Santa Rosa Mountains & Salton Sea


Salton Sea & Imperial Valley
Dec 29, 2002, 49-67 degrees
- narrated by Henry Detwiler

We took Zoe and Bill on a whirlwind tour of the west side of the Salton Sea and adjoining Imperial Valley.  

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

Loggerhead Shrike

Salton Sea 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. 

Greater Yellowlegs


Henry, Bill, and Zoe

At the 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 of Calipatria

Lewis' Woodpecker

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 Lesser Yellowlegs.

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!

Imperial Valley & the Salton Sea, 29 Dec 2002
# Species
1 Pied-billed Grebe
2 Eared Grebe
3 American White Pelican
4 Brown Pelican
5 Double-crested Cormorant
6 Great Blue Heron
7 Great Egret
8 Snowy Egret
9 Cattle Egret
10 Black-crowned Night Heron
11 White-faced Ibis
12 Snow Goose
13 Ross' Goose
14 American Wigeon
15 Mallard
16 Blue-winged Teal
17 Cinnamon Teal
18 Northern Shoveler
19 Northern Pintail
20 Green-winged Teal
21 Canvasback
22 Redhead
23 Lesser Scaup
24 Ruddy Duck
25 White-tailed Kite
26 Northern Harrier
27 Sharp-shinned Hawk
28 Red-shouldered Hawk
29 Red-tailed Hawk
30 American Kestrel
31 Peregrine Falcon
32 Virginia Rail
33 Common Moorhen
34 American Coot
35 Black-bellied Plover
36 Killdeer
37 Mountain Plover
38 Black-necked Stilt
39 American Avocet
40 Greater Yellowlegs
41 Lesser Yellowlegs
42 Willet
43 Long-billed Curlew
44 Marbled Godwit
# Species
45 Western Sandpiper
46 Least Sandpiper
47 Long-billed Dowitcher
48 Ring-billed Gull
49 California Gull
50 Herring Gull
51 Caspian Tern
52 Forster's Tern
53 Rock Dove
54 Mourning Dove
55 Common Ground-Dove
56 Burrowing Owl
57 Anna's Hummingbird
58 Belted Kingfisher
59 Lewis' Woodpecker
60 Gila Woodpecker
61 Say's Phoebe
62 Loggerhead Shrike
63 Common Raven
64 Tree Swallow
65 Verdin
66 Cactus Wren
67 Marsh Wren
68 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
69 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
70 Western Bluebird
71 Northern Mockingbird
72 European Starling
73 American Pipit
74 American Redstart
75 Orange-crowned Warbler
76 Yellow-rumped Warbler
77 Common Yellowthroat
78 Abert's Towhee
79 Savannah Sparrow
80 Song Sparrow
81 Lincoln's Sparrow
82 White-crowned Sparrow
83 Dark-eyed Junco
84 Red-winged Blackbird
85 Western Meadowlark
86 Brewer's Blackbird
87 Great-tailed Grackle
88 House Finch
89 House Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler