Burrowing Owl - Davis Road


Salton Sea & Imperial Valley
Dec 27, 2002, 49-67 degrees
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

Suzanne joined me as we took Kirk and Linda for a half-day introductory tour of the southern portion of the Salton Sea. 

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

We started out at Cattle Call Park in Brawley, where we saw some of the valley's resident winter species: Turkey Vulture, Gila Woodpecker, Say's & Black Phoebes, Vermilion Flycatcher, and Abert's Towhee. 



At the Brawley New River Wetlands project we encouraged a Sora to whinny.  Yellow-rumped Warblers were swarming in the rushes like a locust plague.  Common Moorhens were most evident, and proudly displayed their colorful bills. Along Walker Road we paid a visit to the Barn Owl condo, and Linda spotted one of the residents poke its head out.  And that was the last we saw of them!  At the refuge headquarters we saw the Snow Geese and more sparrows.

At Red Hill Marina we studied several varieties of shore bird, and took lots of photos of this obliging Willet and Marbled Godwit. 

Marbled Godwit

Along Schrimpf Road we saw American White Pelicans, more waterfowl, and our only Western Grebe of the day.

Kirk, Linda, & Suzanne

At the bubbling mud pots we watched the thick gray sludge creating mini volcanoes and gray mud flows.  Just north of there Linda spotted a Burrowing Owl peering out from under the salty crust.  It, too, was very patient with us as we snapped a multitude of pictures.

We ate some of Suzanne's fine turkey sandwiches along English Road as we watched the jewel-like Mountain Bluebirds catching flies.   South of the bluebirds we saw some Mountain Plover far off on the other side of a Bermuda Grass field.  We drove along a sandy track, and finally got some great views of them--at the same time flushing our second Burrowing Owl of the day. 

Mountain Bluebird

Long-billed Curlew

The fields here also had Long-billed Curlews, also snapping up tidbits in the brown "lawns". We said goodbye to our new friends soon afterward--it had been a great morning!

On the way home, Suzanne and I stopped by the Bermuda Grass fields east of the Calipatria State Prison and saw several flocks of Chestnut-collared Longspurs.  A final year-bird for 2002!

Imperial Valley & the Salton Sea, 27 Dec 2002
# 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 White-faced Ibis
12 Snow Goose
13 American Wigeon
14 Mallard
15 Northern Shoveler
16 Northern Pintail
17 Green-winged Teal
18 Canvasback
19 Lesser Scaup
20 Ruddy Duck
21 Northern Harrier
22 Cooper's Hawk
23 Red-tailed Hawk
24 Ferruginous Hawk
25 American Kestrel
26 Gambel's Quail
27 Virginia Rail
28 Sora
29 Common Moorhen
30 American Coot
31 Mountain Plover
32 Black-necked Stilt
33 American Avocet
34 Greater Yellowlegs
35 Willet
36 Long-billed Curlew
37 Marbled Godwit
38 Western Sandpiper
# Species
39 Least Sandpiper
40 Long-billed Dowitcher
41 Turkey Vulture
42 Ring-billed Gull
43 California Gull
44 Caspian Tern
45 Rock Dove
46 Mourning Dove
47 Common Ground-Dove
48 Barn Owl
49 Burrowing Owl
50 Belted Kingfisher
51 Gila Woodpecker
52 Northern Flicker
53 Say's Phoebe
54 Vermilion Flycatcher
55 Loggerhead Shrike
56 Horned Lark
57 Tree Swallow
58 Verdin
59 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
60 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
61 Western Bluebird
62 Northern Mockingbird
63 European Starling
64 American Pipit
65 Yellow-rumped Warbler
66 Abert's Towhee
67 Savannah Sparrow
68 White-crowned Sparrow
69 Chestnut-collared Longspur
70 Red-winged Blackbird
71 Western Meadowlark
72 Brewer's Blackbird
73 Great-tailed Grackle
74 Brown-headed Cowbird
75 House Finch
76 House Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler