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Saturday, March 4, 2017

What to expect at Salton Sea

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Guy McCaskie is a local expert there;

Date: 3/4/17 2:27 pm
From: 'Guy McCaskie' <guymcc...> [inlandcountybirds] <inlandcountybirds-noreply...>
Subject: [inlandcountybirds] Salton Sea (south) - 3 March 2017
I spent Wednesday, 3 March 2017 (6:00 AM to 4:00 PM), birding a few select
locations within the Imperial Valley and along part of the south shore of
the Salton Sea. I started the day at Fig Lagoon and Sunbeam Lake, then drove
north into Brawley, stopping briefly to look at Sheldon Reservoir and the
area around the intersection of Carter and Fites Roads. In Brawley I
stopping briefly at the hummingbird feeders on Willard Avenue and spent some
time in Cattle Call Park. I then continued north to Niland, stopping briefly
to look for land-birds at the northeastern corner of the IID Wetlands. In
Niland I birded north along International Avenue, west along the western
part of 4th Street, and southward along Luna Avenue. I then drove westward
by way of Alcott, Pound, Davis, Schrimpf, Garst and Sinclair Roads to Morton
Bay and the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ. I then checked for water
birds along the shoreline of the Salton Sea from Rock Hill to Obsidian
Butte, and from Obsidian Butte along the south shore of the Salton Sea to
Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, spending a little time in
the area around the intersection of Lack and Lindsey Roads and at the west
end of Young Road. I then drove westward to nearby Carter Reservoir and
southeastward to into Westmorland. From here I drove southward by way of
Forrester and Ross Roads to Sunbeam Lake and Fig Lagoon, then heading west
to San Diego at about 4:00 PM. There was some high broken cloud-cover part
of the day, with virtually no wind, and temperatures ranging from 45 to 80
degrees.

It was apparent that a number of the wintering waterbirds had left, diving
ducks were on reservoirs and ditches rather than on the Salton Sea itself,
raptors were few and far between, and land-birds were hard to find.

Species seen and/or heard - Snow Goose (1500 - including at least 10
blue-morph birds), Ross's Goose (6 - one with eleven presumed "cripples" at
the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ and five identified with the
somewhat distant Snow Geese at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife
Refuge), Gadwall (10), American Wigeon (20), Mallard (25), Cinnamon Teal
(75), Northern Shoveler (1500), Northern Pintail (25), Green-winged Teal
(150), Greater Scaup (2 - two with Lesser Scaup and Common Goldeneye in the
ditch on the east side of the very northern part of Lack Road) Lesser Scaup
(20), Bufflehead (2), Common Goldeneye (15 - four in the ditch on the east
side of the very northern part of Lack Road, five at Carter Reservoir and
six on Fig Lagoon), Red-breasted Merganser (1 - a female at Rock Hill),
Ruddy Duck (500), Gambel's Quail (15), Pied-billed Grebe (10), Eared Grebe
(15), Western Grebe (2 - one on Fig Lagoon), Clark's Grebe (5 - five at
Morton Bay), Rock Pigeon (150), Eurasian Collared-Dove (150), Inca Dove (5),
Common Ground-Dove (15), White-winged Dove (10 - ten in the southwestern
part of Brawley where now regular in small numbers in winter), Mourning Dove
(50), Greater Roadrunner (2), Anna's Hummingbird (10), Costa's Hummingbird
(3), Ridgway's Rail (1), Sora (3), Common Gallinule (2), American Coot
(500), Sandhill Crane (50 - fifty at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National
Wildlife Refuge), Black-necked Stilt (25), American Avocet (200),
Black-bellied Plover (5), Killdeer (25), Whimbrel (6 - six with Long-billed
Curlews near Fig Lagoon are the earliest of the spring migrants I have
encountered this year), Long-billed Curlew (500), Marbled Godwit (100),
Stilt Sandpiper (15 - at least fifteen with Long-billed Dowitchers at Unit 1
of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Least Sandpiper (250), Western
Sandpiper (1 - one with Least Sandpipers near the intersection of Lack and
Lindsey Roads was all that I was able to find), Long-billed Dowitcher
(1500), Spotted Sandpiper (1), Greater Yellowlegs (15), Willet (2),
Ring-billed Gull (2500), Western Gull (2 - one adult at the northeast corner
of Obsidian Butte and one adult near the north end of Lack Road), California
Gull (15), Herring Gull (50), Lesser Black-backed Gull (1 - one adult with
virtually no head markings at the northeast corner of Obsidian Butte),
Neotropic Cormorant (6 - five with Double-crested Cormorants at Sunbeam Lake
and one perched on a boat dock at the north end of Garst Road),
Double-crested Cormorant (150), American White Pelican (50), Brown Pelican
(50), Least Bittern (2), Great Blue Heron (30), Great Egret (50), Snowy
Egret (50), Cattle Egret (750), Green Heron (2), Black-crowned Night-Heron
(6), White-faced Ibis (3500), Turkey Vulture (25), Northern Harrier (2),
Red-tailed Hawk (4), Ferruginous Hawk (1 - one adult near the entrance to
Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge was probably the same
adult first seen here on 4 January), Great Horned Owl (1 - one at Cattle
Call Park in Brawley where suspected nesting), Burrowing Owl (15), Belted
Kingfisher (1), Gila Woodpecker (4), Ladder-backed Woodpecker (1), Northern
Flicker (10), American Kestrel (25), Merlin (1 - One perched in a dead tree
at the intersection of Davis and Schrimpf Roads), Black Phoebe (10), Say's
Phoebe (5), Vermilion Flycatcher (1 - one male at Sunbeam Lake), Loggerhead
Shrike (2), Common Raven (3), Horned Lark (5), Tree Swallow (1500),
Rough-winged Swallow (10), Cliff Swallow (15 - a total of about fifteen at
scattered locations in the Imperial Valley are the earliest of the spring
migrants I have encountered this year), Barn Swallow (15), Verdin (5), House
Wren (1), Marsh Wren (10), Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (1), Ruby-crowned
Kinglet (5), Northern Mockingbird (20), European Starling (350), House
Sparrow (50), American Pipit (100 - a large flock near Fig Lagoon), House
Finch (25), Orange-crowned Warbler (2), Common Yellowthroat (3),
Yellow-rumped Warbler (35), Abert's Towhee (10), Chipping Sparrow (15 - a
flock at Cattle Call Park in Brawley), Savannah Sparrow (5), Song Sparrow
(5), Lincoln's Sparrow (2), White-crowned Sparrow (50), Red-winged Blackbird
(2500), Western Meadowlark (35), Yellow-headed Blackbird (2), Brewer's
Blackbird (75), Great-tailed Grackle (100) and Brown-headed Cowbird (5) -
113 species.



Guy McCaskie

 
Oh yeah, Gila Woodpecker, which was common at Mesa.

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