Salton Sea
Sept 29, 2001
Sunny & Hot, 85-105 

Henry, Suzanne & Adriana, took a fine half-day trip to survey the New River Ponds and check out Red Hill Marina & the Bubbling Mud Pots.
79 species total (list follows at end page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
    
Our first good birds were a pair of cock Ring-necked Pheasants just east of Holtville.  Along the same canal bank we got some fine looks at our first of about 15 Burrowing Owls.


Common Moorhen 
The Imperial Ponds were loaded with a variety of bird life, including Cinnamon Teal, moorhens, dozens of egrets, two Black-crowned Night Herons, a pair of Forster's Terns, seven Black Phoebes, a Loggerhead Shrike, and a Willow Flycatcher! 

   
The numbers at the Brawley Ponds weren't as productive, but we still got very nice views of stilts, a Greater Yellowlegs, Least Sandpipers, phoebes, and Song Sparrows.  
    

    

 Brawley Ponds


Black-necked Stilt

After a quick snack, we meandered to Red Hill Marina, where the shorebird numbers were very impressive.  The ponds on the east side of the access road had hundreds of Black Terns, stilts, and avocets.
   

A nice surprise were these Black Skimmers, which feed in a very unique fashion.  They fly along the surface of the water with their beak wide open, the lower mandible slicing through the water and "skimming" off insects.


Black Skimmers

Among the many terns were a number of Forster's terns, already in winter plumage.  A few Caspian terns were also on the ponds.  It was easy to compare the size differences between the three species.
Forster's Terns
 
     

Long-billed Dowitcher
Shorebirds were represented by all the common wintering species, including this Long-billed Dowitcher.  The only species we saw only once was a single Semipalmated Sandpiper.

Before heading back to Yuma, we made one final stop to see the locally famous "Bubbling Mud Pots", a place that neither Suzanne nor Adriana had seen before.
    

Henry & Suzanne

 
Adriana & Suzanne   

We walked around the geothermal pots, listening to the carbon dioxide and other gases escaping and gurgling through the liquified mud.  In some areas they smelled of rotten eggs, but most emitted no odor.  As always, it's a fascinating place to visit!


Mud Pot

 
# Species Name
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 White Pelican
3 Brown Pelican
4 Double-crested Cormorant
5 Black-crowned Night Heron
6 Green Heron
7 Great Egret
8 Snowy Egret
9 Cattle Egret
10 Great Blue Heron
11 White-faced Ibis
12 Blue-winged Teal
13 Northern Shoveler
14 Ruddy Duck
15 Mallard
16 Snow Goose
17 Cinnamon Teal
18 Common Moorhen
19 American Coot
20 Black-necked Stilt
21 American Avocet
22 Semipalmated Plover
23 Killdeer
24 Black-bellied Plover
25 Spotted Sandpiper
26 Western Sandpiper
27 Greater Yellowlegs
28 Least Sandpiper
29 Long-billed Curlew
30 Long-billed Dowitcher
31 Willet
32 Marbled Godwit
33 Ring-billed Gull
34 Caspian Tern
35 California Gull
36 Black Skimmer
37 Black Tern
38 Forster's Tern
39 Turkey Vulture
 
 
# Species Name
40 Red-tailed Hawk
41 Osprey
42 Northern Harrier
43 American Kestrel
44 Ring-necked Pheasant
45 Inca Dove
46 Common Ground-Dove
47 Mourning Dove
48 Rock Dove
49 Greater Roadrunner
50 Burrowing Owl
51 Costa's Hummingbird
52 Belted Kingfisher
53 Northern Flicker
54 Gila Woodpecker
55 Say's Phoebe
56 Black Phoebe
57 Western Kingbird
58 Willow Flycatcher
59 Barn Swallow
60 Tree Swallow
61 Verdin
62 Marsh Wren
63 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
64 Loggerhead Shrike
65 Northern Mockingbird
66 European Starling
67 Common Yellowthroat
68 Orange-crowned Warbler
69 Wilson's Warbler
70 Great-tailed Grackle
71 Red-winged Blackbird
72 Western Meadowlark
73 Yellow-headed Blackbird
74 Bullock's Oriole
75 House Sparrow
76 Abert's Towhee
77 Savannah Sparrow
78 Song Sparrow
79 House Finch

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Photos Henry D. Detwiler