Monday, 11 August 2014

Return to the Salton Sea

I can't quite believe that it was only on New Year's Day that I was here last. However, as with a lot of things that I do these days, there was a specific target - seeing a Yellow-footed Gull. And that I did, pulling out an adult in the pre-roost. One thing I didn't do though was get any meaningful photos and so, with the species being much more abundant in summer, I decided on a return. The best place for birding at this vast, saline environment is the southeast end to the north of Brawley - Obsidian Butte and the area immediately to the southwest was where I spent my time this trip.

adult Yellow-footed Gull
I'll do a more in-depth post some other time on the target species, but suffice to say they were showy enough to get the images and understanding that I wanted. At least 80 birds - mainly adults - part of a post-breeding dispersal northwards from Baja California, Mexico; the Salton Sea's the only reliable place to see the species in the USA. There were also California, American Herring, Ring-billed and a couple of Bonaparte's Gulls too.
American Avocet

Long-billed Dowitcher
As always though, the whole place was absolutely buzzing with birds - loads of Long-billed Dowitchers, Wilson's Phalaropes, Least Sandpipers and Killdeers while infinite numbers of Brown Pelicans (and to a lesser extent White) and Double-crested Cormorants lined the shores. Through in the odd Redhead, Western Grebe, Northern Harrier and Burrowing Owl too - not bad for an afternoon and a morning of gull watching. It was bloody hot though.
Double-crested Cormorant


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