Date: 10/12/17 8:22 am From: 'Guy' <guymcc...> [inlandcountybirds] <inlandcountybirds-noreply...> Subject: [inlandcountybirds] Salton Sea (south) - 11 Oct 2017
I spent Wednesday, 11 October 2017 (6:45 AM to 5:45 PM) birding a few select locations within the Imperial Valley and along the south shore of the Salton Sea. I started the day at the IID Wetlands near Niland, spending time at the northeast corner. From there I drove northward into Niland, where I birded northward along International Avenue, west along 4th Street, then south along Luna Avenue. From there I drove southwestward by way of McDonald, Davis and Schrimpf Roads to Morton Bay, then southwestward by way of Garst and Sinclair Roads to the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ. After spending a little time around the refuge HQ buildings and Rock Hill, I checked for water birds along the shore of the Salton Sea between the west end of Sinclair Road and Obsidian Butte, and from Obsidian Butte to the west end of Young Road. From there I drove eastward to Calipatria, spending a little time looking for land-bird west of the town. I then drove south into Brawley, stopping briefly at Ramer Lake. In Brawley, I looked at Riverview Cemetery, then quickly at the hummingbird feeders on Willard Avenue and at Cattle Call Park. I then continued south by way of Dogwood Road to near the southeast corner of El Centro, and ending the day at Fig Lagoon before heading west to San Diego.
It was partially cloudy with no wind, and with temperatures ranging from 55 to 95 degrees.
I spent much more time looking through sparrows and other land-birds than during recent trips, and limited my time along the shore of the Salton Sea.
Species seen and/or heard - Canada Goose (1 - one at Fig Lagoon), Blue-winged Teal (20 - at least twenty), Cinnamon Teal (5), Blue-winged/Cinnamon Teal (25), Northern Shoveler (500), Gadwall (2), American Wigeon (5), Mallard (15), Northern Pintail (5), Green-winged Teal (10), Redhead (15), Ring-necked Duck (2 - a male and female together at Fig Lagoon), Lesser Scaup (30 - thirty on Morton Bay are the first that I have encountered locally this fall), Ruddy Duck (1200), Gambel's Quail (5), Pied-billed Grebe (15), Eared Grebe (2), Western Grebe (20), Clark's Grebe (4), Aechmophorus sp. (15), Rock Pigeon (100), Eurasian Collared-Dove (200), Inca Dove (20), Common Ground-Dove (35), White-winged Dove (1 - one in flight along 4th Street in the western part of Niland), Mourning Dove (75), Greater Roadrunner (2), Anna's Hummingbird (10), Costa's Hummingbird (1), Ridgway's Rail (3), Virginia Rail (2), Sora (10), Common Gallinule (2), American Coot (150), Sandhill Crane (5 - five in flight near the intersection of Dogwood and Keystone Roads south of Brawley), Black-necked Stilt (50), American Avocet (250), Black-bellied Plover (30), Snowy Plover (1), Semipalmated Plover (1), Killdeer (35), Long-billed Curlew (2), Marbled Godwit (50), Stilt Sandpiper (5 - five with Long-billed Dowitchers at the west end of Sinclair Road), Dunlin (15), Least Sandpiper (150), Western Sandpiper (750), Long-billed Dowitcher (300), Spotted Sandpiper (1), Lesser Yellowlegs (5), Willet (75), Greater Yellowlegs (20), Ring-billed Gull (500), Western Gull (6 - six along the shore of the Salton Sea between Obsidian Butte and the west end of Young Road), Yellow-footed Gull (10), California Gull (30), Herring Gull (40), Caspian Tern (25), Forster's Tern (15), Black Skimmer (12 - six adults and six hatch-year birds at Rock Hill), Neotropic Cormorant (11 - ten at Ramer Lake and one at Fig Lagoon), Double-crested Cormorant (250), American White Pelican (300), Brown Pelican (75), Least Bittern (10), Great Blue Heron (20), Great Egret (50), Snowy Egret (150), Cattle Egret (1500), Green Heron (1), Black-crowned Night-Heron (5), White-faced Ibis (250), Turkey Vulture (25), Osprey (2), Northern Harrier (5), Sharp-shinned Hawk (1), Cooper's Hawk (3), Red-tailed Hawk (2), Burrowing Owl (3), Belted Kingfisher (5), Lewis's Woodpecker (1 - one hatch-year bird seen well on the top of a utility