Lesser Black-backed Gull 


Salton Sea & the Coachella and Imperial Valleys
Feb 24, 2002 
-Bob Miller

A full day of birding with Francois Trudel from Ottawa, Ontario.  Beginning in Thousand Palms and circling the Salton Sea.  For more pictures from this trip  click here! 

species (today's list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Black Phoebe


By 0615 we were headed South and birding through Coachela Valley. Our first destination was Lincoln Ave. and 67th, an old place called The Rattlesnake Ranch, where we were able to find the Yellow-bellied Sapsucker that had been on the RBA for a few days. We also had good looks at Phainopepla, Black Phoebe and Cactus Wren here. A huge flock of Ring-billed Gulls on the roadway was interesting. The wind was starting to kick up and we missed on the Northern Parula and Cedar Waxwings that had been near here a few days prior. We picked up Gambel's Quail along Lincoln as we made our way to Johnson Road. At the end of Johnson we had our first good look at the Salton Sea. Great looks at Eared, Western and Clark's Grebes as well as very close looks at Long-billed Dowitchers were had here.

Ring-billed Gulls

Long-billed Dowitcher

There are numerous GBHE nests here at Johnson Rd. The remnants of a past ranch site jut surreally out of the water. Shade structures and old equipment provide perches and what was once a dike around a fresh water pond is now an island in the Salton Sea.

Great Blue Heron

American White Pelican

At the Salton Sea State Park we had fine looks at this Lesser Black-backed Gull (top) that has wintered there for the last three or four years. These AWPE soaring over our heads and all of the typical gulls for the Salton Sea at this time of year were seen at the State Park too.

At Wister Waterfowl Area HQ on Davis Road we were treated to this striking male Vermilion Flycatcher and an obliging Ladder-backed Woodpecker. We birded down Davis Rd and through the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR, then across Obsidian Butte and along the sea wall.

Vermilion Flycatcher

We were now into miles of agriculture and still ticking off new birds at every turn. This field of flowers was a real eye catcher. We made a stop at the Barn Owl "Condominiums" for the typical ten second look at one of the residents before it moved in slow motion to the back of it's room! With the sun setting fast, we realized that we had only seen White-faced Ibis as distant little black lines on the horizon and we were not in a position to remedy that situation! "Help I'm birding and I can't stop" ran into a deadline for a conference meeting so we high tailed it back up the west shore to the Marriott just in time.  

Flower fields in Imperial Valley

The birders!

Salton Sea & the Coachella and Imperial Valleys, Feb. 24, 2002
  1. Pied-billed Grebe

  2. Eared Grebe

  3. Western Grebe

  4. Clark's Grebe

  5. American White Pelican

  6. Brown Pelican

  7. Double-crested Cormorant

  8. Great Blue Heron

  9. Great Egret

  10. Snowy Egret

  11. Cattle Egret

  12. American Bittern

  13. Snow Goose

  14. Ross's Goose

  15. American Wigeon

  16. Green-winged Teal

  17. Mallard

  18. Northern Pintail

  19. Cinnamon Teal

  20. Northern Shoveler

  21. Canvasback

  22. Redhead

  23. Lesser Scaup

  24. Ruddy Duck

  25. Turkey Vulture

  26. Osprey

  27. Northern Harrier

  28. Red-tailed Hawk

  29. American Kestrel

  30. Gambel's Quail

  31. Clapper Rail

  32. Virginia Rail

  33. Sora

  34. Common Moorhen

  35. American Coot

  36. Black-necked Stilt

  37. American Avocet

  38. Black-bellied Plover

  39. Killdeer

  40. Long-billed Dowitcher

  41. Greater Yellowlegs

  42. Lesser Yellowlegs

  43. Spotted Sandpiper

  44. Willet

  45. Western Sandpiper

  46. Least Sandpiper

  47. Stilt Sandpiper

  1. Ring-billed Gull

  2. California Gull

  3. Herring Gull

  4. Lesser Black-backed Gull

  5. Bonaparte's Gull

  6. Caspian Tern

  7. Rock Dove

  8. Mourning Dove

  9. Common Ground-Dove

  10. Greater Roadrunner

  11. Barn Owl

  12. Burrowing Owl

  13. Belted Kingfisher

  14. Yellow-bellied Sapsucker

  15. Ladder-backed Woodpecker

  16. Northern Flicker

  17. Black Phoebe

  18. Say's Phoebe

  19. Vermilion Flycatcher

  20. Tree Swallow

  21. Northern Rough-winged Swallow

  22. Cliff Swallow

  23. American Pipit

  24. Ruby-crowned Kinglet

  25. Phainopepla

  26. Cactus Wren

  27. Marsh Wren

  28. Northern Mockingbird

  29. Blue-gray Gnatcatcher

  30. Verdin

  31. Loggerhead Shrike

  32. Common Raven

  33. European Starling

  34. Orange-crowned Warbler

  35. Yellow-rumped Warbler

  36. Abert's Towhee

  37. Savannah Sparrow

  38. Song Sparrow

  39. White-crowned Sparrow

  40. Dark-eyed Junco

  41. Red-winged Blackbird

  42. Western Meadowlark

  43. Brewer's Blackbird

  44. Great-tailed Grackle

  45. House Finch

  46. House Sparrow

Photos Bob Miller