John Yerger and I headed out to the Imperial Valley early on the first day of October, and made our first stop along Keystone Road south of the Carey Road grain silos at 7:30 a.m. A couple of SANDHILL CRANES had already arrived, munching on the grain, and in one of the fallow fields a PEREGRINE FALCON was eating a dove for breakfast.
At Cattle Call Park we met up with the usual suspects: joggers, dogs, VERDIN, GILA WOODPECKER, and ABERT’S TOWHEE.
Finney Lake came through with several LESSER NIGHTHAWKS, both CLARK’S and WESTERN GREBES, and a PACIFIC-SLOPE FLYCATCHER. Before we headed out, John whistled in a WARBLING VIREO, YELLOW & BLACK-THROATED GRAY WARBLERS, and some gnatcatchers. Ramer Lake had the usual hordes of cormorants, BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERONS, and a couple of GREEN HERONS.
At the end of Bowles Road were the continuing STILT SANDPIPERS, WILSON’S & RED-NECKED PHALAROPES, AMERICAN AVOCETS, and SNOWY PLOVERS. Birding our way north along the levee road we added a variety of gull species, including LAUGHING, BONAPARTE’S, HERRING, CALIFORNIA, and YELLOW-FOOTED.
Yellow-footed Gull with Corvina, 1 Oct 2012
A BLACK SKIMMER was good to see at the corner of Lack & Lindsey Roads, and a fly-by BLACK TERN was the only one of the day. Two DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANTS looked quite out of place in their breeding finery.
Double-crested Cormorant, Salton Sea, 1 Oct 2012
Lunch was once again at the headquarters, in the company of the “palm tree” BARN OWL, COMMON GROUND-DOVES, and lots of GAMBEL’S QUAIL.
We drove out to the “new” bubbling mud pots at the end of the Alamo River Levee. It was a new sight for John, and just as fascinating for me. Along McDonald Road we got a WHITE-TAILED KITE. Niland was pretty much a “bust”, especially when we came upon what appeared to be a meth raid!
At Unit 1 were 32 newly-arrived SANDHILL CRANES, lots of teal of three species, calling CLAPPER RAILS, a lingering BLUE GROSBEAK, and large swallow flocks that included a VIOLET-GREEN and a CLIFF SWALLOW.
We ended the hot (108 degrees) day with a sunset at Poe Road, which didn’t disappoint. The adult WESTERN GULL from two weekends ago was still there, and a FORSTER’S TERN and DUNLIN were new additions for the day, bringing our total to 122. After a fine dinner at the Imperial Valley Mall, we spotted a couple of BURROWING OWLS patroling the parking lot–birding in the Imperial Valley never stops!
Brown Pelicans, Laughing Gulls, & others 1 Oct 2012