pole and in flight along 4th street in the western part of Niland - this woodpecker is an irregular straggler to the Salton Sink, occurring on an average of once in every three years, with one near Westmorland on 23 September 1989 establishing the earliest date for a fall migrant), Gila Woodpecker (3), Red-naped Sapsucker (2 - one along 4th street in the western part of Niland and one along Luna Avenue in the western part of Niland), Red-breasted Sapsucker (1 - one well seen along 4th street in the western part of Niland had a mostly red head, a short white moustachial-stripe and much black on the back establishes the earliest date for this casual winter visitor to the Salton Sink with one in Niland on 16 October 2009 being the previous earliest) Ladder-backed Woodpecker (2), Northern (Red-shafted) Flicker (5), American Kestrel (30), Merlin (3 - one near the south end of International Avenue in Niland, one near the intersection of Davis and Schrimpf Roads and one at the intersection of Sperry and Bowles Roads west of Calipatria), Black Phoebe (35), Say's Phoebe (25), Vermilion Flycatcher (2 - two at Riverview Cemetery in Brawley), Western Kingbird (1 - one unusually late individual well studied near the south end of International Avenue in Niland - most have departed by early September), Loggerhead Shrike (5), Common Raven (1), Tree Swallow (150), Barn Swallow (750), Verdin (10), Red-breasted Nuthatch (2 - one at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland and one along Luna Avenue in the western part of Niland), House Wren (5), Marsh Wren (10), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher (1), Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (3), Ruby-crowned Kinglet (5), Townsend's Solitaire (1 - one at the intersection of Sperry and Bowles Roads west of Calipatria was foraging near and on the ground along the edge of a flooded meadow - overall gray coloration, buffy markings on the wings, white on the outer tail-feathers and conspicuous white eye-ring all noted), Northern Mockingbird (20), European Starling (350), Cedar Waxwing (5 - a flock of five in flight along Luna Avenue in the western part of Niland), Phainopepla (5), House Sparrow (75), House Finch (50), Pine Siskin (1 - one with an American Goldfinch at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland), Lesser Goldfinch (20), American Goldfinch (1 - one, believed to be an adult male, in basic-plumage feeding on sunflowers at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland ties the earliest date for a fall migrant at the Salton Sink, the other being one in Niland on 11 October 2007)), Abert's Towhee (15), Chipping Sparrow (25), Brewer's Sparrow (10), Lark Sparrow (2 - two at the intersection of Sperry and Bowles Roads west of Calipatria), Savannah Sparrow (35), Fox Sparrow (1 - one, identified as Passerella iliaca altivagans by Philip Unitt, near the southeast corner of El Centro was known present since 8 October - this sparrow is a casual winter visitor to the Salton Sink, occurring on an average of only once in every three years), Song Sparrow (15 - including two well marked individuals of the migratory subspecies montana at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland), Lincoln's Sparrow (10), White-crowned Sparrow (100), Golden-crowned Sparrow (1 - one in first-winter plumage bird well studied as it fed on the ground with White-crowned Sparrows at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland establishes the earliest date for a fall migrant at the Salton Sink - one in residential southwestern Brawley on 21 October 2009 being the previous earliest), Dark-eyed Junco (1 - one "Oregon Junco" at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland is the first that I have encountered locally this fall), Yellow-headed Blackbird (2), Western Meadowlark (15), Red-winged Blackbird (1500), Brown-headed Cowbird (25), Brewer's Blackbird (50), Great-tailed Grackle (150), Orange-crowned Warbler (10), Common Yellowthroat (5), Yellow Warbler (1) and Yellow-rumped Warbler (75) - 131 species.