Sea & Imperial Valley
cool morning, warm afternoon & lightly
A trip with Ann Klovstad, Bill and Cheryl, led by, and narrated by Bob
84 Species Seen (list follows)
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.
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.