Southwest Birders
Read about our adventures and thoughts on birding in Arizona, California, and other locales. Check back weekly for updates!

October 2012
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Oct 1 in the Imperial Valley
Filed under: California
Posted by: Henry @ 9:07 pm

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

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