Feather dusters in a hurricane.....


Salton Sea & Imperial Valley
Aug 17, 2002 
Guide -
Bob Miller

A day of HOT birding with Bruce and Cher from Lompoc CA!

species (list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Young Verdin

We started bright and early on a typical summer day that got hot early. The birding I mean, the temperature was actually pretty nice for August in Imperial Valley! Our first stop was Fites Rd. as the sun broke the horizon. Almost the first bird seen was a Lucy's Warbler! A rare bird in this area and this individual had summered here.

We had some early migrants also and a Crissal Thrasher that gave us all of four seconds as it flew out from our feet and dropped over the hill. A second Lucy's Warbler was the biggest surprise of the morning so far. If we had not watched the first one fly far off to the east of us as this one came in from the west....

American Rubyspot Damselfly

Roseate Skimmer Dragonfly

Plenty a damsel & dragon about too! Like this female Roseate Skimmer. As we were leaving a flash of color caught or eye along the waters edge. American Rubyspot! The flashiest damsel you'll ever see. Blue Dasher, Western Pondhawk, Widow Skimmer, Black Saddlebags, Rambur's Forktail and Familiar Bluet were some of the other Odes.

We enjoyed a famous Carne Asada Burrito at Johnny's in Westmorland and headed for the Salton Sea. Numerous Caspian Tern were around with young but Gull-billed Terns had left early this year.

Adult & juvenile Caspian Terns

Along the sea wall, this young (?) Semipalmated Plover held our attention for awhile. Something about it just seemed odd. Very little white over the eye, the markings were not black, a lot of brown over the bill... it could be nothing else but it was still unusual looking. Around the bend we watched a huge flock of American White Pelicans feeding. Nature's comedy.

Semipalmated Plover 

Wood Stork were notoriously few at the Salton Sea this year so you can imagine our joy when this juvenile bird gave us a show. How many places can you photograph Wood Stork and Yellow-footed Gull in the same frame?!

Wood Stork 

Wood Stork

There had been a Reddish Egret reported a few days earlier near Obsidian Butte so we were watching every opening. We came around the corner to find it chasing wildly about in the middle of the pond. Pelicans, gulls and terns were in the same pond. 

Reddish Egret,        Brown Pelicans & Yellow-footed Gull 

This young Desert Spiny Lizard greeted us at the Sonny Bono SSNWR. A quick turn through Finney/Ramer and then it was Su Casa time. As in Escalera's Su Casa for a real tasty Mexican plate to end the day! 

Desert Spiny Lizard 


   Salton Sea & Imperial Valley, Aug. 17, 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. Reddish Egret

  11. Snowy Egret

  12. Cattle Egret

  13. Green Heron

  14. Black-crowned Night-Heron

  15. Least Bittern

  16. Wood Stork

  17. White-faced Ibis

  18. Mallard

  19. Northern Pintail

  20. Cinnamon Teal

  21. Northern Shoveler

  22. Redhead

  23. Ruddy Duck

  24. Turkey Vulture

  25. Red-tailed Hawk

  26. American Kestrel

  27. Gambel's Quail

  28. Common Moorhen

  29. American Coot

  30. Black-necked Stilt

  31. American Avocet

  32. Black-bellied Plover

  33. Semipalmated Plover

  34. Killdeer

  35. Long-billed Dowitcher

  36. Marbled Godwit

  37. Whimbrel

  38. Greater Yellowlegs

  39. Spotted Sandpiper

  40. Willet

  41. Ruddy Turnstone

  42. Western Sandpiper

  43. Least Sandpiper

  44. Ring-billed Gull

  45. California Gull

  46. Yellow-footed Gull

  47. Laughing Gull

  48. Caspian Tern

  1. Forster's Tern

  2. Black Tern

  3. Rock Dove

  4. Mourning Dove

  5. White-winged Dove

  6. Common Ground-Dove

  7. Inca Dove

  8. Greater Roadrunner

  9. Barn Owl

  10. Burrowing Owl

  11. Lesser Nighthawk

  12. Black-chinned Hummingbird

  13. Belted Kingfisher

  14. Gila Woodpecker

  15. Ladder-backed Woodpecker

  16. Willow Flycatcher

  17. Pacific-slope Flycatcher

  18. Black Phoebe

  19. Ash-throated Flycatcher

  20. Western Kingbird

  21. Tree Swallow

  22. Northern Rough-winged Swallow

  23. Cliff Swallow

  24. Cactus Wren

  25. Northern Mockingbird

  26. Crissal Thrasher

  27. Black-tailed Gnatcatcher

  28. Verdin

  29. Loggerhead Shrike

  30. European Starling

  31. Warbling Vireo

  32. Orange-crowned Warbler

  33. Lucy's Warbler

  34. Yellow Warbler

  35. Common Yellowthroat

  36. Wilson's Warbler

  37. Spotted Towhee

  38. Abert's Towhee

  39. Savannah Sparrow

  40. Song Sparrow

  41. Black-headed Grosbeak

  42. Red-winged Blackbird

  43. Western Meadowlark

  44. Yellow-headed Blackbird

  45. Brewer's Blackbird

  46. Great-tailed Grackle

  47. Brown-headed Cowbird

  48. House Finch

  49. House Sparrow

Photos Bob Miller