Sea & Imperial Valley
An adventurous evening of owling followed by a day full of birds with
Barbara Ross. Guide- Bob Miller.
87 species total (list follows at end of page)
thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
wanted to see Owls! Long-eared Owl in particular, and all of my
scouting in the surrounding deserts and likely hangouts turned up
no Long-eared. So I decided to introduce her to as much of the
local "night life" as possible!
Our evening of "night life" began with a wonderful diner
at Su Casa restaurant in Brawley. We then headed out to the New
River Wetlands Project, Brawley site, to watch the sun go down and
the wildlife finishing and/or starting their busy days.
New River Wetlands Project -
Common Moorhen, coots and egrets were settling in for the night.
We had a Virginia Rail pass through an opening in the vegetation
at our feet and stop to stare at us in return. Black-crowned
Night-Heron, "barking" at each other were the first of
the night denizens to step out.
|We moved up to the date
grove overlooking the river bottom and the wetlands project for a
As twilight settled over us we listened for the
resident Great Horned Owls to start their "day".
As we walked along the edge of the grove we heard that distinct,
deep, low hooting. A few "squeaks" later it flew right
out to a nearby frond to get a great look at us and we returned
the favor. We moved closer to the rim of the river bottom to
peer out over the quiet, seemingly asleep, darkness. I let out a
few "howls" to see who might be out and about. The whole
river bottom lit up with howling, yapping coyotes!!
The evening had begun with quit a show and it got better from there.
We then went "BARn" hopping at all of the local Barn Owl
hangouts! We pulled up a chair (lawn chair and nice warm blanket) in
the Barn Owl dining area (main course, rabbits and mice) and with a
little hooting, screeching and squeaking, we were treated to several
Barn Owl "flyer" shows!! Burrowing Owl were seen
between shows along the way.
Last stop for the evening was Mamma's Place in Imperial for a night
cap and to reminisce the evenings highlights.
|Sunrise caught up to us on McConnell Road as we
watched the Sandhill Cranes fly out to begin their day. There were
ducks on the ponds and Savannah Sparrows were plentiful.
From there we headed for the Imperial site of the NRWP. While
enroute we watched for Mountain Plover to add to her life list. We
were rewarded by two
individuals sitting in an open field very near to a Prairie Falcon
sitting in the same field having breakfast. Couldn't help but
wonder if we might have seen three Mountain Plover had we been
there a little sooner. Prairie Falcon was a lifer for her on
her last visit and it was exciting to get another fine view.
The Imperial site is about one and a half miles long and the
panorama below was shot from about the center. You can see the
wetlands extending off into the distance on the right side of the
photo. Those are Cattle Egrets on the dyke.
New River Wetlands Project -
Least Bittern have taken up residence here and have been seen
regularly.....but would not make an appearance today! Most all of
the other residents were out showing off though. On our way into
Brawley for breakfast at Johnny's (where else?!) we stopped to see
Verdin, Cactus Wren, Ruby-crowned Kinglet and Phainopepla along the
From Brawley we headed for the Salton Sea where we had great looks
at Peregrine Falcon, Osprey, pelicans and grebes. Near Obsidian
Butte we had comparison views of Lesser and Greater Yellowlegs and
Stilt Sandpipers. There were numerous Bonaparte's Gulls here
Long-billed Curlew and
|Also present were Long-billed Curlew, Black-necked
Stilt and a lone, very late, Wilson's Phalarope that appears to be
wintering here. Way too soon it was time for Barbara to be on her
way to diner with family two hours away.
We bid our farewell and holiday best wishes and she was on her way. Mount
Signal sits on the Mexican Border in the South West part of the
Imperial Valley and stood watch as she passed by into the sunset.