Sabine's Gull - juvenile


Dateland Shrimp Ponds 
14 Sep 2004
by Henry Detwiler

Heading back to Yuma from Luke AFB, stopped off for a couple of hours to find some birds!
species -- bird list is at the bottom of the page
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.  

I pulled into the ponds just after 2:00pm, with the temperature hovering around 100 degrees--actually cooler than it has been lately!  Numerous phalaropes were in the first three ponds, with the vast majority being Red-necked.

Red-necked Phalarope

Wilson's Phalarope

Snowy plovers were around in good numbers, and posed for several photos.  They spent more time on the berms than most of the other shorebirds.  Perhaps looking for habitat similar to home.

Scattered among most of the ponds were pairs (or singles) of Wilson's Phalaropes.  I tried valiantly to find Pierre's Red Phalarope (from 9/11), but was unsuccessful.  But ten ponds, each ten acres, is a LOT of water to cover.

Snowy Plover

Black Phoebe

While the vast majority of birds at the Shrimp Ponds are waders, terns, ducks, and shorebirds, there are also a fair number of other visitors.  This after saw my first Vaux's Swift for the ponds, along with the ever-present Black Phoebes, quail, Osprey, and Abert's Towhee.

Sabine's Gull - juvenile

Pierre Deviche found an adult Sabine's Gull at the ponds on 9/11, and I was looking hard. The first one I saw was a juvenile swimming on Pond #3; before long it flew off to the west.  

When I reached the final pond (#10), I was happy to find not just the juvenile, but the adult Sabine's Gull there as well!  They were bobbing their heads in the water and swimming about.  Soon the youngster took off.

Sabine's Gulls - juvenile & adult

Sabine's Gulls - juvenile

It followed the young one, flying off to one of the ponds on the east side of the complex--watching for shrimp & other tasty morsels as it flew off. 

Here's the juvenile Sabine's banking for a landing.  It came down on the berm in front of me.  (See the picture at the top of the page.)  Then it took off and headed east.  The adult Sabine's Gull didn't stick around long, either.

Sabine's Gulls - adult

The only other gull present today was an immature California Gull--huge in comparison to this small fellow.  There were also a number of Black Terns and a few Forster's.  After two hours in the sun, I decided it was time to go home--but I'll be back!

Dateland Shrimp Ponds, 14 Sep 2004
# Species Qty
1 Pied-billed Grebe 3
2 Eared Grebe 8
3 Great Blue Heron 6
4 Great Egret 8
5 Snowy Egret 2
6 Cattle Egret 2
7 Black-crowned Night Heron 10
8 White-faced Ibis 38
9 Cinnamon Teal -
10 Northern Shoveler -
11 Northern Pintail -
12 Green-winged Teal -
13 Ruddy Duck -
14 Osprey 1
15 Gambel's Quail 1
16 American Coot 14
17 Snowy Plover 12
18 Semipalmated Plover 8
19 Killdeer 18
20 Black-necked Stilt 80+
21 Greater Yellowlegs 20+
# Species Qty
22 Lesser Yellowlegs 8
23 Willet 10
24 Western Sandpiper 100s
25 Least Sandpiper 60+
26 Baird's Sandpiper 3
27 Long-billed Dowitcher 14
28 Wilson's Phalarope 30+
29 Red-necked Phalarope 300+
30 Turkey Vulture 2
31 California Gull 1
32 Sabine's Gull 2
33 Forster's Tern 6
34 Black Tern 14
35 Mourning Dove 3
36 Greater Roadrunner 1
37 Vaux's Swift 1
38 Black Phoebe 10
39 Say's Phoebe 1
40 Wilson's Warbler 1
41 Abert's Towhee 1
42 Savannah Sparrow 2

Photos Henry D. Detwiler