American Avocets at Sunset


Imperial Valley & Salton Sea
Feb 22, 2003 - 60-78 degrees 
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

Charu, Raj, and I spent the day traveling the Imperial Valley in search of unusual birds and Salton Sea specialties. 
species (list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

I met Charu and Raj at Cattle Call Park in Brawley at 8:00 a.m.  Gila & Ladder-backed Woodpeckers, and N. Flickers were quite visible, as was a chortling Cactus Wren, this Western Meadowlark, and a talented Northern Mockingbird with a varied repertoire.  

Western Meadowlark

Burrowing Owl
The Barn Owl Condo (haystack) was our next stop, and we peered in a nest to see the tops of two heart-shaped faces.  Along Lack Road we got excellent views of several hundred American Pipits and a single Chestnut-collared Longspur in 90% breeding plumage.  At the refuge headquarters we watched a pair of Cattle Egrets give merciless chase to a third, who had a mouse in its bill.

This pair of Burrowing Owls was along English Road, standing outside their nest burrow.  We watched them through the scope as they watched us.

Burrowing Owl pair


At the corner of Eddins and Brandt, we saw the Lewis' Woodpecker flying about and feeding on a palm.  At Niland, we searched unsuccessfully for the LeConte's Sparrow, but we did see Brewer's, Vesper, Savannah, and a Lincoln's.  A quick trip up to Wister netted us a Gambel's Quail and this Black Phoebe.

Black Phoebe

East of the Calipatria State Prison, we marched out into the Bermuda grass field and flushed a Sprague's Pipit.  Probably because I'd left my camera in the Pathfinder, we got truly awesome looks at it.  Finally, at Eddins & Sperry, we saw four Ruddy Ground-Doves and many Eurasian Collared Doves.  

We said our goodbyes back at Cattle Call Park, and I made my way slowly back to Yuma.  Off of Keystone, I looked over some hunting club ponds, and watched these avocets and stilts feeding in the sunset.  A fine ending to a great day!
American Avocets at sunset


American Avocets and Black-necked Stilts



Salton Sea & the Imperial Valley, 22 Feb 2003
# Species
1 Eared Grebe
2 American White Pelican
3 Brown Pelican
4 Double-crested Cormorant
5 Great Blue Heron
6 Great Egret
7 Snowy Egret
8 Cattle Egret
9 Green Heron
10 White-faced Ibis
11 Sandhill Crane
12 Ross' Goose
13 Mallard
14 Cinnamon Teal
15 Northern Shoveler
16 Northern Pintail
17 Green-winged Teal
18 Redhead
19 Lesser Scaup
20 Ruddy Duck
21 Osprey
22 Northern Harrier
23 Red-tailed Hawk
24 Ferruginous Hawk
25 American Kestrel
26 Ring-necked Pheasant
27 Gambel's Quail
28 American Coot
29 Black-bellied Plover
30 Killdeer
31 Black-necked Stilt
32 American Avocet
33 Greater Yellowlegs
34 Lesser Yellowlegs
35 Willet
36 Spotted Sandpiper
37 Long-billed Curlew
38 Least Sandpiper
39 Long-billed Dowitcher
40 Turkey Vulture
41 Ring-billed Gull
42 California Gull
43 Herring Gull
44 Rock Dove
45 White-winged Dove
# Species
46 Mourning Dove
47 Inca Dove
48 Common Ground-Dove
49 Ruddy Ground-Dove
50 Eurasian Collared Dove
51 Greater Roadrunner
52 Barn Owl
53 Burrowing Owl
54 Anna's Hummingbird
55 Costa's Hummingbird
56 Lewis' Woodpecker
57 Gila Woodpecker
58 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
59 Northern Flicker
60 Black Phoebe
61 Say's Phoebe
62 Tree Swallow
63 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
64 Cliff Swallow
65 Cactus Wren
66 Marsh Wren
67 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
68 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
69 Mountain Bluebird
70 American Robin
71 Northern Mockingbird
72 European Starling
73 Sprague's Pipit
74 Yellow-rumped Warbler
75 Abert's Towhee
76 Chipping Sparrow
77 Brewer's Sparrow
78 Vesper Sparrow
79 Lark Sparrow
80 Savannah Sparrow
81 Song Sparrow
82 Lincoln's Sparrow
83 White-crowned Sparrow
84 Chestnut-collared Longspur
85 Red-winged Blackbird
86 Western Meadowlark
87 Brewer's Blackbird
88 Great-tailed Grackle
89 House Finch
90 House Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler