Sea & Imperial Valley
by Henry Detwiler
We took Zoe and Bill on a whirlwind tour of the west side of the Salton
Sea and adjoining Imperial Valley.
thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.
at Johnson Road
|The fish ponds off of Lincoln Road were the first stop of the
day. Redheads, N. Pintail, N. Shovelers, and Ruddy Ducks were but
some of the waterfowl that were seeking refuge from the hunters on these
fish-rearing ponds. Along Johnson Road we got excellent views of a male
Green-winged Teal in the roadside drainage canal. Here we also
got to examine this Loggerhead Shrike through the scope. At
the end of the road we watched American Avocets, Black-necked
Stilts, and lots of hunters. The clouds and mountains formed a
great backdrop to the birds. The Salton Sea Recreation area had California,
Herring, and Ring-billed Gulls, but no Yellow-footed.
Wister was also bristling with hunters, but even better were the
excellent variety and numbers of birds. We spotted a male American
Redstart, White-faced Ibis, this Greater Yellowlegs, Orange-crowned &
Yellow-rumped Warblers, Common Yellowthroat, an immature Red-shouldered
Hawk, and a field of Snow Geese.
Henry, Bill, and Zoe
bubbling mud pots we watched the gray slime oozing out of the
vents, and Bill gave his hands a mud bath. We bought some deli
sandwiches in Niland and consumed them at the Salton Sea NWR headquarters,
to the chorus of the Snow Geese honking.
We again found the Mountain
Bluebirds and Mountain Plovers in the Bermuda Grass fields along English
Road. Attempts to re-locate a Townsend's Solitaire and Ruddy
Ground-Doves failed, but we did find the cooperative Lewis' Woodpecker west
The Barn Owls in the condo along Walker also eluded us,
so we birded our way up the shore to Obsidian Butte. Two-foot
waves in the Sea were topped with whitecaps, and spray covered the
Pathfinder several times as we traveled the Salton Sea levee. We
added a Lesser Scaup, Belted Kingfisher, and at Obsidian Butte, several
Snow & Ross Geese
Snow Goose (front & center) surrounded by Ross Geese
In a field
next to the refuge headquarters we studied the difference between
Ross & Snow Geese. Our final stop of the day was a marsh
south of Schrimpf Road, where we heard and saw Virginia Rail and
Black-crowned Night Herons!