Sea & Imperial Valley
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.
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.
Along Schrimpf Road we saw American White Pelicans, more waterfowl, and our only Western Grebe of
Kirk, Linda, & Suzanne
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.
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!