Great Horned Owl

   
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Salton Sea Christmas Bird Count, South end.
Dec 16, 2003 
Narrated by Bob Miller


A few pics from a fun morning. 

171
species (list to be added)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

The South end Salton Sea Christmas Bird Count turned up a new record of 171 species for this count area.  The count is compiled by Guy McCaskie and there was an impressive showing of volunteers for good coverage of the area.  I had the pleasure of birding the Ramer Lake area with Elaine from the NWR and Jim Wilson and Phil Nelson from the San Diego area.  Birds of note from our area were three Great Horned Owls, Eastern Phoebe, female Vermilion Flycatcher, Yellow Warbler, Western Bluebird and a Bullock's Oriole.  California Fish and Game allowed us access to the closed area of the old maintenance yard at Ramer Lake and to all of the Wister Unit which was greatly appreciated! 

I have included Guy's posting of the rarities and their locations which was posted to the local birding lists on the the right.  


Sprague's Pipit

After lunch and the reading of the list, everyone headed out to see the great finds.  Bill Doyle and I had a great time seeking out the Sprague's Pipits which were lifers for him!  I had high hopes of catching a glimpse of the Short-eared Owl that had been seen in the field that morning.  The owl never showed but we earned every bit of the great looks we got of the Sprague's Pipits as we kept walking long after most folks would have called it quits!  Of the 10 or so frames that I snapped through the scope, this is the only shot that had a bird in it!!  

This was one of the Great Horned Owls that we had in the compound.  The "horns" on this one were as long as any I have seen.  


Great Horned Owl

The Salton Sea (south) CBC was held Tuesday 16 December 2003. Good birding weather along with better than average coverage by knowledgeable/experienced birders resulted in a record breaking 171 species, and 78,004 individuals being found on count day. Noteworthy species/numbers of individuals included - HORNED GREBE (4 - four together at Red Hill), REDDISH EGRET (1 - the immature known present since November 8th was at the intersection of Lack and Lindsey Roads), Blue-winged Teal (16 - sixteen found along the lower Alamo River was more than normal), SURF SCOTER (1 - one immature male at Red Hill), Hooded Merganser (5 - two on the Wister Unit, one at the Calipatria State Prison, and two more at Ramer Lake was more than normal), Bald Eagle (1 - one immature on the Wister Unit), WANDERING TATTLER (1 - one known present since November 25th at the algae processing plant near the intersection of Hoober Road and Highway 111), Ruddy Turnstone (15 - fifteen at Red Hill), RUFF (1 - the adult female known present since November 25th at the algae processing plant near the intersection of Hoober Road and Highway 111 was not seen, but a male was found near the mouth of the New River), SHORT-BILLED DOWITCHER (2 - two calling birds well studied by multiple count participants at Red Hill establishes the first record for this species at the Salton Sink in winter), Wilson's Phalarope (2 - two near the north end of Garst Road), Mew Gull (4 - two adults near the mouth of the Alamo River and two more adults near Obsidian Butte), Eurasian Collared-Dove (158 - a total of 158 by three parties suggests just how numerous this species is in the Imperial Valley), WHITE-WINGED DOVE (3 - one near the intersection of Pound and International Roads at the southern edge of Niland and two at the intersection of Eddins and Sperry Roads at the western edge of Calipatria), RUDDY ROUND-DOVE (13 - one male in the southwestern portion of Niland and twelve at the intersection of Eddins and Sperry Roads at the western edge of Calipatria), Short-eared Owl (1 - one flushed from dry grass near the intersection of Sinclair Road and Highway 111), Gila Woodpecker (1 - one at the intersection of Eddins and Sperry Roads at the western edge of Calipatria was probably the same bird seen sporadically in this general area since October 16th), EASTERN PHOEBE (2 - one known present since November 25th at the entrance to Ramer Lake, and one near the intersection of Garst Road and the Alamo River), Vermilion Flycatcher (6 - six seen by six different parties was more than normal), BELL'S VIREO (1 - one photographed along the western portion of Fourth Street in Niland), Bank Swallow (21 - a total of twenty-one by two parties was a remarkable number for this time of the year), Barn Swallow (198 - a total of one-hundred-ninety-eight by five parties was far more than expected), Western Bluebird (21 - a total of twenty-one by parties covering Calipatria and Ramer Lake was more than expected), SPRAGUE'S PIPIT (3 - three flushed from dry grass near the intersection of Sinclair Road and Highway 111), Yellow Warbler (5 - one in Niland, three along the lower portion of the Alamo River and one more at the entrance to Ramer Lake), American Redstart (5 - one near the intersection of Beach Road and Highway 111 and four more along the lower portion of the Alamo River), SUMMER TANAGER (1 - one female near the intersection of Nofsinger Road and Highway 111 in Niland), Green-tailed Towhee (1 - one in the southeast portion of Niland), SWAMP SPARROW (1 - one found at Obsidian Butte December 15th was refound on count day), McCOWN'S LONGSPUR (2 - two with Horned Larks and other longspurs near the eastern edge of the Calipatria State Prison), LAPLAND LONGSPUR (15 - fifteen with Horned Larks and other longspurs near the eastern edge of the Calipatria State Prison), Chestnut-collared Longspur (175 - about one-hundred-seventy-five east of the Calipatria State Prison) and BULLOCK'S ORIOLE (1 - one male at the entrance to Ramer Lake). Thanks to all that made this count such a success. A listing of all species found, along with the number of individuals of each of those species, will be available on the National Audubon's CBC website (see below), and will be mailed to any participant requesting same. 

http://www.audubon.org/bird/cbc/  

Guy McCaskie

South end Salton Sea CBC  Dec 16, 2003

 

 

Photos Bob Miller