Black-necked Stilt


Yuma Elderhostel Trip
Jan 21-25, 2002 - 40-68 degrees

A group of twenty-one intrepid adventurers from all parts of the country converged on Yuma to search for birds.  
species (list follows at end of page)

Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.

On both Thursday and Friday we drove west to visit the birder's paradise known as the Imperial Valley, home of such hot spots as the Salton Sea, Finney & Ramer Lakes, and the New & Alamo Rivers.

Irv at the Salton Sea

American Kestrel
Birding in this area can be a very simple matter.  Drive along the country roads and pull over to look at the dozens of kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks, and shrikes perched on telephone poles and wires.  
Stop at flooded fields to look at flocks numbering in the hundreds of gulls, egrets, and Long-billed Curlews.  Or drive up to the sea itself and look for shorebirds and other water-loving birds, like this accommodating Osprey.

Osprey at the Salton Sea

At the Imperial Ponds Wetlands Project  numerous Soras responded to Bob's whistles and my tape, and we finally saw a couple of them.  Even better was the Virginia Rail that stalked out onto some matted bulrushes for all to see.


One of the spots we hit both days was Obsidian Butte, known as a hangout for the Yellow-footed Gull.  This Mexican visitor never did show up, but we got fine looks at California, Herring, Bonaparte's, and Ring-billed Gulls, as well as many American White Pelicans. And nearby we watched a Peregrine Falcon.

Overlooking Obsidian Butte

Least Sandpiper

At the large shallow pond on the southeast side of the butte, we were rewarded with excellent looks at Stilt, Western, and Least Sandpipers, as well as Lesser Yellowlegs, Dunlin, Avocet, and Black-necked Stilts.


We ate a picnic lunch at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge headquarters on our last day of touring, and then walked the trail out to Rock Hill.  In the ponds at the end of the trail was a huge flock of Ross Geese, as well as hundreds of American Wigeon, Pintails, and these "tipping" Northern Shovelers.

Northern Shoveler

Northern Shoveler (male & female)


Yuma Area Elderhostel Trip, 21-25 Jan 2002
# Species
1 Western Grebe
2 Eared Grebe
3 Pied-billed Grebe
4 Clark's Grebe
5 Brown Pelican
6 White Pelican
7 Double-crested Cormorant
8 Green Heron
9 Least Bittern
10 Great Blue Heron
11 Great Egret
12 Cattle Egret
13 Black-crowned Night Heron
14 Snowy Egret
15 White-faced Ibis
16 Ring-necked Duck
17 Greater Scaup
18 Wood Duck
19 Ruddy Duck
20 Redhead
21 Northern Pintail
22 Mallard
23 Lesser Scaup
24 Green-winged Teal
25 Common Merganser
26 Common Goldeneye
27 Cinnamon Teal
28 Canvasback
29 Bufflehead
30 American Wigeon
31 Canada Goose
32 Snow Goose
33 Northern Shoveler
34 Ross' Goose
35 Gadwall
36 Virginia Rail
37 Sora
38 Common Moorhen
39 American Coot
40 American Avocet
41 Black-necked Stilt
42 Black-bellied Plover
43 Killdeer
44 Mountain Plover
45 Long-billed Dowitcher
46 Stilt Sandpiper
47 Willet
48 Spotted Sandpiper
49 Marbled Godwit
50 Long-billed Curlew
51 Lesser Yellowlegs
52 Least Sandpiper
53 Greater Yellowlegs
54 Western Sandpiper
55 Dunlin
56 Bonaparte's Gull
57 California Gull
58 Herring Gull
59 Ring-billed Gull
60 Caspian Tern
61 Forster's Tern
62 Turkey Vulture
63 Ferruginous Hawk
64 Northern Harrier


# Species
65 Osprey
66 Red-tailed Hawk
67 Sharp-shinned Hawk
68 Cooper's Hawk
69 Prairie Falcon
70 American Kestrel
71 Merlin
72 Peregrine Falcon
73 Gambel's Quail
74 Ring-necked Pheasant
75 Inca Dove
76 Common Ground-Dove
77 Mourning Dove
78 Rock Dove
79 Greater Roadrunner
80 Burrowing Owl
81 Great Horned Owl
82 White-throated Swift
83 Anna's Hummingbird
84 Belted Kingfisher
85 Gila Woodpecker
86 Ladder-backed Woodpecker
87 Northern Flicker
88 Say's Phoebe
89 Black Phoebe
90 Vermilion Flycatcher
91 Horned Lark
92 Northern Rough-winged Swallow
93 Tree Swallow
94 Common Raven
95 Verdin
96 Cactus Wren
97 Marsh Wren
98 House Wren
99 Hermit Thrush
100 American Robin
101 Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
102 Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
103 Ruby-crowned Kinglet
104 Loggerhead Shrike
105 Northern Mockingbird
106 Crissal Thrasher
107 Leconte's Thrasher
108 American Pipit
109 Phainopepla
110 European Starling
111 Yellow-rumped Warbler
112 Common Yellowthroat
113 Orange-crowned Warbler
114 Western Meadowlark
115 Red-winged Blackbird
116 Great-tailed Grackle
117 Brewer's Blackbird
118 House Sparrow
119 Song Sparrow
120 Abert's Towhee
121 Vesper Sparrow
122 Savannah Sparrow
123 Sage Sparrow
124 Dark-eyed Junco
125 Lincoln's Sparrow
126 Brewer's Sparrow
127 White-crowned Sparrow
128 House Finch


Photos Henry D. Detwiler & Bob Miller