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Sunday, March 5, 2017

Mar. 5th Salton Sea birding; birding ALL day

Literally; from dawn to dusk(well not exactly dusk since I quit the Aqua farm at 4:32pm).

My schedule today;

2017-03-05 15:30Oasis--Aqua Farming Technology ponds (restricted access)RiversideUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete
2017-03-05 14:20Boyle RdImperialUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete
2017-03-05 13:25Salton Sea--Obsidian ButteImperialUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete
2017-03-05 12:39Sinclair Rd. at English Rd.ImperialUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete
2017-03-05 12:20Salton Sea--south endImperialUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete
2017-03-05 12:08Salton Sea--Garst Rd. N. of SinclairImperialUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete
2017-03-05 10:25Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Rock Hill TrailImperialUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete
2017-03-05 09:41Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Union Tract / Visitor CenterImperialUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete
2017-03-05 08:58Salton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdImperialUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete
2017-03-05 06:26Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1ImperialUS-CAView or edit | Share | Delete

Not bad at all! Not sure I saw a Yellow-footed Gull(probably not), and missed the top priority Black-headed Gull as well(at Agua farm. In fact according to ebird, other 2 birders birded 4 hrs in the morning from dawn, and they missed it as well. Maybe it's no longer there..), but;

SAW A BLACK-THROATED SPARROW AT ROCK HILL!!! AT ROCK HILL!!

But it does make sense in a perverted way; because that hill is a Black-throated Sparrow's preferred desert habitat.

And you know what, today was just the worst possible birding day ever, what with INSANE westerly gust blasting throughout the day. At Lindsay/Lack Rd in the later morning(before I got to Visitor Center/Rock Hill Trail), the gust was just SO fierce, practically was assaulting me when I was birding the shore, that my scope's eyepiece lense got loosened(or it may've gotten loosened when the scope fell down because of the wind at Unit 1 earlier in the morning).

So, what would a small traveling Black-throated Sparrow do, upon encountering that insane gust; naturally will land down however briefly, to shelter from the wind; and of course, on to its preferred habitat. And that spot was Rock Hill, a prominent spot situated along the Salton Sea shore! Glorious and Felicitous :)

Thus in a perverted way, I should thank the wind for the sparrow, although I just couldn't bird the shores and ponds at Unit 1 and Rock Hill Trail to my satisfaction(the scope just couldn't keep still lol).

And trying to spot the birds far north from the observation deck at Unit 1, again felt the need to upgrade my scope to better(more powerful) Ultima80(but it's still one of the cheapest).  Couldn't spot an American Bittern, but spotting Snow Geese and Sandhill Cranes was no problem(they were quite skittish though). A Canada Geese was with the Snow Geese. White-faced Ibises were bunched up together, about 30-50 of them, at the middle of the pond west of Vendel Rd.; never seen so many Ibises before(the most was recently at San Joaquin Sanctuary, 22 or something).

Visitor Center, rare 3/3 for my target species; Common-ground Dove, Inca Dove, Abert's Towhee! Fantastic :)  A staff told me she spotted a Lucy's Warbler candidate, but all I could spot was a Yellow-rumped Warbler, and of course the gust made it doubly hard to spot such a small passerine as a warbler.
At the Rock Hill trail(just before I spotted that sparrow), another birder told me he spotted a Redhead; marvelled that he could spot such a faraway bird, at all, with the wind blowing so severely lol. I didn't bother, it was just impossible!

At the Mountain Plover spot at Sinclair/English Rd.(actually the place was further south, egad..), couldn't find the Plovers but instead encountered a Burrowing Owl perched on the fence, literally head to head when I came out of the car lol. A bold one, indeed!

Some mystery gulls(probably Herring), and a buteo(probably a Red-tailed Hawk but the underwing pattern really seemed odd...) rounds it out.

At Obsidian Butte, got my thumb pricked by that obsidian rock lol, and my car got momentarily stuck in the mud, that was some panicky moment. Shouldn't go there without a high-clearance vehicle(or at all. The mud is so tricky there. Never underestimate it). Hence my car and myself literally in tatters(mud, grit..).

