Flickr album link: Wayne E Kirch Wildlife Management Area
Bird watching during the spring and autumn migration seasons is a pastime for many people, but in the desert regions of the west this can be a challenge. Grassy meadows rich with flower blooms that attract insects and songbirds do not exist out this way and there are very few tall trees to roost on. Basically, the best hope for a successful seasonal bird watching venture in the desert is to head for the water. Where there is water, there is life and this is especially true in the very arid Great Basin Desert of Nevada. The problem with this strategy is the travel mileage, because water resources are few and far between in this vast desolate expanse. The recent fuel price gouging of 2022 does not help matters either, so it is best to be sure the timing is right for spotting specific bird species. On the bright side, wading birds and waterfowl are nearly always found year round where there is water, even way out in the middle of the desert.
The Wayne E Kirch Wildlife Management Area is located in the Great Basin Desert on Nevada Highway 318, about halfway between Crystal Springs and historic Ely. This wildlife area is nestled in a lengthy desert valley bordered by towering mountains. The White River runs through this desert valley and this ancient waterway is a longstanding migrational pathway as well as a traditional travel route of the indigenous people. This small river has carved its way through this basin over eons of time, so it goes without saying that if one wishes to see migrating birds, then all that needs to be done is to follow this waterway north. The wetland areas and small reservoir lakes along this river definitely are birding hot spots and this is where the Kirch Wildlife Management Area fits into the picture.
The Kirch Wildlife Management Area features several riverside boat launches and picnic areas, which are perfect for a casual day of birding. There is a campground onsite too, so enthusiasts and photographers will not have far to commute early in the morning when the birding is best. This White River waterfowl management area is also a great spot to do some angling, so be sure to pack fishing tackle for the ride. Stocking up heavy on food, fuel and water will be necessary too, since civilization is quite a long distance away. The Kirch Wildlife Management Area is a great spot to spend some quality time, so be sure to keep this birding destination in mind when passing through this end of the Great Basin Desert!
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