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 Feb, 2013 - 9 e-mail(s)...
 Apr, 2006 - 9 e-mail(s)...
 Nov, 2015 - 9 e-mail(s)...


  1. RIV notes 16-20 Oct LINK
    DATE: Oct 21, 2017 @ 6:45pm, 3 day(s) ago
    In Riverside County this week:
    
    Cactus City, Oct 16.
    male Varied Thrush, juvenile Swamp Sparrow, continuing (or new) Hermit Thrush and "Sooty" Fox Sparrow.
    
    NESS, Oct 16.
    North Shore - "Sooty" Fox Sparrow, "Pink-sided" Dark-eyed Junco both sparse in the Salton Sink.
    
    Lake Perris, Oct 18. 
    Brown Pelicans, at least 6, continue at Lake Perris with 10,000 () American Coots and many hundred big grebes and Ruddy Ducks.  Clark's Grebes were the most conspicuously familial of the grebes with displays and races and dependent young.  
    
    Several (formerly) Sage  Sparrows near and on the dam, accessed from Sail Cove, are considered Bell's and not Sagebrush Sparrows; a good spot should study of that  be desired.
    
    NESS, Oct 20 with Bob McKernan.
    Glassy sea, no wind, pleasant temps. Highlight of a birdy day were an adult Lesser Black-backed Gull, Western Gull approx. 15,  Black-throated Gray Warbler, Prairie Falcon.
    
    SJWA, Oct 20.
    76 species in a good last effort before the waterfowl season, included 500+ gulls of four species (Bonaparte's Gull (3) being the addition to the usual three species). Certainly the Herring Gulls were 100+ with the first conspicuous lot of juveniles I've seen this season. Also: Black-bellied Plovers 23, (high for these parts), Merlin 2, Peregrine Falcon (in falcon heaven with the hundreds of ducks reeling over the wetlands, including a pair of Wood Ducks), White-tailed Kite, lots of Northern Harriers, Vermilion Flycatcher, Mountain Bluebird, American Bittern, Yellow-headed Blackbirds, lot of Tricolored Blackbirds at the Bridge St. dairy.
    
    Chet
  2. -back to top-
  3. Common Tern, Brown Pelicans, Lake Elsinore 10/6/2017 LINK
    DATE: Oct 6, 2017 @ 6:37pm, 18 day(s) ago
    Today, Friday 10/6/2017, Charity Hagen, Jim & Cathy Wisel, Greg Cross and I birded at the Lake Elsinore levee,back basin and Elm Grove Beach along Lakeshore Drive. Mid afternoon, Charity and I found a youngCOMMON TERNat Elm Grove Beach, along with 2 adult Herring Gulls and 1 adult Western Gull, at this location. At the levee area, 3BROWN PELICANScontinue, as well as several migrating warblers (Yellow, Black-throated Gray, Townsend's). Duck numbers are increasing, a few Northern Pintail, Northern Shovelers, Ruddy Ducks, Greeen-winged Teals,Ring-necked and Redheads. A few shorebirds, Avocets, Black-necked Stilts, Wilson's Snipe (1), Greater Yellowlegs. A great day at the lake, 79 species.
    
    Elm Grove Beach is on the southeast side of Lake Elsinore, near the intersection of Lakeshore Drive and South Lindsay Street.
    
    Good birding!
    
    Julie Szabo
    Wildomar
    Finally back in town after 4 months....
  4. -back to top-
  5. Glen Helen, SBVAS birdwalk LINK
    DATE: Oct 1, 2017 @ 1:40pm, 23 day(s) ago
    About 16 participants spent part of the morning at Glen Helen Regional Park. Lots of birds to be seen, with about 45 species during the walk and another 5 or so tacked on by a few diehards that stayed until noon.Many typical warblers around, including over a dozen Black-throated Gray. A female Vermilion Flycatcher and three skittish Wood Ducks were appreciated by all. White-breasted Nuthatch and Mountain Chickadees joined the warbler flocks. Thank you to all the more experienced participants who helped out the beginning birders! Dave Goodward
  6. -back to top-
  7. NESS September 20-27 LINK
    DATE: Sep 29, 2017 @ 4:31am, 26 day(s) ago
    Some interesting seasonal birds in four trips to NESS with Bob McKernan and Mark Chappell in the last week:
    
    One-three Sabine's Gulls, continue, since Sept 13,  at the North Shore marina. One juvenile has been consistently seen feeding in the marina.
    
