Burrowing Owl 


Eastern Imperial Valley and Ramer Lake
Feb. 16, 2002 
Bob Miller

An afternoon of birding and exploring.  

species (list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Zipping down the highway headed for Brawley bright and early, I come across this Western Grebe sitting on the shoulder preening like it has no care in the world!  It must have landed on the pavement during the night thinking it was water. Uninjured, I gathered it up and slipped it into a nearby canal.

Rescued Western Grebe

Dark morph Red-tailed Hawk

Waiting till their was a break in the traffic, I moved in on it fast. The sharp bill I was expecting so I kept my face back and let it clamp onto my hand as my hand clamped onto its bill. It was content with that standoff. What I did not expect was the ear splitting screeches!!! This Red-tailed Hawk was interested in the commotion too!

With business in Brawley taken care of by noon, I headed out to Ramer Lake to see if the Eastern Phoebe was still hanging around. I was delighted to see a caravan of birders pulling into the lake. My friend Vic Leipzig leading the Sea and Sage Audubon's Salton Sea field trip!

Green Heron 

Red-winged Blackbirds 
With a bit of searching we found the Eastern Phoebe and a nice Vermilion Flycatcher. They told me of a large eagle they had seen to the east so I headed out that way to look for it and scout for Mountain Plover.
I found it just a few miles down the road and grabbed my camera and scope. This picture, as are most all of the bird pics on our website, was taken through a spotting scope with a digital camera. Digiscoping! Holding the camera still is the hardest part. I use a Nikon Coolpix 995 through my Kowa scope.

Juvenile Bald Eagle


I made a handy little device for centering the lens of the camera onto the scope by simply cutting a circle in the bottom of a pill bottle and slipping it over the eye piece of the scope. Looks kind of silly but it works! This keeps the scope free to be a scope and not just a big camera! Notice the eagle in the tree.

Henry has been using several cameras to find the one that works best for him. Moving on, I spent the rest of the afternoon just exploring the ag fields and canals. Most birders have limited time when they visit the Imperial Valley so they tend to hit the "hot spots". 

Burrowing Owl........s.

Mountain Plover

Some of my best birding experiences here in the valley came in places most birders would not think to try.  Examples? This comical pair of Burrowing Owls on a ditch bank or large numbers of Mountain Plover in out of the way places.

This dark morph Red-tailed Hawk at sunset was one of several very dark birds seen this day. Exploring the eastern parts of the valley can be especially rewarding for winter sparrows and longspurs! A day of birding along the East Highline Canal in late April or early May can be the best for spring migrants.

Red-tailed Hawk
Imperial Valley and Ramer Lake, Feb. 16, 2002
  1. Pied-billed Grebe

  2. Eared Grebe

  3. Western Grebe

  4. Clark's Grebe

  5. American White Pelican

  6. Double-crested Cormorant

  7. Great Blue Heron

  8. Great Egret

  9. Snowy Egret

  10. Cattle Egret

  11. Green Heron

  12. White-faced Ibis

  13. American Wigeon

  14. Northern Pintail

  15. Cinnamon Teal

  16. Northern Shoveler

  17. Ruddy Duck

  18. Turkey Vulture

  19. Bald Eagle

  20. Northern Harrier

  21. Cooper's Hawk

  22. Red-tailed Hawk

  23. American Kestrel

  24. American Coot

  25. Killdeer

  26. Mountain Plover

  27. Long-billed Curlew

  28. Greater Yellowlegs

  29. Ring-billed Gull

  30. Forster's Tern

  31. Rock Dove

  32. Mourning Dove

  33. Common Ground-Dove

  1. Inca Dove

  2. Greater Roadrunner

  3. Burrowing Owl

  4. Anna's Hummingbird

  5. Gila Woodpecker

  6. Ladder-backed Woodpecker

  7. Northern Flicker

  8. Eastern Phoebe

  9. Black Phoebe

  10. Say's Phoebe

  11. Vermilion Flycatcher

  12. Tree Swallow

  13. Northern Rough-winged Swallow

  14. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

  15. Phainopepla

  16. Cactus Wren

  17. Northern Mockingbird

  18. Verdin

  19. European Starling

  20. Orange-crowned Warbler

  21. Yellow-rumped Warbler

  22. Common Yellowthroat

  23. Spotted Towhee

  24. Abert's Towhee

  25. Chipping Sparrow

  26. Savannah Sparrow

  27. White-crowned Sparrow

  28. Dark-eyed Junco

  29. Red-winged Blackbird

  30. Western Meadowlark

  31. Great-tailed Grackle

  32. House Finch

  33. House Sparrow

Photos Bob Miller