Snowy Plover at Poe Road

   
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Salton Sea & Imperial Valley
Oct 29, 2001 - cool morning, warm afternoon & lightly overcast

A trip with Ann Klovstad, Bill and Cheryl, led by, and narrated by Bob Miller
84 Species Seen (list follows)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

We met in Borrego Springs at 0600 and headed for the Salton Sea. Our first stop was Poe Rd. and it was the perfect introduction to Salton Sea bird life. There were so many thousands of birds it was almost overwhelming. Pelicans, cormorants, gulls and terns were feeding on a large boil. A boil is when the Orange-mouthed Corvina are feeding on a large school of Tilapia and the water appears to boil as the smaller fish crowd the surface and try to scatter.  The birds look for this and they all get in on it. One of the tricks for fisherman is to go out on the Salton Sea and look for theses large flocks of birds on a "boil" and that is where they too can get in on some good fishing. The most interesting bird at this stop was a Peregrine Falcon that dove at a flock of circling Black-necked Stilt, Willet and American Avocet for about ten minutes!  The falcon never made a serious attempt a taking his breakfast and it appeared that it was having a grand old time just harassing the other birds.

We had about eight Snowy Plover come to the little point a few feet from us for great looks by all and an adult Common Tern amongst all the Forster's on the same point was a treat. Least and Western Sandpipers and a few Dunlin crowded the shore at our feet and were an "Easterners" delight as he was able to study birds in their basic winter plumage which he always has in their full breeding plumage at home.


Snowy Plovers at end of Poe Road

     
On to Unit #1 at Vendel Rd where we picked up Snow and Ross' Goose, a great little flock of mixed sparrows and our rails. At Obsidian Butte we got into the Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs, Bonaparte's and Laughing Gulls. Large-billed Savannah Sparrow were seen in several places. Ruddy Turnstone were in their usual hangout on the West rocks off of Obsidian. 
   


Green Heron


Immature Herring Gull
On the NE side of Obsidian Butte there is a small rock island that I have long considered THE one, most likely spot to find Yellow-footed Gull--but no luck this time. 

On to the S.B. Salton Sea NWR where we had great looks at Abert's Towhee and a soda break at the slot  machine ......... ok......soda vending machines....  Off to Garst Rd. where we got to see the pink spots in the spotting scope that were the "escapee" Lesser and Chilean Flamingos about a mile away!  On Red Hill we came upon another very large gull in poor light with the sun directly behind it....it is amazing how sometimes a camera....ok....the camera holder.....will actually get a shot that improves the light. It was an immature Herring Gull. 

From here we headed to Brawley to see a few of the more rural birds of the valley. While enroute at about 55 mph I FINALLY called out "whup....stop, turn around.."  It is impossible to drive as many miles as we had in the Imperial Valley without seeing dozens of Burrowing Owls but here we had just buzzed past the first one today. Cheryl said it was because I had jinxed us by stating that we were to be watching for a potato standing on two sticks...... In Brawley we had Gila Woodpecker and Inca Dove and it then was time to head back to Borrego Springs. As we all said our so longs in the twilight, a Great Horned Owl flew over and landed on a pole just above us.......great ending for a great day.

Salton Sea & Imperial Valley
29 Oct  2001

Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
White-faced Ibis
Snow Goose
Ross's Goose
American Wigeon
Green-winged Teal
Mallard
Northern Pintail
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Ruddy Duck
Turkey Vulture
Osprey
Northern Harrier
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant
Virginia Rail
Sora
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Snowy Plover
Long-billed Dowitcher
Marbled Godwit
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Ruddy Turnstone
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Laughing Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Inca Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Burrowing Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Gila Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Horned Lark
Northern Mockingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
Common Raven
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler

Common Yellowthroat
Abert's Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Black-bellied Plover
Killdeer
Snowy Plover
Long-billed Dowitcher
Marbled Godwit
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Willet
Ruddy Turnstone
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Dunlin
Ring-billed Gull
Herring Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Laughing Gull
Caspian Tern
Common Tern
Forster's Tern
Rock Dove
Mourning Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Inca Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Burrowing Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Gila Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Say's Phoebe
Horned Lark
Northern Mockingbird
Loggerhead Shrike
Common Raven
European Starling
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
Abert's Towhee
Chipping Sparrow
Vesper Sparrow
Lark Sparrow
Savannah Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Red-winged Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Brewer's Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
House Sparrow


Photos Bob Miller