    Eleven species of ducks seen during the week included Lesser Scaup, Ring-necked Duck, Blue-winged Teal, and Wood Duck. A flock of -25 Greater White-fronted Geese was seen over the sea.
    
    Common Loon - basic plumage, near shore, SRA.
    
    Bald Eagle - juvenile,  seen from SRA high and far away over the sea.
    
    Merlin, low and fast over the sea, seen from North Shore.
    
    Parasitic Jaeger in  falcon mode attacking Caspian Tern (with fish) high over Salt Creek  (still closed, not a bad walk in the cool weather, but the creek is dry).
    
    Yellow-footed Gulls easiest seen at 84th Avenue.
    
    Sagebrush Sparrows ~ 6, at Salt Creek.
    
    Western Wood-Pewee SRA, oriantha and Gambel's White-crowned Sparrows, Yellow-rumped Warbler, Yellows, Wilson's, Orange-crowned Warblers, Black-throated Gray Warbler.
    
    Barn Swallows 4000-5000 southbound with most of those over North Shore at dawn. Impressive.
    
    Chet
  8. -back to top-
  9. Black-bellied Whistling-Ducks in Blythe LINK
    DATE: Sep 12, 2017 @ 7:19pm, 42 day(s) ago
    For what it's worth, two Black-bellied Whistling Ducks were seen briefly and photographed this morning (Sep 12) in Blythe. More details are available in the eBird checklist: http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S39152360 .
    
    Tom Benson
    San Bernardino, CA
  10. -back to top-
  11. San Jacinto WLA LINK
    DATE: Sep 4, 2017 @ 5:35pm, 50 day(s) ago
    Today I visited SJWLA for the first time in quite awhile, starting at 6:45 am for the 70 degree temps. In the Walker Ponds there was some good shorebird habitat, and there were lots of Am Avocets, BN Stilts, several LB Dowitchers, a few Killdeer, and numerous WF Ibis. There was one Brown Pelican swimming among these birds, plus about 8 Snowy Egrets that flew in while I watched. eBird says Brown Pelican is rare, so thought I should mention it.
    
    In the rest of the WLA, had 1 Belted Kingfisher, several Green Herons, Soras were calling all around me--not sure of the number, conservatively 6. Only ducks were 3 likely female Mallards seen from a distance. Plenty of coots, a few Pied-billed Grebes. Saw one No Harrier and one Red-shouldered Hawk, 3 RT Hawks.
    
    I did not walk back to the farthest ponds, so I may have missed ducks there. Nice to have a day out, under 100 degrees!
    Judith Sparhawk
    Redlands, CA
  12. -back to top-
  13. Baker/Desert Studies Center Area LINK
    DATE: Sep 2, 2017 @ 2:11pm, 52 day(s) ago
    I visited the Baker/Zzyzx area this morning.Overall there was a decent variety of migrants around.I started out at the Desert Studies Center which was fairly birdy, and while no rarities were found, there was apleasing variety of birds.
    The sewer pond was popping with avian activity, and I should have stayed longer than 50 minutes, but the desert was warming up fast this morning.Notable birds included a bright VIRGINIA'S WARBLERand a Short-billed Dowitcher which was ID'd by call as it flew about.There was quite a bit of waterfowl on the pond, including Northern Pintail, Redheads, Green and Cinnamon Teal and quite a few more brown ducks that I didn't spend much time with.
    
    Chet Huffman Park was in good form as many birds were romping about on the lawn. Birds of note included an AMERICAN REDSTART,a very cinnamon Blue Grosbeak and an early White-crowned Sparrow.
    
    All in all . . . a great day.
    
