where, when, and what to find


posted by Tim Avery at
on Wednesday, April 1, 2015 

Beryl from Google Street View

Beryl is an unincorporated community in Iron County that was originally established as a Union Pacific Railroad siding.  Now it is more of a ghost town.  If you look on Google Maps, it looks like a city was laid out here, with perfectly rectangle blocks for streets--but there is nothing there--just sagebrush, rabbit brush, and greasewood surrounded by desert. The 1 mile by 1 mile grid does have a few birding features, like a small patch of trees in the northeast corner around some old shacks--this is where the water tower is located, and where the road crosses the tracks going north and then west. In the northeast corner of the quadrant is a small compound where someone lives, and there are about 6 or 7 small deciduous trees here as well.  If you were to go north on 800 West you would eventually reach a large farm, with a huge field on the west side of the road, several small fields on the east side of the road, and a ton of trees.  The drive is lined with them for about a 1/4 miles, and the housing area is also surrounded.  This looks like some of the best migrant trap birding i Beryl, but I am not sure who owns it, or how welcome they would be to birders, so tread lightly if you choose to go here.  In general shrubsteppe is the habitat throughout the area aside form the 3 spots mentioned above.  There are other scattered farms for miles in every direction as well.

There aren't a lot of reasons to go to Beryl--its dusty, dry and in the middle of nowhere.  There is potentially some migrant trap possibilities here but it would be a long way out here, if there were no migrants.  Some of the breeders here are good local birds though.  SAGEBRUSH SPARROW is notably common at this locations, while BLACK-THROATED, LARK, and BREWER'S SPARROW are also found. SAGE THRASHER, WESTERN KINGBIRD, SAY'S PHOEBE, and WESTERN MEADOWLARK are also expected.  COMMON POORWILL and BURROWING OWL have been reported, while the most abundant species present is HORNED LARK.  Judging the checklists that have been submitted I am guessing that lists have been submitted from nearby juniper habitat, far from Beryl, as some of the species are directly associated with that habitat, and not the habitat found in Beryl.

From I-15 Exit 59 in Cedar City head west on SR-56 for 35.3 miles to Beryl Junction. Turn right and go north 11.9 miles on the Beryl Highway.  At this point you are in the southeast corner of a 1 mile by 1 mile set of streets for what was Beryl.  There is nothing there currently. If you continue a mile north you will hit a crossroad.  Here if you turn left then immediately right over the tracks you will end up on 10400 north and can drive about a mile west to take a right on 800 west and head north to a farm along a tree lined drive.  Otherwise, where every you drive in the area, it is all considered Beryl.

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