The Ranch and Pond hotspot in Montezuma Creek Canyon is just one of several private properties located in the canyon that provide excellent birding. This notable location is just 1.6 miles north of Around the World Road on Montezuma Creek Road. On the west side of the wash, a small abandoned home, with several out buildings sit on the west side of the road. Surrounded by cottonwoods and other trees and shrubs, the house is backed by cliffs and desert scrub. On the north end of the property is a stable and old water tank. On the east side of the road is a large pond lined with cottonwoods, russian olives, and various other shrubs and plants. A thick marsh habitat often blankets part or most of the pond, depending on how low or high the water is. The entire area is surrounded by dry desert making this a tiny oasis about 300 yards west of the creek and main treeline in the canyon.
The ranch pond in Montezuma Creek Canyon has been a reliable spot for BLACK PHOEBE for a number of years now. Although this species occurs in the eastern part of the state, it is still sparsely reported. I have seen pairs here on almost every trip hanging around the pond. A small variety of waterfowl have been observed, notably HOODED MERGANSER, RUDDY DUCK, GREEN-WINGED TEAL, and RING-NECKED DUCK. Looking to the sky WHITE-THROATED SWIFT, VIOLET-GREEN, CLIFF, and NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOWS might be present. There has been a GREAT HORNED OWL here in the past, and occasionally WILD TURKEY are seen in the vicinity. BLACK-THROATED SPARROW are a permanent resident, as well as ROCK and CANYON WREN on the nearby cliffs. Various other songbirds have been recorded here including LINCOLN'S SPARROW, BULLOCK'S ORIOLE, and WESTERN WOOD-PEWEE. Birding is best here between April and June, and then probably not to shabby during fall migration. I like to park along the road and just walk the entire length of the property checking out the trees and shrubs, and giving the pond a good look.
From the intersection of Main and Center Streets in Blanding head south on Main Street for 1.8 miles. Turn left onto 1800 South/Browns Canyon Road. After 1.1 miles turn right onto Perkins Rd/Rte 2416/Universe Road. Follow this for 4.2 miles then keep right at the split on CR-206/Around the World Road for 14.3 miles till you reach Montezuma Creek Road. Hand a left and continue north 1.5 miles to the ranch and pond.