Date: 5/19/17 8:30 am From: 'Guy' <guymcc...> [inlandcountybirds] <inlandcountybirds-noreply...> Subject: [inlandcountybirds] Salton Sea (south) - 18 May 2017
I spent Thursday, 18 May 2017 (5:30 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 to the area around the intersection of Carter and Fites Roads southwest of Brawley. I then continued north, through Brawley, to Ramer Lake. From here I continued north to Niland, stopping at the IID Wetlands on the way. In Niland I birded 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 and west along Schrimpf Roads to Morton Bay, then south on Garst and west on Sinclair Roads to the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ. I then spent time around the Refuge HQ's and Rock Hill. From here I checked for water birds along the shoreline of the Salton Sea between Rock Hill and 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 southeastward through Westmorland and Brawley, then south on Dogwood Road to near the southeastern corner of El Centro. After spending time near El Centro, I drove west and looked at Fig Lagoon before continuing west to San Diego.
The sky was clear with some wind during the mid-morning, and with temperatures ranging from 60 to 90 degrees.
A few late migrant shorebirds, along with some obvious non-breeding birds, were the only non-summer resident Charadridae encountered, with gulls being close to non-existent. Yellow Warblers, along with Willow Flycatchers and Warbling Vireos, were by far the most conspicuous migrant land-birds.
Species seen and/or heard - Brant (1 - one near the southwestern corner of the Wister Unit), Gadwall (10), American Wigeon (15), Mallard (35), Blue-winged Teal (1 - one adult male at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Cinnamon Teal (6), Northern Shoveler (3), Green-winged Teal (2), Redhead (6), Greater Scaup (1 - one male at Rock Hill was probably the same male seen here on 7 May), Lesser Scaup (3), Ruddy Duck (500), Gambel's Quail (10), Pied-billed Grebe (10), Eared Grebe (500 - most on less salty bodies of water at Morton Bay, Rock Hill and Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, with very few on the open water of the Salton Sea), Western Grebe (15 - no Aechmophorus seen on the open water of the Salton Sea), Clark's Grebe (5), Rock Pigeon (75), Eurasian Collared-Dove (200), Inca Dove (15), Common Ground-Dove (30), White-winged Dove (40), Mourning Dove (50), Greater Roadrunner (1), Lesser Nighthawk (10 - including eight in flight over the entrance to Ramer Lake), Black-chinned Hummingbird (25), Anna's Hummingbird (15), Costa's Hummingbird (2), Calliope Hummingbird (2 - one adult male and female frequenting feeders near the southeastern corner of El Centro ware this species has been present in numbers up to six all spring), Ridgway's Rail (1), Virginia Rail (1 - one calling at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland ware probably nesting), Common Gallinule (6), American Coot (250), Black-necked Stilt (100), American Avocet (15), Black-bellied Plover (15 - including one in alternate-plumage between Rock Hill and Obsidian Butte - others obvious non-breeding birds that may attempt to summer locally), Snowy Plover (10), Killdeer (25), Whimbrel (2), Western Sandpiper (15 - a flock of fifteen late migrants between the west ends of Lindsey and Young Roads), Long-billed Dowitcher (15 - all adults in alternate-plumage assumed to be late migrants), Spotted Sandpiper (10), Greater Yellowlegs (1 - one adult in alternate-plumage between Rock Hill and Obsidian Butte), Willet (7 - all birds in non-breeding birds that may attempt to summer locally), Red-necked Phalarope (20), Bonaparte's Gull (6 - all first-summer plumage birds), Ring-billed Gull (5), Yellow-footed Gull (1 - one adult with greenish-yellow legs near the west end of Lindsey Road was assumed to be this species), Herring Gull (1 - one first-summer plumage bird between Rock Hill and Obsidian Butte), California Gull (15 - all subadult birds in varying degrees of "ratty-looking" plumage), Least Tern (2 - one adult on mud near the southwestern corner of the Wister Unit ware this species has nested in the past, and one adult in flight over the shallow water at the intersection of Pound and Davis Roads), Gull-billed Tern (175 - about eighty-five, many on nests, at Rock Hill, about fifteen more along the shore of the Salton Sea between Rock Hill and the west end of Young Road, and about seventy-five more at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Caspian Tern (10), Black Tern (5), Forster's Tern (5), Black Skimmer (45 - about thirty at Rock Hill and fifteen at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Pacific Loon (1 - one in mostly basic-plumage acquiring alternate-plumage back-pattern on the lake at Lakeview Golfcourse), Neotropic Cormorant (12 - five at Fig Lagoon/Sunbeam Lake, six at Ramer Lake and one at Morton Bay), Double-crested Cormorant (150), American White Pelican (25), Brown Pelican (20 - including one at Fig Lagoon), Least Bittern (3), Great Blue Heron (50), Great Egret (200), Snowy Egret (150), Cattle Egret (2500), Green Heron (10), Black-crowned Night-Heron (20), White-faced Ibis (100), Turkey Vulture (15), Northern Harrier (2 - an adult male and a female near Fig Lagoon ware being seen somewhat regularly may be nesting locally), Red-tailed Hawk (2), Burrowing Owl (15), Gila Woodpecker (5), Ladder-backed Woodpecker (3), American Kestrel (15), Olive-sided Flycatcher (2 - one along Pound Road east of Davis Road, and one in the dead trees along Grubel Road east of Lack Road), Western Wood-Pewee (10), Willow Flycatcher (40), Pacific-slope Flycatcher (6), Black Phoebe (15), Say's Phoebe (1 - one at the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ where apparently nesting), Vermilion Flycatcher (5 - five including recently fledged young at Lakeview Golfcourse), Ash-throated Flycatcher (1 - one near the intersection of Fites and Carter Roads southwest of Brawley), Western Kingbird (15), Cassin's Vireo (1 - one in the willows at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland), Warbling Vireo (50), Common Raven (1), Northern Rough-winged Swallow (30), Cliff Swallow (250), Barn Swallow (20), Verdin (20), Marsh Wren (15), Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (2), Swainson's Thrush (1), Northern Mockingbird (15), European Starling (150), House Sparrow (50), House Finch (35), Phainopepla (1 - one adult male at the intersection of Fites and Carter Roads southwest of Brawley), Orange-crowned Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (5), Yellow Warbler (75), Townsend's Warbler (1), Wilson's Warbler (20), Yellow-breasted Chat (2 - one singing near the intersection of Fites and Carter Roads southwest of Brawley and one singing at the intersection of Nieto and Noffsinger Roads in western Niland), Abert's Towhee (20), Song Sparrow (10), Western Tanager (10), Black-headed Grosbeak (1), Blue Grosbeak (1), Red-winged Blackbird (750), Western Meadowlark (25), Yellow-headed Blackbird (10), Brewer's Blackbird (35), Great-tailed Grackle (200), Bronzed Cowbird (3 - one adult male displaying ["helicopter flight"] to two adult females at the southern end of International in Niland), Brown-headed Cowbird (25) and Bullock's Oriole (3) - 119 species.