Saturday, March 13, 2010

Birding at the Salton Sea

A few weeks ago Bill and I went on a much-welcomed trip to Borrego Springs. Our main reason for going was to take an all-day tour of the Salton Sea sponsored by the Anza-Borrego Desert Natural History Association. We drove down on a Friday, just catching the Borrego Farmer's Market before it closed at noon. We also stopped by a citrus ranch for grapefruit and lemons, and had a nice dinner at the Krazy Coyote.

The tour left from Borrego at 7:30 am on Saturday. The principal tour guide was Kurt Leuschner, birder extraodinaire. That's him in the center of the picture above, surrounded by serious birders. Kurt had a scope which enabled us to see the birds from afar. Our sightings included sandhill cranes, white-faced ibis, northern shovelers (ducks), great egrets, Chilean flamingos (we kid you not!)--the list goes on! The top picture on this post, taken by Bill at Rock Hill, is a giant flock of snow geese down from Canada.

This little guy is a burrowing owl. He stood right in front of his burrow and let us look him over. We were told they don't dig their own burrows, but rather use burrows left by other animals. Bill took this shot at Red Hill Marina.

Even though it was the weekend of the Salton Sea International Bird Festival, the only place we saw other birders was at this visitor center. The Salton Sea is a big place, after all!

Next week: the Geothermal Plant!