republican State Wildlife Area is another large wooded area along the South Republican. The same birds that can be seen at Hale Ponds occur here, though the lack of ponds make for fewer waterbirds. Walking the river between here and Hale Ponds is usually dull, but can greatly increase your chances of finding any of the breeding species you still need, or of finding an uncommon sparrow or a Winter Wren during the colder months.

Habitat: Lake/Pond/Reservoir, Lowland Riparian, Marsh, Hedgerow/Shelterbelt, Grassland/Prairie, Yucca
Directions: See Bonny Reservoir for directions to the dam. At the south end of the dam CR 2 winds down below the dam to the DOW headquarters and from there east to a T intersection with the north-south CR LL.5. Directly ahead of you, to the east of this intersection, are the Hale hedgerows. To check the other spots, turn left (north). In a short distance, CR 4 heads east; this is the access road for the South Republican SWA, which stretches along the road and the river for several miles, and for Hale Ponds SWA, which is on the left a few miles farther east, just shy of the Kansas border. Much of the wooded area along CR 4 is open to birders; obey posted access signs. Finally, to get to the South Republican Wildlife Easement (Sprague's Pipit spot), continue north on LL.5 from "Hale"across the S. Fork Republican River and take the first left into the property.
Other Wildlife:
Other Attractions:

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CBRC Records from Hale area

SpeciesAccession No.Date(s)
Alder Flycatcher2014-134 08/31/2014
Alder Flycatcher2015-073 05/21/2015
Alder Flycatcher2017-08629 May 2017
Black Phoebe34-88-226/12/1988
Blue-headed Vireo#3851810/6/1982
Sedge Wren2018-047 05/12/2018
Gray-cheeked Thrush44-87-565/12/1986
Gray-cheeked Thrush2013-219 09/28/2013
Varied Thrush1999-1191/1/1999
Sprague's Pipit2004-55 10/10/2004
Sprague's Pipit2005-8 10/2/2005
Sprague's Pipit2007-70 10/13/2007
Sprague's Pipit2011-141 10/15/2011
LeConte's Sparrow56-93-15 5/12/1993 - 5/13/1993
Mourning Warbler2017-035 05/29/2017
Mourning Warbler2020-065 16 May 2020
Cape May Warbler2021-030 16 May 2021
Painted Bunting56-92-925/10/1992