    Bill Deppe Apple Valley
    Dessert Studies Center http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38954169
    Sewer Pond
    
     http://ebird.org/ebird/view/checklist/S38955965
    Chet Huffman http://ebird.org/ebird/edit/checklistsubID=S38959442
  14. -back to top-
  15. Salton Sea (south) - 23 Aug 2017 LINK
    DATE: Aug 24, 2017 @ 9:20am, 61 day(s) ago
    I spent most of Wednesday,
    23 August 2017 (6:30 AM to 5:00 PM) birding a few select locations within the
    Imperial Valley and along the south shore of the Salton Sea. I started the day
    at the IID Wetlands near Niland, then moved northward into Niland. In Niland I
    birded northward along International Avenue, west along 4 th Street,
    then south along Luna Avenue. I then drove northwestward by way of Alcott and
    English Roads, and Highway 111, to the Wister Unit HQ. I then drove southward on
    Davis and Schrimpf Roads to Morton Bay and the north end of Garst Road. From
    there I drove south on Garst and west on Sinclair Roads to the Salton Sea
    National Wildlife Refuge HQ. After spending time around the refuge HQ buildings
    and Rock Hill, I checked for water birds along the shore of the Salton Sea
    between the west end of Sinclair Road and Obsidian Butte, and from Obsidian
    Butte to the west end of Young Road, then Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National
    Wildlife Refuge and the north end of Poe Road. I then drove eastward to
    Calipatria and south to Ramer Lake. I looked briefly at Ramer Lake, then
    continued south into Brawley. In Brawley, I looked at Riverview Cemetery, the
    hummingbird feeders on Willard Avenue and at Cattle Call Park. I then continued
    south by way of Webster and Carter Roads to the intersection of Carter and Fites
    Roads. From here I drove southeastward to the southeastern corner of El Centro.
    Then, on my way west to San Diego, I stopped briefly at Lakeview Golfcourse and
    Fig Lagoon.
      It was mostly clear, but with a few
    scattered clouds with some light wind at times, and with temperatures ranging
    from 80 to 110 degrees. Numbers of “dabbling ducks”
    are increasing as birds from the north move southward into this area.
    Gull-billed Terns have basically departed, and at least half the Black Skimmers
    have also gone.                
    Species
    seen and/or heard – Blue-winged Teal (20 – at least twenty “female-plumage”
    birds identified amongst the closer groups of Cinnamon Teal and by themselves in
    irrigated fields), Cinnamon Teal (150 – some probably undetected Blue-winged
    Teal), Northern Shoveler (250), Mallard (20), Northern Pintail (30),
    Green-winged Teal (50), Redhead (1), Ruddy Duck (150), Gambel’s Quail (25),
    Pied-billed Grebe (6), Eared Grebe (50), Western Grebe (50), Clark’s Grebe (5),
    Aechmophorus sp. (10), Rock Pigeon
    (150), Eurasian Collared-Dove (250), Inca Dove (20), Common Ground-Dove (40),
    White-winged Dove (50), Mourning
    Dove (200), Greater Roadrunner (3), Lesser Nighthawk (3), Black-chinned
    Hummingbird (10), Anna’s Hummingbird (10), Costa’s Hummingbird (3), Rufous
    Hummingbird (1 – one young female at feeders near the southeast corner of El
    Centro), Ridgway’s Rail (3), Sora (5), Common Gallinule (5), American Coot
    (150), Black-necked Stilt (150), American Avocet (250), Black-bellied Plover
    (75), Snowy Plover (15), Semipalmated Plover (15), Killdeer (35), Long-billed
    Curlew (2), Marbled Godwit (100), Stilt Sandpiper (15), Baird’s Sandpiper (3 – three juveniles
    together at the north end of Poe Road are the first that I have encountered
    locally this fall), Least Sandpiper (150), Western Sandpiper (3500), Long-billed
    Dowitcher (100), Spotted Sandpiper (2), Greater Yellowlegs (35), Willet (25),
    Lesser Yellowlegs (10), Wilson’s Phalarope (10), Red-necked Phalarope (1 – a
    single juvenile at Fig Lagoon was all that I was able to find), Laughing Gull
    (15), Ring-billed Gull (500), Western Gull (3 – three adults close together near
    the intersection of Lack and Lindsey Roads), Yellow-footed Gull (40 – all
    adults), California Gull (100), Gull-billed Tern (2 – two adults in basic-plumage at
    Unit 1 of the Salton Sea national Wildlife Refuge were probably the last of the
    birds present this summer), Caspian Tern (25), Black Tern (500), Forster’s Tern
    (35), Black Skimmer (150 – all at Rock Hill), Neotropic Cormorant (22 – all at Ramer Lake and including
    full-grown young), Double-crested Cormorant (500), American White Pelican (350),
    Brown Pelican (500), Least Bittern (10), Great Blue Heron (25), Great Egret
    (150), Snowy Egret (250), Cattle Egret (2500), Green Heron (5), Black-crowned
    Night-Heron (5), White-faced Ibis (2500), Turkey Vulture (25), Osprey (2),
    Cooper’s Hawk (3), Red-tailed Hawk (1 – one adult in Brawley), Great Horned Owl
    (2 – two at the Wister Unit HQ), Burrowing Owl (15), Gila Woodpecker (1),
    Ladder-backed Woodpecker (3), American Kestrel (20), Peregrine Falcon (2),
    Willow Flycatcher (1), Black Phoebe (15), Say’s Phoebe (1 – one at Unit 1 of the
    Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Vermilion Flycatcher (2 – two females at
    Riverview Cemetery in Brawley), Ash-throated Flycatcher (1), Western Kingbird (15), Loggerhead Shrike (10), Common
    Raven (2), Tree Swallow (15), Rough-winged Swallow (2), Bank Swallow (1 – one with Tree
    Swallows at the intersection of Garst Road and the Alamo River), Cliff Swallow
    (50), Barn Swallow (10 – five at the intersection of Carter and Fites Roads
    southwest of Brawley were no doubt birds that bred locally, but five at Fig
    Lagoon were likely early fall arrivals), Verdin (10), Marsh Wren (5),
    Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (3), Northern Mockingbird (25), European Starling
    (250), House Sparrow (50), House Finch (40), Abert’s Towhee (15), Song Sparrow
    (10), Yellow-headed Blackbird (2), Western Meadowlark (10), Bullock’s Oriole (1), Red-winged Blackbird (1000),
    Brown-headed Cowbird (50), Brewer’s Blackbird (15), Great-tailed Grackle (150),
    Orange-crowned Warbler (3), Nashville Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (5),
    Yellow Warbler (10), Wilson’s Warbler (2), Western Tanager (5), Black-headed
    Grosbeak (2), Blue Grosbeak (1) and Lazuli Bunting (10) - 117 species.
    
