Salton Sea
Oct 6, 2001
Overcast morning, clear afternoon with a major thunderstorm over the Eastern end of the valley and the Colorado River, 95 degrees.  Bob Miller

Started out the morning with the New River Wetlands (NRW) project, Imperial Site survey.  On the way out to the site I had the honor of watching a Peregrine Falcon grab a breakfast to go, one Killdeer zigged when it should have zagged. The NRW list is now hovering just under the 100 mark but we expect to breeze well past that barrier this winter. As soon as I reached the bluff to drop into the site, which is still about a quarter mile away at that point, I added a new one to the list. A lone Brown Pelican in the first pond looked huge even at that distance! 

My 35mm camera died of old age and is now just a fishing weight so, of course, I had some of the best photo ops ever today! A least Bittern, two of them today, thought it was well hidden about 25 feet away from me and so it spent about 15 minutes preening. One of the best looks I have had. A few minutes later I had a Sora, two of them today too, standing out on the edge of the Bulrushes feeding about twenty feet away! When I neared the end of the second pond I had several Forester’s Terns feeding on the mosquito fish minnows. I stopped there to count the mob of Snowy, Great and Cattle Egrets at the start of the next pond and the terns began hitting the water ten feet in front of me. My brain suddenly realized what my eyes were telling me, they were three Common Terns! Pay attention son! The Marsh Wrens, Common Yellowthroats and Orange-crowned Warblers were numerous all along the way. Two Lincoln’s Sparrows and a Western Tanager were nice new additions to the list.

From there I headed out to Wiest Lake and tossed my kayak in to practice my one-man rescues and take a shot at Eskimo rolling. I valiantly upended myself and filled my sinuses four times but could not pull myself back up. Great practice for getting back in though! Wiest Lake is a nice big round circle and one of only two boating lakes in the valley, so the skiers and power boats are very active there. The lake still attracts lots of birds and they are quite happy around the edges. Egrets, herons, coots, moorhens, kingfishers, Western and Clark’s Grebes, terns, warblers,… 

It always amazes me how Orange-crowned Warblers, Marsh Wrens and Common Yellowthroats respond to pishing when done from the water! I paddle along, quietly, right up against the reeds and pish quietly and they swarm to the waters edge! Once dried off I headed for Ramer Lake to enjoy the sunset. Two Great Horned Owls have been roosting in the palms behind the entry kiosk. I had just pulled up to look for them when some friends that I had seen earlier in the day at the NRW pulled up. Funny how fast a car will empty out when you ask if they would like to see a Great Horned Owl! Both owls were still there…whew!  From there we went around to the rookery and enjoyed one of those sunsets that Zane Grey and Alfred Hitchcock would have written in collaboration.  To the east of us the huge thunderheads reflected bright reds long after the sun was beyond us and LITERALLY tens of thousands of Cattle Egrets and White-faced Ibis flew into the roost. The sound, let alone the sight, was astounding. But hey, that’s just another day here in birders paradise! See ya at the sea…


Forster's Terns

# Species
1  Pied-billed Grebe
2  Eared Grebe
3  Western Grebe
4  Clark's Grebe
5  Brown Pelican
6  Double-crested Cormorant
7  Great Blue Heron
 8  Great Egret
9  Snowy Egret
10  Cattle Egret
11  Green Heron
12  Black-crowned Night-Heron
13  Least Bittern
14  White-faced Ibis
15  Mallard
16  Cinnamon Teal
17  Northern Shoveler
18  Redhead
19  Ruddy Duck
20  Turkey Vulture
21  Cooper's Hawk
22  Red-tailed Hawk
23  American Kestrel
24  Peregrine Falcon
25  Gambel's Quail
26  Sora
27  Common Moorhen
28  American Coot
29  Black-necked Stilt
30  American Avocet
31  Killdeer
32  Long-billed Curlew
33  Greater Yellowlegs
34  Spotted Sandpiper
35  Least Sandpiper
36  Caspian Tern
37  Common Tern
38  Forster's Tern
39  Rock Dove
40  Mourning Dove
41  White-winged Dove
42  Common Ground-Dove
43  Inca Dove
44  Greater Roadrunner
45  Great Horned Owl
46  Burrowing Owl
47  Belted Kingfisher
48  Black Phoebe
49  Say's Phoebe
50  Tree Swallow
51  Barn Swallow
52  American Pipit
53  Marsh Wren
54  Northern Mockingbird
55  Verdin
56  European Starling
57  Orange-crowned Warbler
58  Yellow-rumped Warbler
59  Common Yellowthroat
60  Western Tanager
61  Abert's Towhee
62  Lark Sparrow
63  Savannah Sparrow
64  Song Sparrow
65  Lincoln's Sparrow
66  White-crowned Sparrow
67  Red-winged Blackbird
68  Western Meadowlark
69  Great-tailed Grackle
70  House Finch
71  House Sparrow


Photos © Henry D. Detwiler