Ring-billed and Franklin's Gulls


Salton Sea & Imperial Valley
Nov 3, 2001 - 75-87 degrees

A trip around the valley with Jeff Hopkins to search for Yellow-footed Gull, Lesser Nighthawk, and several others.

94 species total (list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Jeff Hopkins
I picked up Jeff at the Calipatria Inn at 6:30 on a nice cool, sunny morning.  Our first stop was Ramer Lake, where Jeff got one of our better birds for the day--the Nashville Warbler.  After some chasing, we latched onto several Blue-gray and a Black-tailed Gnatcatcher.

Next to the Ramer Lake sign-in booth we watched this Cooper's Hawk sweep into the area and scatter the doves and sparrows.  It landed in this palo verde tree in the fenced-off area, and stayed there quite a while.  This picture was from the left side of the kiosk.   

Cooper's Hawk

Cooper's Hawk at Ramer Lake

And this picture was from around the corner, on the right side of the sign-in kiosk. Other birds we saw there included a secretive Cactus Wren, Abert's Towhees, Black Phoebes, Loggerhead Shrike, Northern Flicker, and both Yellow-rumped and Orange-crowned Warblers.

Our next stop was Finney Lake, where for the past five years one or more Lesser Nighthawks has roosted in the Tamarisks.  It was easy to spot this fine specimen and get good scope looks (and photos) as it blinked its eyes sleepily at us.

Lesser Nighthawk at Finney Lake

We only found one individual, and after excellent looks, went in search of the Swainson's Hawk off McConnell Road.  We struck out on that one, so off we went back north to the Sea itself.
Lesser Nighthawk at Finney Lake

Brown Pelican at Obsidian Butte

Obsidian Butte was good for pelicans, Ruddy Turnstones, and a number of other shorebirds, but we missed the target Yellow-footed Gull.  At the shallow pond on the southeast end we picked up dozens of Lesser Yellowlegs and several Bonaparte's Gulls.

Red Hill Marina turned out to be a hot spot on this day, with a good collection of shorebirds, gulls, and a scattering of ducks.  The best bird was this Franklin's Gull, seen here in front of a Herring Gull.

Herring, Franklin's & Ring-billed Gulls

Caspian Tern at Redhill Marina
Also present on the shoreline were Caspian and Forster's Terns, California Gulls, and both White and Brown Pelicans.  
After a couple of fine sandwiches from the Niland Store, we searched in vain for Sage Sparrows and Sage Thrashers as a storm front moved in from the west.  Jeff did get another good look at a Yellow-headed Blackbird, and we located a few other sparrow species.      

White Pelican at Redhill
As the afternoon waned we called it a day, with Jeff heading on to San Diego, and me heading back to Yuma.

Salton Sea & Imperial Valley
3 Nov 2001

# Species
1 Western Grebe
2 Pied-billed Grebe
3 Brown Pelican
4 White Pelican
5 Double-crested Cormorant
6 Great Blue Heron
7 Great Egret
8 Cattle Egret
9 Snowy Egret
10 Black-crowned Night Heron
11 White-faced Ibis
12 Lesser Scaup
13 Mallard
14 Northern Pintail
15 American Wigeon
16 Redhead
17 Green-winged Teal
18 Snow Goose
19 Ruddy Duck
20 Northern Shoveler
21 Cinnamon Teal
22 American Coot
23 Black-necked Stilt
24 American Avocet
25 Black-bellied Plover
26 Killdeer
27 Western Sandpiper
28 Ruddy Turnstone
29 Greater Yellowlegs
30 Willet
31 Marbled Godwit
32 Long-billed Dowitcher
33 Long-billed Curlew
34 Lesser Yellowlegs
35 Least Sandpiper
36 Caspian Tern
37 Forster's Tern
38 California Gull
39 Ring-billed Gull
40 Franklin's Gull
41 Herring Gull
42 Bonaparte's Gull
43 Northern Harrier
44 Osprey
45 Cooper's Hawk
46 Red-tailed Hawk
47 American Kestrel


# Species
48 Peregrine Falcon
49 Ring-necked Pheasant
50 Gambel's Quail
51 Inca Dove
52 Rock Dove
53 Common Ground-Dove
54 Mourning Dove
55 Greater Roadrunner
56 Burrowing Owl
57 Lesser Nighthawk
58 Belted Kingfisher
59 Northern Flicker
60 Black Phoebe
61 Say's Phoebe
62 Barn Swallow
63 Tree Swallow
64 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
65 Verdin
66 House Wren
67 Marsh Wren
68 Cactus Wren
69 American Robin
70 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
71 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
72 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
73 Loggerhead Shrike
74 Northern Mockingbird
75 American Pipit
76 Phainopepla
77 European Starling
78 Yellow-rumped Warbler
79 Orange-crowned Warbler
80 Nashville Warbler
81 Great-tailed Grackle
82 Red-winged Blackbird
83 Western Meadowlark
84 Vesper Sparrow
85 Brewer's Blackbird
86 Brown-headed Cowbird
87 Yellow-headed Blackbird
88 House Sparrow
89 Abert's Towhee
90 Dark-eyed Junco
91 White-crowned Sparrow
92 Savannah Sparrow
93 Song Sparrow
94 House Finch


Photos Henry D. Detwiler & Bob Miller