Yellow-footed Gull


Yuma - Salton Sea
Apr 18-19, 2003, Outstanding weather!
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

I led Peter, John & Lud on a search for Black Rails, Pheasants, & Yellow-footed Gulls around Yuma and the Imperial Valley 
species total

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

John, Peter, & Lud

I met Peter Salomon and his friends John & Lud at 6:00a.m. at the Comfort Inn, so we could get a head start on the rails.  On the way north to Mittry Lake we were sidetracked by a wet alfalfa field with a couple of Whimbrel. 

Then we pressed on to a moist area on the west side of Mittry Lake, down from the Gila Gravity Canal.  As we piled out of the bird mobile, a Black Rail was already calling its Kee-kee-derr song. We milled about the area for a while, listening to two other Black Rails and a few Virginia's.  The morning was starting off right!
Our next stop was southwest of Yuma in search of Ring-necked Pheasants.  We hit pay dirt on the first farm road we tried.  A pheasant flew across the road from one wheat field to the next, and later trumpeted, too.  It wasn't even 9:00 a.m. and we were ready to drive on to the Imperial Valley.

A quick stop at Ramer Lake provided lots of nice birds, but the recently-discovered Anhinga was nowhere to be found.  So we moved on to the Salton Sea, and started our search for the Yellow-footed Gull.

Bonaparte's Gulls & Black-necked Stilt

At the corner of Lack & Lindsey we found lots of birds in breeding plumage, including Eared Grebe, Bonaparte's Gull, Cinnamon Teal, Ruddy Duck, and many shore birds.

Cinnamon Teal at Salton Sea

A loop around Obsidian Butte failed to turn up any gulls, so we dashed in to Niland for some sandwiches.  After lunching at the headquarters, we resumed our search for the Yellow-footed Gull around Red Hill Marina.

Snowy Plover at the end of Garst Rd.

Semipalmated Plover on Garst

At the end of Garst Road we observed a fine selection of shore birds, including both Snowy & Semipalmated Plovers. The Snowys were in fine breeding colors, as opposed to their ghostly muted winter coat.  And there were California & Ring-billed Gulls around, but not our target.

Yellow-footed Gull surveying a meal

So we returned to Obsidian Butte, and were rewarded with what may well be the only adult Yellow-footed Gull in the U.S.A at this time.  After watching it for a few minutes it flew off to the east.
Back again at Red Hill Marina we watched our friend wash (?) and swallow this fish in one big gulp.  After it flew off a second time we drove north for a final stop at Wister.  What a fine day of birding!

Yellow-footed Gull
Washing the fish off?  

Yuma to the Salton Sea, 18-19 Apr 2003
# Species
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Eared Grebe
3 Western Grebe
4 Clark's Grebe
5 American White Pelican
6 Brandt's Cormorant
7 Double-crested Cormorant
8 Great Blue Heron
9 Great Egret
10 Snowy Egret
11 Cattle Egret
12 Green Heron
13 Black-crowned Night Heron
14 White-faced Ibis
15 American Wigeon
16 Mallard
17 Blue-winged Teal
18 Cinnamon Teal
19 Northern Shoveler
20 Green-winged Teal
21 Redhead
22 Lesser Scaup
23 Bufflehead
24 Common Goldeneye
25 Ruddy Duck
26 Northern Harrier
27 American Kestrel
28 Ring-necked Pheasant
29 Gambel's Quail
30 Black Rail
31 Clapper Rail
32 Virginia Rail
33 Sora
34 Common Moorhen
35 American Coot
36 Black-bellied Plover
37 Snowy Plover
38 Semipalmated Plover
39 Killdeer
40 Black-necked Stilt
41 American Avocet
42 Lesser Yellowlegs
43 Willet
44 Spotted Sandpiper
45 Whimbrel
46 Marbled Godwit
47 Ruddy Turnstone
48 Sanderling
49 Western Sandpiper
50 Least Sandpiper
51 Long-billed Dowitcher
52 Red-necked Phalarope
53 Turkey Vulture
54 Bonaparte's Gull
55 Ring-billed Gull
56 California Gull
57 Yellow-footed Gull
58 Gull-billed Tern
59 Forster's Tern
60 Rock Dove
61 White-winged Dove
# Species
62 Mourning Dove
63 Inca Dove
64 Common Ground-Dove
65 Ruddy Ground-Dove
66 Eurasian Collared Dove
67 Greater Roadrunner
68 Burrowing Owl
69 Vaux's Swift
70 White-throated Swift
71 Black-chinned Hummingbird
72 Anna's Hummingbird
73 Belted Kingfisher
74 Gila Woodpecker
75 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
76 Hammond's Flycatcher
77 Pacific Slope Flycatcher
78 Black Phoebe
79 Vermilion Flycatcher
80 Ash-throated Flycatcher
81 Western Kingbird
82 Warbling Vireo
83 Common Raven
84 Tree Swallow
85 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
86 Bank Swallow
87 Cliff Swallow
88 Barn Swallow
89 Verdin
90 Cactus Wren
91 Marsh Wren
92 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
93 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
94 Northern Mockingbird
95 European Starling
96 Phainopepla
97 Nashville Warbler
98 Wilson's Warbler
99 Black-throated Gray Warbler
100 Orange-crowned Warbler
101 Yellow Warbler
102 Yellow-breasted Chat
103 Yellow-rumped Warbler
104 Common Yellowthroat
105 Western Tanager
106 Green-tailed Towhee
107 Abert's Towhee
108 Song Sparrow
109 White-crowned Sparrow
110 Black-headed Grosbeak
111 Lazuli Bunting
112 Red-winged Blackbird
113 Western Meadowlark
114 Yellow-headed Blackbird
115 Brewer's Blackbird
116 Great-tailed Grackle
117 Brown-headed Cowbird
118 Bullock's Oriole
119 House Finch
120 Pine Siskin
121 Lesser Goldfinch
122 House Sparrow


Photos Henry D. Detwiler