Long-billed Curlew

   
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Salton Sea & Imperial Valley
Dec 13, 2001 - 45-75 degrees

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)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Barbara 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 - Brawley site 
Sora, 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 beautiful sunset.
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.  

Sandhill Cranes
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 - Imperial site 
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 way.
    
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 too. 
    

Bonaparte's Gull

Long-billed Curlew and 
Black-necked Stilt
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.    

Mount Signal


Salton Sea & Imperial Valley
13 Dec 2001

 
# Species
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Eared Grebe
3 Western Grebe
4 American White Pelican
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 White-faced Ibis
14 Green-winged Teal
15 Northern Pintail
16 Cinnamon Teal
17 Northern Shoveler
18 Ruddy Duck
19 Turkey Vulture
20 Osprey
21 Northern Harrier
22 Cooper's Hawk
23 Red-tailed Hawk
24 American Kestrel
25 Prairie Falcon
26 Peregrine Falcon
27 Gambel's Quail
28 Sandhill Crane
29 Virginia Rail
30 Sora
31 Common Moorhen
32 American Coot
33 Black-necked Stilt
34 American Avocet
35 Killdeer
36 Mountain Plover
37 Long-billed Dowitcher
38 Marbled Godwit
39 Long-billed Curlew
40 Greater Yellowlegs
41 Lesser Yellowlegs
42 Spotted Sandpiper
43 Willet
44 Western Sandpiper

 

 
# Species
45 Least Sandpiper
46 Stilt Sandpiper
47 Wilson's Phalarope
48 Ring-billed Gull
49 California Gull
50 Herring Gull
51 Bonaparte's Gull
52 Caspian Tern
53 Forster's Tern
54 Rock Dove
55 Mourning Dove
56 Common Ground-Dove
57 Greater Roadrunner
58 Barn Owl
59 Great Horned Owl
60 Burrowing Owl
61 Belted Kingfisher
62 Northern Flicker
63 Black Phoebe
64 Say's Phoebe
65 Horned Lark
66 Barn Swallow
67 American Pipit
68 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
69 Phainopepla
70 Cactus Wren
71 Marsh Wren
72 Northern Mockingbird
73 Verdin
74 Loggerhead Shrike
75 European Starling
76 Yellow-rumped Warbler
77 Common Yellowthroat
78 Abert's Towhee
79 Chipping Sparrow
80 Savannah Sparrow
81 Song Sparrow
82 White-crowned Sparrow
83 Red-winged Blackbird
84 Western Meadowlark
85 Great-tailed Grackle
86 House Finch
87 House Sparrow

 


Photos Henry D. Detwiler & Bob Miller