After reading about Lauren’s Red-breasted Nuthatches in La Paz County, and after seeing dozens of them at Big Morongo and Galileo Hill with John Yerger two days ago, I thought for sure I’d find one at the Yuma West Wetlands.
But it wasn’t to be. On the way over there I saw an adult HERRING GULL (a fine Yuma rarity) in a flooded field with 6 CINNAMON TEAL.
Herring Gull, Yuma, AZ
At the West Wetlands were dozens and dozens of ORANGE-CROWNED WARBLERS, and lesser numbers of others. The big surprise was a late LUCY’S WARBLER, a first for this park. DUSKY FLYCATCHER was another nice find, as was a SHARP-SHINNED HAWK and the first JUNCOS of the year. At least one adult and one immature COOPER’S HAWK were enjoying the multitude of birds–hard to tell if I kept seeing the same birds, or there were five individual birds! Close to the boat launch I found what looked like a RED-BREASTED x RED-NAPED SAPSUCKER–pictures up on the blog site.
Red-breasted x Red-naped Sapsucker, 4 Oct 12, West Wetlands
Al Kalin had a Ferruginous Hawk near the intersection of McNearny and Walker Roads north of Westmorland this afternoon so the winter residents are starting to roll in!!
Red-tailed Hawk is the most common large raptor seen in Imperial Valley in the winter and a very good general rule is that every large raptor you see IS a Red-tailed until proven otherwise! Ferruginous Hawk is the largest member of the Buteo family in North America and larger than a Red-tailed but size is very deceiving with lone birds. Compared to the typical Red-tailed Hawks we see here, they tend to be paler and they have dark feathers all the way down their legs. Seen in flight from below they show a pale belly with a dark V formed by the legs. When they tip and you see their top sides the tail is pale with a light rusty wash.
The following pictures were taken by Henry Detwiler during the Salton Sea International Bird Festival in 2004. Many more pictures from that day can be seen on our main website at the following link.