Birding Southern California: Day 2, Salton Sea

Previous Day

We allocated the following morning to exploring the Salton Sea area. (B)  The large, man-made sea is the pinnacle of the wild impracticality of the agricultural development in Southern California.  Plenty of sun, they have, but the increasing salt levels of the Salton Sea area pressuring the area’s true scarce resource, water.  Luckily, there is still a strong density of bird life supported by the various fields and mudflat areas.  Among the first birds we found were Aly’s favorite, Burrowing Owls.  As you drive along the fields of fruit and nuts, the berms and culverts built along the roadside are typical hangout spots for the goofy, little owls.  The dryer areas turned up White-faced Ibis, Long-billed Curlew, and the threatened Mountain Plover.  Even among those birds I was very familiar with, the numbers were staggering:  1,000 American Coots, 8,000 Snow Geese, almost 1,000 Northern Shovelers.  However, one of my favorite moments was when several hundred Red-winged Blackbirds (with some Yellow-headed mixed in) went streaming 20 feet overhead.  For someone used to birding in big city parks and forest preserves next to highways, the sound of the wind rushing past the wings of the often-ignored bird was thrilling.   Our two day birding extravaganza ended as we made our way to Joshua Tree National Park to continue our outdoor adventure.

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Burrowing Owls

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Western Meadowlark

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Mountain Plover

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Long-billed Curlew

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My eBird Checklists:

Salton Sea – Brawley

Salton Sea – Sonny Bono NWR

Salton Sea – Lack Rd.


  1. Shannon · October 5, 2015

    Your burrowing owls are adorbs. That curlew still has not graced my list this year…hoping soon. How is it that you only have 2 followers? Your photos are astounding! And I love that you linked to checklists.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Birding Southern California: Day 1, San Jacinto | carlsphotoblog
  3. Pingback: National Park #24: Joshua Tree, Day 1 | carlsphotoblog

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