So! How many did I spot at Imperial County(south Salton Sea)

1Snow GooseSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
2Canada GooseSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
3GadwallSalton Sea--Garst Rd. N. of SinclairUS-CA05 Mar 2017
4MallardSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Rock Hill TrailUS-CA05 Mar 2017
5Cinnamon TealSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Rock Hill TrailUS-CA05 Mar 2017
6Northern ShovelerSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
7Northern PintailSalton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdUS-CA05 Mar 2017
8Green-winged TealSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Rock Hill TrailUS-CA05 Mar 2017
9Greater ScaupSalton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdUS-CA05 Mar 2017
10Lesser ScaupSalton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdUS-CA05 Mar 2017
11Ruddy DuckSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
12Gambel's QuailSalton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdUS-CA05 Mar 2017
13Eared GrebeSalton Sea--south endUS-CA05 Mar 2017
14Double-crested CormorantSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
15American White PelicanSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
16Brown PelicanSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Rock Hill TrailUS-CA05 Mar 2017
17Great Blue HeronSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
18Great EgretSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Rock Hill TrailUS-CA05 Mar 2017
19Snowy EgretSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
20White-faced IbisSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
21Turkey VultureSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
22Northern HarrierSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
23Virginia RailSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
24American CootSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
25Sandhill CraneSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
26Black-necked StiltSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Rock Hill TrailUS-CA05 Mar 2017
27American AvocetSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
28Black-bellied PloverSalton Sea--Obsidian ButteUS-CA05 Mar 2017
29KilldeerSalton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdUS-CA05 Mar 2017
30Marbled GodwitSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
31Stilt SandpiperSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
32Least SandpiperSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
33Long-billed DowitcherSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
34Greater YellowlegsSalton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdUS-CA05 Mar 2017
35WilletSalton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdUS-CA05 Mar 2017
36Ring-billed GullSalton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdUS-CA05 Mar 2017
37Western GullSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
38California GullSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
39Herring GullSalton Sea--Lack Rd. at Lindsey RdUS-CA05 Mar 2017
40Lesser Black-backed GullSalton Sea--Obsidian ButteUS-CA05 Mar 2017
41Inca DoveSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Union Tract / Visitor CenterUS-CA05 Mar 2017
42Common Ground-DoveSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Union Tract / Visitor CenterUS-CA05 Mar 2017
43Mourning DoveSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Union Tract / Visitor CenterUS-CA05 Mar 2017
44Burrowing OwlSinclair Rd. at English Rd.US-CA05 Mar 2017
45American KestrelSinclair Rd. at English Rd.US-CA05 Mar 2017
46Black PhoebeSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
47Say's PhoebeSalton Sea--Garst Rd. N. of SinclairUS-CA05 Mar 2017
48Northern Rough-winged SwallowSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
49Tree SwallowSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
50Cliff SwallowSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
51Marsh WrenSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
52Black-tailed GnatcatcherSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Union Tract / Visitor CenterUS-CA05 Mar 2017
53Yellow-rumped WarblerSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Union Tract / Visitor CenterUS-CA05 Mar 2017
54Black-throated SparrowSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Rock Hill TrailUS-CA05 Mar 2017
55Savannah SparrowSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Rock Hill TrailUS-CA05 Mar 2017
56Abert's TowheeSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Union Tract / Visitor CenterUS-CA05 Mar 2017
57Red-winged BlackbirdSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
58Western MeadowlarkSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Unit 1US-CA05 Mar 2017
59House SparrowSonny Bono Salton Sea NWR--Union Tract / Visitor Center

Plus at the Aqua Farm(Riverside County), Bonaparte Gull, Mockingbird, Grackle, Cowbird, so that's about 63 species I guess. Of course can't compare to Guy McCaskie's 113 lol, but I did just bird some choice spots only(for example didn't bird Cattle Call Park to see Gila Woodpecker and Red-naped Sapsucker. Too bad, maybe next time). And severe gust certainly didn't help to find more shorebirds/ducks/passerines, that is to say, any kind of bird lol.

Now that I finally found that Black-throated Sparrow(albeit at an totally unexpected location), can relax now! Will bird more leisurely from now on lol, of course mostly at Thousand Palms. Still hope I can catch some migrants/vagrants there! Maybe those'll also have taken shelter from the wind at the oasis(McCallum).

Now what's the OOP for tomorrow, couldn't find on the website earlier(couldn't visit the venue for two days in a row!)..

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