Wednesday, January 8, 2014

A Diversion to the Salton Sea: Our Annual Visit

Usually, Gary and I take a trip out to the Salton Sea sometime when the year is still new and fresh. The air is not exactly fresh at the Sea, but the birds are pretty wonderful. This year was no exception.

Snow Geese in flight, Vendel Road. There were some Ross' Geese here and there in amongst the bigger Snows.

We only saw one Burrowing Owl this year, this one along Lack Road. Interesting to see its burrow (at lower right).

We encountered this scene along Vendel Road. This was the Wildlife Refuge, and clearly marked, so it's unfortunate that there was a need to post a sign saying "Don't gas the owls"!

I loved this assemblage of Cattle Egrets at Unit One. They definitely like to maintain a certain spacing between themselves! Many Snow Geese in the background.

Sandhill Cranes flying over Vendel Road.

Sandhill Cranes in a field along Vendel Road at last light. A tiny flock of the ubiquitous Snow Geese in the background.

A mass of clouds moved in during the afternoon, creating some moody lighting on these Snow Geese along Vendel Road.

Definitely one of the "usual suspects" anywhere in SoCal at this time of year - a White-crowned Sparrow.

This was one of many White-faced Ibis seen. In the non-breeding season, they lose the whitish facial markings near the base of the bill. This was shot with my Canon Rebel THROUGH the old spotting scope, handheld, as an impromptu experiment. Then  I Photoshopped the heck out it to get the painterly feel!


  1. Wonderful places to visit. I'm jealous. Next time you want to look for Burrowing Owls, try Imperial Valley College. I was there in 1998 and there were several families in drain pipes and abandoned Ground Squirrel Holes. And not away from people as is usually published, but in the midst of humans (Students) despite what the conventional science insists. In fact it was humorous to watch these feisty little guys attack the backs of students necks if they wandered too close to the burrow.,

    1. Funny! The owls seem amazingly tolerant of living in disturbed places. Their homes near the Salton Sea are usually in narrow strips along ditches between the roads and agricultural fields.

    2. I'm actually writing a piece on the little owls. I'm referencing your post here at the bottom for more interesting stories on the little cute guys.