Phainopepla was the first of many lifers for Geoff
on his first visit to the West Coast. --- was attending a medical
convention so we were on our own for the first two days.
Johnson Road was our first look at the Salton Sea and the bird
list was really running up already. With over a hundred
Western Grebes there, we were amazed to find only one Clark's
Grebe in the whole bunch! The dragonflies and damselflies proved
to be numerous throughout the day too. Bombay Beach gave us
our first of several looks at Yellow-footed Gull with an immature
and an adult together. The birding was hot and the day was
proving to be even hotter as records fell all across the Southwest
on what proved to be a real late season scorcher.
We practically ran through the nature trail at
Wister as I had left the mosquito repellent in my vehicle and the
warm days brought out a strong late hatch of seriously hungry
bugs. American Redstart was the rarest bird at that stop
although it is practically a yard bird for Geoff! A true
Salton Sea adventure, with astounding numbers of birds, also has
to include bubbling mud volcanoes and mud pots, crumbling adobe
bath houses falling into sink holes, pumice and obsidian rock, old
trailer courts claimed by the Salton Sea, their bottom halves
literally rusted away.
With the thermometer now reading 108, we made a
quick stop at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR and then continued on
to Obsidian Butte in our "air-conditioned
bird-blind"! At stop at "the" dove spot at
midday worked out very well as we had two Ruddy Ground-Dove in
close plus every dove possible in the Imperial Valley!
We picked up a couple sandwiches at Mike's and
stopped at the house to enjoy them as we watched Anna's and
Costa's Hummingbirds and Abert's Towhees at our feeders. On
to Brawley for great looks at Gambel's Quail and Gila
Woodpecker. Unit One was a bit slow but we picked up a few
calling rails as the sun set.