Burrowing Owls


Salton Sea, Imperial Valley, & Laguna Mts.
18-19 Mar 2007
Narrator: Henry Detwiler

Two days of fine spring birding in the Imperial Valley and the Laguna Mountains with father-son team Mike and Tyson.

137 species--bird list is at the bottom of the page
Click on thumbnail pictures for full-sized shots.


Mke & Tyson

Mike, his son Tyson, and I set out for the Salton Sea at 5:30 am on a cool Sunday morning.  Our first stop was the locally famous Ruddy Ground-Dove breeding site just west of Calipatria. We were in luck--a bird was calling!  Seeing it was another matter, but after some persistence (and patience) we were treated to a fine view of a male Ruddy.


At Wister Waterfowl Management Area we picked up Ladder-backed Woodpecker and a beautiful Bullock's Oriole. 

California & Ring-billed Gulls

Marbled Godwit

At Red Hill Marina we found a dozen of these long-billed Marbled Godwits and an assortment of lingering gulls--but no Yellow-footed.


Along Davis Road we took several side trips on dike roads out to the Sea.  This mature Peregrine Falcon was watching from a tree skeleton, perhaps interested in the many American Pipits we saw feeding in the mud.

Peregrine Falcon

Bubbling Mudpots

At the bubbling mudpots we watched carbon dioxide gas oozing out of the thick grey mud, and saw small volcanoes being formed.  All evidence of the active geothermal vents just below the surface of the below-sea-level ground.

American Pipit

At the corner of Lack and Lindsey we got an eyeful of teal--Cinnamon, Green-winged, and twelve Blue-winged.  Farther along the shore line we spotted this male Surf Scoter on the Sea, and then, amazingly, we got this male White-winged Scoter at Willey Reservoir just south of the Sea.


Cinnamon Teal


Surf Scoter

White-winged Scoter


On Monday morning we headed out before daybreak and watched the sun rise over Fig Lagoon.  Soras and Black-crowned Night-herons were the heroes of the morning.

Black-crowned Night-Heron

European "long-billed" Starling

At Jacumba we found a single Tricolored Blackbird, and then this odd "long-billed" European Starling.  No doubt the king of the starling heap!  Up the hill from the crestline Rest Area we scored with Wrentit, Rufous-crowned & Black-chinned Sparrow, Gray Vireo, and California Thrasher.
On road to Cuyamaca State Park, Al spotted this fine-looking Band-tailed Pigeon on the side of the road, so we backtracked and got it in the scope.  Farther down the road we added Western Bluebird and California Towhee.

Band-tailed Pigeon

Cassin's Vireo


Paso Picacho Campground provided us with some fine high-mountain birds:  Pygmy & White-breasted Nuthatch, Nuttall's Woodpecker, Stellar's Jay, Mountain Chickadee, and this early Cassin's Vireo.  We got back to Yuma in time for dinner - it had been a fine two days!


Salton Sea, 18-19 Mar 2007

Pied-billed Grebe
Eared Grebe
Western Grebe
Clark's Grebe
American White Pelican
Brown Pelican
Double-crested Cormorant
Least Bittern
Great Blue Heron
Great Egret
Snowy Egret
Cattle Egret
Green Heron
Black-crowned Night Heron
White-faced Ibis
Canada Goose
American Wigeon
Blue-winged Teal
Cinnamon Teal
Northern Shoveler
Northern Pintail
Green-winged Teal
Surf Scoter
White-winged Scoter
Ruddy Duck
Northern Harrier
Sharp-shinned Hawk
Cooper's Hawk
Red-shouldered Hawk
Red-tailed Hawk
American Kestrel
Peregrine Falcon
Ring-necked Pheasant
Gambel's Quail
Black Rail
Clapper Rail
Virginia Rail
Common Moorhen
American Coot
Black-bellied Plover
Black-necked Stilt
American Avocet
Greater Yellowlegs
Lesser Yellowlegs
Spotted Sandpiper
Long-billed Curlew
Marbled Godwit
Western Sandpiper
Least Sandpiper
Long-billed Dowitcher
Turkey Vulture
Franklin's Gull
Bonaparte's Gull
Ring-billed Gull
California Gull
Herring Gull
Caspian Tern
Rock Pigeon
Band-tailed Pigeon
Mourning Dove
Inca Dove
Common Ground-Dove
Ruddy Ground-Dove
Eurasian Collared Dove
Greater Roadrunner
Burrowing Owl
Anna's Hummingbird
Rufous Hummingbird
Belted Kingfisher
Acorn Woodpecker
Gila Woodpecker
Ladder-backed Woodpecker
Nuttal's Woodpecker
Northern Flicker
Black Phoebe
Ash-throated Flycatcher
Western Kingbird
Gray Vireo
Cassin's Vireo
Stellar's Jay
Western Scrub Jay
American Crow
Common Raven
Tree Swallow
Northern Rough-winged Swallow
Cliff Swallow
Barn Swallow
Mountain Chickadee
Oak Titmouse
White-breasted Nuthatch
Pygmy Nuthatch
Brown Creeper
Bewick's Wren
Marsh Wren
Ruby-crowned Kinglet
Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
Black-tailed Gnatcatcher
Western Bluebird
American Robin
Northern Mockingbird
California Thrasher
European Starling
American Pipit
Orange-crowned Warbler
Yellow-rumped Warbler
Common Yellowthroat
California Towhee
Abert's Towhee
Rufous-crowned Sparrow
Black-chinned Sparrow
Fox Sparrow
Song Sparrow
White-crowned Sparrow
Dark-eyed Junco
Red-winged Blackbird
Tricolored Blackbird
Western Meadowlark
Yellow-headed Blackbird
Brewer's Blackbird
Great-tailed Grackle
Brown-headed Cowbird
Bullock's Oriole
Purple Finch
House Finch
Lesser Goldfinch
House Sparrow

Photos Henry D. Detwiler