Semipalmated Plover at Salton Sea


Palm Springs Arial Tramway & Salton Sea
July 08, 2003 
Guide: Bob Miller

A visit to the top of the Tram and a stop along the Salton Sea on my return.

species (list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Long Valley 
Paul and I caught a ride to the top of the tram to escape the heat and do some bird scouting. We did beat the heat and the birding was fabulous! With only a few hours to explore we took the short nature trail near the visitors center. White-headed Woodpeckers seemed to be everywhere with at least one fledging about. Pygmy Nuthatches easily outnumbered the White-breasted Nuthatches. House Wrens were in the downed logs and Western Bluebirds in the meadows.
Altitude and outdoors really crank up your appetite and the cafe on top puts out a great spread that really hit the spot! Paul had a date with a film crew so we headed back down and parted ways. I stuck around at the bottom to see what wildlife was about and the place was really active. The damselfly below was a new one for me. California and Aztec Dancers are very similar and best I can tell you have to have them "in-hand" to tell them apart. This little lizard had a lot of character! Poor guy sure had a bunch of little red mites on him though.

White-headed Woodpecker

Young Side-blotched Lizard 

California/Aztec Dancer damselfly

Female Blue Dasher

Female Flame Skimmer

A pair of Hooded orioles were working overtime feeding a fledging in the dense trees behind the artificial waterfall! Flame Skimmers live up to their name and the one above sure caught my eye. 

Sunset comes early at the base of a little peak like San Jacinto so I headed back to Calipatria. Johnson Road is about the only place you can access the north shore of the Salton Sea anymore and I discovered that the vegetation had taken it over. It was definitely too hot to walk out the last few hundred yards to see what was congregated at the end! The Blue Dasher above was seen here. Three Least and two Western Sandpipers were the only Peeps.

Male Hooded Oriole

Western Sandpiper
This pair of Snowy Plovers came very close. I could see that they had been sitting a nest but they were not trying to distract me and made no sounds at all so I figured the nest was not close. By now the sun was dipping below the horizon and my camera monitor was flashing "out of memory". Wow, 99 pictures already? Where does the time go........

Female Snowy Plover

Male Snowy Plover

Palm Springs Tram & Salton Sea Jul 08, 2003
 * Denotes species seen at the top or at base of the Tram
  1. Brown Pelican

  2. Double-crested Cormorant

  3. Great Blue Heron

  4. Great Egret

  5. Snowy Egret

  6. Cattle Egret

  7. Black-crowned Night-Heron

  8. White-faced Ibis

  9. Turkey Vulture

  10. Ruddy Duck

  11. American Kestrel

  12. Common Moorhen

  13. American Coot

  14. Snowy Plover

  15. Semipalmated Plover

  16. Killdeer

  17. Black-necked Stilt

  18. Whimbrel

  19. Long-billed Curlew

  20. Marbled Godwit

  21. Western Sandpiper

  22. Least Sandpiper

  23. Ring-billed Gull

  24. Yellow-footed Gull

  25. Caspian Tern

  26. Forster's Tern

  27. Black Tern

  28. Black Skimmer

  29. Rock Dove

  30. White-winged Dove

  31. *Mourning Dove

  1. Common Ground-Dove

  2. Lesser Nighthawk

  3. *Anna's Hummingbird

  4. *Hairy Woodpecker

  5. *White-headed Woodpecker

  6. *Black Phoebe

  7. Western Kingbird

  8. Loggerhead Shrike

  9. *Steller's Jay

  10. *Clark's Nutcracker

  11. *Common Raven

  12. *Violet-green Swallow

  13. Cliff Swallow

  14. *Mountain Chickadee

  15. *White-breasted Nuthatch

  16. *Pygmy Nuthatch

  17. *House Wren

  18. *Western Bluebird

  19. Northern Mockingbird

  20. European Starling

  21. *California Towhee

  22. Abert's Towhee

  23. Red-winged Blackbird

  24. Western Meadowlark

  25. Yellow-headed Blackbird

  26. Great-tailed Grackle

  27. *Hooded Oriole

  28. *House Finch

  29. *Lesser Goldfinch

  30. House Sparrow

Photos Bob Miller