Betty's Kitchen, Colorado River Valley, Salton Sea, Cibola NWR
Jan 15-19, 2001, Cool-Warm, 40-65 
Elderhostel Group of 31 Fantastic Participants

A most enjoyable week-long trip led by Bob Miller, Heidi Lauchstedt, and me, Henry Detwiler.  
137 species total

Bob, Heidi, and I started out the week with our group just south of Betty's Kitchen, where we found a Great Horned Owl roosting in a small abandoned date palm grove. 

Phainopepla at Betty's Kitchen

We walked the trail around Betty's Kitchen and tried to get a Crissal Thrasher to respond to a tape.  One sang in the distance, but wouldn't come in.  We all got wonderful looks at a Phainopepla, though.

Other stops on Monday included Mittry Lake, Laguna Dam and its settling ponds, and Senator's Wash, where we located a Common Loon hanging out with Common Goldeneyes.
Lunch at Laguna Dam

Laguna Dam Spillway in the back

Looking over West Pond

Clear Lake

On Tuesday morning we took a cruise between Martinez Lake and Laguna Dam with Smokey Knowlton.  We were treated to tranquil backwaters, fantastic scenery, and close-up looks of Rock Wren, Belted Kingfisher, Clark's & Western Grebes, and another Great Horned Owl.

On the Colorado River

Great Horned Owl - s. of Betty's Kitchen

On Tuesday afternoon Renee Robichaud gave us a fine tour of the closed area of Imperial NWR, with our first looks at Vermillion Flycatcher and Canada Geese. On Wednesday we drove up to Cibola NWR to see hundreds of Sandhill Cranes and thousands of wintering waterfowl.  We also called in a Crissal Thrasher!

Obsidian Butte
Thursday and Friday were devoted to the Imperial Valley and the Salton Sea.  At Obsidian Butte we were treated to a rare winter view of an adult Yellow-footed Gull.

Among the many birds of prey we found Osprey, Peregrine & Prairie Falcons, and this accommodating Merlin.


Female Merlin at Obsidian Butte

Thayer's Gull at Rock Hill
At the headquarters we found two great birds.  The Thayer's Gull (pictured here on the left) and an out-of-place Black and White Warbler.  
Rock Hill Trail provided wonderful looks at Greater Roadrunner, Abert's Towhee,  and Gambel's Quail. 
Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR
In a burned field off McConnel Road, Heidi found us a Mountain Plover, and at Finney Lake we located the wintering Lesser Nighthawks, Cactus Wren, a Ladder-backed Woodpecker, and a Plumbeous Vireo.  The complete bird list is below.

See you next year!

Great Horned Owl at Martinez Lake

# Species Name
1 Common Loon
2 Clark's Grebe
3 Western Grebe
4 Eared Grebe
5 Pied-Billed Grebe
6 Brown Pelican
7 White Pelican
8 Double-Crested Cormorant
9 Great Blue Heron
10 Green Heron
11 Great Egret
12 Cattle Egret
13 Black-Crowned Night Heron
14 Snowy Egret
15 White-Faced Ibis
16 Sandhill Crane
17 Northern Shoveler
18 Green-Winged Teal
19 Wood Duck
20 Ruddy Duck
21 Ring-Necked Duck
22 Redhead
23 Northern Pintail
24 Mallard
25 Lesser Scaup
26 Common Merganser
27 Common Goldeneye
28 Cinnamon Teal
29 Canvasback
30 Bufflehead
31 American Wigeon
32 Snow Goose
33 Ross' Goose
34 Canada Goose
35 Gadwall
36 Common Moorhen
37 Virginia Rail
38 American Coot
39 Sora
40 American Avocet
41 Black-Necked Stilt
42 Black-Bellied Plover
43 Killdeer
44 Mountain Plover
45 Long-Billed Dowitcher
46 Stilt Sandpiper
47 Common Snipe
48 Spotted Sandpiper
49 Willet
50 Marbled Godwit
51 Lesser Yellowlegs
52 Least Sandpiper
53 Dunlin
54 Western Sandpiper
55 Long-Billed Curlew
56 Greater Yellowlegs
57 Thayer's Gull
58 Forster's Tern
59 Caspian Tern
60 Yellow-Footed Gull
61 Herring Gull
62 California Gull
63 Bonaparte's Gull
64 Ring-Billed Gull
65 Turkey Vulture
66 White-Tailed Kite
67 Cooper's Hawk
68 Northern Harrier


# Species Name
69 Osprey
70 Red-Tailed Hawk
71 American Kestrel
72 Merlin
73 Peregrine Falcon
74 Prairie Falcon
75 Ring-Necked Pheasant
76 Gambel's Quail
77 Rock Dove
78 Mourning Dove
79 Inca Dove
80 Common Ground Dove
81 Greater Roadrunner
82 Burrowing Owl
83 Great Horned Owl
84 Lesser Nighthawk
85 Anna's Hummingbird
86 Belted Kingfisher
87 Gila Woodpecker
88 Ladder-Backed Woodpecker
89 Northern Flicker
90 Red-Naped Sapsucker
91 Black Phoebe
92 Vermillion Flycatcher
93 Say's Phoebe
94 Horned Lark
95 Northern Rough-Winged Swallow
96 Tree Swallow
97 Common Crow
98 Common Raven
99 Verdin
100 Marsh Wren
101 Rock Wren
102 Cactus Wren
103 House Wren
104 Western Bluebird
105 Mountain Bluebird
106 American Robin
107 Blue-Gray Gnatcatcher
108 Ruby-Crowned Kinglet
109 Loggerhead Shrike
110 Crissal Thrasher
111 Northern Mockingbird
112 American Pipit
113 Phainopepla
114 European Starling
115 Plumbeous Vireo
116 Orange-Crowned Warbler
117 Yellow-Rumped Warbler
118 Common Yellowthroat
119 Black-And-White Warbler
120 Vesper Sparrow
121 Yellow-Headed Blackbird
122 Western Meadowlark
123 Red-Winged Blackbird
124 Great-Tailed Grackle
125 Brown-Headed Cowbird
126 Brewer's Blackbird
127 House Sparrow
128 White-Crowned Sparrow
129 Song Sparrow
130 Savannah Sparrow
131 Sage Sparrow
132 Dark-Eyed Junco
133 Lincoln's Sparrow
134 Brewer's Sparrow
135 Abert's Towhee
136 Spotted Towhee
137 House Finch


Photos Henry D. Detwiler