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

May 2020
« Sep    
Birding with Brits
Filed under: California
Posted by: Bob @ 3:00 pm

Hi all,

Enjoyed the weeklong festivities of Cattle Call in Brawley by attending the Chili Cook-off, Cowboy Poetry Night, Mariachi Festival and the Brawley Union High School (Class of 74!) Sophmore Class BBQ fundraiser….and had a greattime! After 15 years of fun at it, I have not worked the stripping chutes at the rodeo for several years now…was taking longer to recover each year!

So this year I headed out on rodeo Sunday for a fine day of birding, exploring and sharing our backyard with visiting Brits. Peter, who lives here in the states and is an honorary member of the Lucky Ladies Nature Club (by marriage), had his sister Trish and her husband John visiting from England.

My eBird list for the day is at the bottom of this page.

We met up in Westomorland and headed straight out to Unit One of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR (SBSSNWR) on a perfect weather day.

Long-billed Dowitchers. Fish Creek Mountains to the west.

Mount Signal, (El Cerro Centinela, Wi’Shspa) on the Mexican border 32 miles due south.

Burrowing Owl

There were lots of shorebirds, gulls and pelicans along the shore of the Salton Sea as we headed north.

Herring Gull (Adult)

Herring Gull (Immature)

Four birds, four species! From left: Long-billed Dowithcer, Western Sandpiper, Semipalmated Plover and Least Sandpiper.

At the Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Managed Marsh on Hwy 111 at Hazard Road south of Niland we had plenty of the expected freshwater marsh birds and our second pair of White-tailed Kites for the day.

Eared Grebe (winter plumage)

Pied-billed Grebe (winter plumage)

After lunch at United Food Center in Niland, we headed off the beaten path to the Morton Bay Mudpots near Mullet Island. I keep emphasizing in my maps and posts that you should not get your vehicle off of the proven path of those who have gone before you. The vehicle buried to the axles (pictured below and still there over a week later) is the perfect example of an unproven path!

Maps and video of the mudpots may be viewed at the following links.



Stay on the proven track with your vehicle or…..buried to the axles!

Morton Bay Mudpots

How many creatures did you see coming out of the goop!?

Trish, Peter and John.

The foundations of the fish cannery and Captain Davis’ Hells Kitchen are still standing on Mullet Island. I have seen postcard pictures of these same mudpots, taken from this same viewpoint in the 1920’s and the buildings were still there and operating at that time!

Mullet Island

Red-winged Blackbirds.

Red-tailed Hawk having dinner.

Turkey Vulture hoping for leftovers.

See ya at the sea…………..

Imperial Valley–general area, Imperial, US-CA
Nov 11, 2012 6:00 AM - 4:00 PM
Protocol: Traveling
86.0 mile(s)
Comments:     With Pete, Trish and John. Met in Westmorland at 6am. Visited Unit One of the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge(SBSSNWR), Walker Road to Lack Road, across Obsidian Butte to SBSSNWR visitor center. United Food Center in Niland for lunch. Imperial Irrigation District (IID) Managed Marsh at Hwy 111 and Hazard. Pound Road to Davis to see the old Dry Ice plant and the mudpot gryphons at Davis and Schrimpf. Out to the Morton Bay mudpots. Sinclair to Brant into Calipatria, Ramer Lake then Mexican food for dinner at Christine’s in Brawley and back to Westmorland.
76 species

Snow Goose  2000
Ross’s Goose  3000
Cackling Goose  1     In flight with Ross’s geese at Unit One
Mallard  100
Northern Pintail  75
Green-winged Teal  100
Ruddy Duck  100
Gambel’s Quail  35
Pied-billed Grebe  40
Eared Grebe  100
Western Grebe  45
Clark’s Grebe  2     Morton Bay off of Garst Road
Double-crested Cormorant  100
American White Pelican  50
Brown Pelican  25
American Bittern  1     From view tower at Unit One SBSSNWR
Least Bittern  2     (1) calleing from view tower at Unito One SBSSNWR, (1) calling IID Mahaged Marsh at Hwy 111 and Hazard Road
Great Blue Heron  50
Great Egret  150     Most is several large flocks in fields that were apparent new arrivals
Snowy Egret  50
Cattle Egret  200
Black-crowned Night-Heron  3
White-faced Ibis  75
Turkey Vulture  5
Osprey  1     Seawall on Lack Road
White-tailed Kite  4     (2) at Unito One of SBSSNWR, (2) at IID Managed Marsh Hwy 111 and Hazard Road
Northern Harrier  15
Cooper’s Hawk  4
Red-tailed Hawk  20
Ferruginous Hawk  1     Walker Road west of Lack Road
Clapper Rail  2
Virginia Rail  4
Sora  1
American Coot  150
Sandhill Crane  100     Unit One of SBSSNWR
Black-bellied Plover  6
Semipalmated Plover  3     Seawall at Lack and Lindsey
Killdeer  20
Black-necked Stilt  20
American Avocet  5
Greater Yellowlegs  8
Lesser Yellowlegs  1
Marbled Godwit  15
Western Sandpiper  20
Least Sandpiper  50
Long-billed Dowitcher  500
Ring-billed Gull  500
Western Gull  1     Hatch year on seawall on Lack Road
Herring Gull  50
Caspian Tern  6
Rock Pigeon  100
Eurasian Collared-Dove  100
Mourning Dove  50
Common Ground-Dove  10
Greater Roadrunner  1
Barn Owl  1
Burrowing Owl  15
Belted Kingfisher  2
American Kestrel  40
Black Phoebe  15
Say’s Phoebe  3
Loggerhead Shrike  2
Tree Swallow  20
Marsh Wren  2
Ruby-crowned Kinglet  1
Common Yellowthroat  2
Yellow-rumped Warbler  200
Abert’s Towhee  12     Numerous on drive into Ramer Lake from Hwy 111
Vesper Sparrow  1
Savannah Sparrow  50
White-crowned Sparrow  100
Dark-eyed Junco  1
Red-winged Blackbird  5000
Western Meadowlark  25
Great-tailed Grackle  45
House Finch  10

View this checklist online at

This report was generated automatically by eBird v3 (

Comments are closed.