At the mouth of Zion Canyon, the visitor center and South and Watchman Campgrounds sit in the Virgin River floodplain. The habitat is predominantly riparian and open desert. Rocky slopes leading to the cliffs on the edge of the canyons here provide a dry boulder strewn landscape that few birds use. The two campground loops have several trails leading to them and along the river connecting to other trails in the park. Any visit to the park should include some time spent exploring the areas here where wide open views allow for easy birding.
The campgrounds and visitor center receive some of the most birding in the park given the location at the entrance, as well as the great habitat. WESTERN BLUEBIRD nest in various locations around the visitor center providing great viewing opportunities. Both DOWNY and HAIRY WOODPECKER can be seen here on most visits year round--as well as SPOTTED TOWHEE and LESSER GOLDFINCH. During the summer months HOUSE WREN, CHIPPING SPARROW, YELLOW WARBLER, and BLACK-HEADED GROSBEAK are common sights. Summer southern Utah specialities like LUCY'S WARBLER are also a common find, while SUMMER TANAGERS are present in small numbers. The impressive 120+ bird list from this location has been highlighted by some good rarities including: GOLDEN-CROWNED SPARROW, PAINTED REDSTART, ROSE-BREASTED GROSBEAK, RED-BREASTED SAPSUCKER, and even a GILDED FLICKER. Although not commonly reported, both INDIGO BUNTING and RUFOUS-CROWNED SPARROW can be found here. The winter months aren't quite happening but the resident species are supplanted by DARK-EYED JUNCO, RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER, and WHITE-CROWNED SPARROW.
All Zion National Park hot spots directions in Zion Canyon, or to the east will originate from the visitor center parking lot for consistency. Anything in the north and west sides of the park will come from the nearest major intersection. From the visitor center... exit the visitor center. You're here! The South Campground is just to the northeast across the Virgin River, while Watchman Campground is due south. Both are within walking distance of the visitor center.