I spent Wednesday, 19 April 2017 (6:00 AM to 6:00 PM), birding a few select locations along the south shore of the Salton Sea and within the Imperial Valley. I started the day at Fig Lagoon, Lakeview Golfcourse and Sunbeam Lake, then drove north into Brawley, stopping along the way briefly at Sheldon Reservoir and for much longer in the area around the intersection of Carter and Fites Roads. In Brawley I looked briefly at the hummingbird feeders on Willard Avenue, then spent a little more time in Cattle Call Park. I then drove north to Niland, stopping at the east end of Date Street in Calipatria and at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands on the way. In Niland I birded quickly northward 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 and Davis Roads to the southwestern corner of the Wister Unit. From here I drove south along Davis Road and west along Schrimpf Road to Morton Bay, then south on Garst and west on Sinclair Roads to the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ and Rock Hill. 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 the north end of Poe Road, spending a little time in the area around the intersection of Lack and Lindsey Roads, the west end of Young Road, at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge and at Carter Reservoir. I then drove southeastward through Westmorland into Brawley and south on Dogwood Road to near the southeastern corner of El Centro. After spending time in El Centro, I drove west, and looked at Fig Lagoon before heading west to San Diego.
It was mostly clear throughout the day, with some wind in the morning, and with temperatures ranging from 65 to 95 degrees.
Numbers of ducks have continued to decline as these birds depart for breeding grounds to the north, and the number and variety of shorebirds was noticeably less than on 14 April. Migrant land-birds were still present in small numbers, but the variety was much reduced.
Species seen and/or heard - Brant (105 - a flock of 105 on Fig Lagoon all day), Gadwall (15), American Wigeon (25 - most at the southwest corner of the Wister Unit), Mallard (15), Cinnamon Teal (30), Northern Shoveler (150), Northern Pintail (5), Green-winged Teal (5), Redhead (4), Lesser Scaup (3), Ruddy Duck (300), Gambel's Quail (15), Pied-billed Grebe (10), Eared Grebe (75), Western Grebe (2), Clark's Grebe (2), Rock Pigeon (150), Eurasian Collared-Dove (200), Inca Dove (30), Common Ground-Dove (20), White-winged Dove (20), Mourning Dove (75), Greater Roadrunner (2), Lesser Nighthawk (1), Black-chinned Hummingbird (15), Anna's Hummingbird (15), Costa's Hummingbird (2), Rufous Hummingbird (2), Sora (1), Common Gallinule (5), American Coot (350), Black-necked Stilt (50), American Avocet (150), Black-bellied Plover (30), Snowy Plover (1), Semipalmated Plover (5), Killdeer (25), Whimbrel (250), Long-billed Curlew (5), Marbled Godwit (2), Least Sandpiper (25), Western Sandpiper (1500), Long-billed Dowitcher (150), Spotted Sandpiper (3), Willet (20), Red-necked Phalarope (75), Franklin's Gull (3 - three adults in alternate plumage with Ring-billed Gulls at the east end of Date Street in Calipatria), Ring-billed Gull (500), California Gull (30), Herring Gull (1), Gull-billed Tern (75 - most in the area of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ and only one, a white-headed second-year bird, at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Caspian Tern (1), Forster's Tern (10), Black Skimmer (3 - two together at Rock Hill and one at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Neotropic Cormorant (13 - three on the Salton Sea near the north end of Lack Road and ten at Fig Lagoon/Sunbeam Lake), Double-crested Cormorant (100), American White Pelican (15), Least Bittern (1), Great Blue Heron (50), Great Egret (75), Snowy Egret (30), Cattle Egret (1500), Green Heron (2), Black-crowned Night-Heron (3), White-faced Ibis (750), Turkey Vulture (10), Osprey (1 - one at Carter Reservoir), Northern Harrier (1), Swainson's Hawk (1 - one dark-morph near the intersection of Fites and Carter Roads southwest of Brawley), Barn Owl (1), Great Horned Owl (1 - one near a nest at Cattle Call Park in Brawley), Burrowing Owl (15), Gila Woodpecker (10), Ladder-backed Woodpecker (3), American Kestrel (15), Pacific-slope Flycatcher (1), Black Phoebe (20), Vermilion Flycatcher (6 - two pairs at Lakeview Golfcourse and another pair at Sunbeam Lake), Ash-throated Flycatcher (10), Western Kingbird (50), Cassin's Vireo (2), Warbling Vireo (10), Common Raven (3), Horned Lark (1), Tree Swallow (50), Northern Rough-winged Swallow (30), Bank Swallow (2 - one with Tree Swallows at Rock Hill and one with other swallows near the north end of Garst Road), Cliff Swallow (350), Barn Swallow (15 - including four with Cliff Swallows at the intersection of Carter and Fites Roads southwest of Brawley where this species has nested in recent years), Verdin (15), Marsh Wren (15), Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (1), Mockingbird (25), European Starling (300), Phainopepla (1 - one adult male at Lakeview Golfcourse), House Sparrow (50), House Finch (35), Orange-crowned Warbler (25), Nashville Warbler (15), Common Yellowthroat (6), American Redstart (1 - one adult male in the willows at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands was first seen here on 23 September), Yellow-rumped Warbler (30), Wilson's Warbler (35), Yellow-breasted Chat (1 - one singing near the intersection of Fites and Carter Roads southwest of Brawley where this species persists and probably nests), Abert's Towhee (25), Chipping Sparrow (1), Song Sparrow (15), Lincoln's Sparrow (1), White-crowned Sparrow (5 - including three black-lored oriantha near the south end of International in Niland), Western Tanager (5), Black-headed Grosbeak (5), Lazuli Bunting (5), Red-winged Blackbird (1500), Western Meadowlark (30), Yellow-headed Blackbird (2 - two adult males at the old sewage treatment pond adjacent to Highway 111 at the southern end of Calipatria where this species has nested in recent years), Brewer's Blackbird (50), Great-tailed Grackle (200), Brown-headed Cowbird (30), Hooded Oriole (1) and Bullock's Oriole (5) - 119 species.