    Guy
    McCaskie
  16. -back to top-
  17. Re: [inlandcountybirds] Eurasian Green-winged Teal at SJWA, June 18 LINK
    DATE: Jun 18, 2017 @ 9:32pm, 4 month(s) ago
    What appears to be a male Common (Eurasian) Green-winged Teal was observed this afternoon, June 18, at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area. The location is in the north east corner of the Walker Ponds corresponding to W9 and W10 on the hunting blind map (available at the SJWA Kiosk on Davis Road).  The bird spent much of the time hidden with an island of reeds, and unlike the other ducks present this individual was pretty active when out of the reeds.  My pictures aren’t terrific given sun angle, harsh light and distance but through the scope diagnostic field marks were clearly observed. This includes the more obvious long white horizontal scapular bar, and the stronger white-creamy facial markings that were apparent from the base of the bill. Through the scope we could see no trace of a vertical white bar associated with American Green-winged Teal and intergrades.  However, the individual appeared to be beginning to molt into eclipse plumage and so more diagnostic features may be muted. Curtis Marantz was the other observer and also took photographs, perhaps closer and in better light.  Also present in and out of the reeds were two Wilson’s Phalarope  (1 female in alternate plumage and what appeared to be a male (photos available), a single alternate plumage Greater Yellowlegs, and an alternate plumage Long-billed Dowitcher (photos available). Of interest on adjacent Mystic Lake were four Clark’s Grebes and a carefully estimated 125 Eared Grebe nests.  My Flickr album:  https://www.flickr.com/photos/ aem123/albums/ 72157682257833724
    Tony Metcalf 
    On Sun, Jun 18, 2017 at 5:14 PM, Tom Benson Thomasabenson@... [inlandcountybirds] < inlandcountybirds-noreply@yahoogroups.com > wrote:
    
      Tony Metcalf called to report a Eurasian Green-winged Teal at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area this afternoon, June 18. The bird is in the Walker Ponds part of the wildlife area, in ponds W9-10 (those might actually be hunting blind numbers). This sighting is quite unusual in that there are few inland records of this subspecies for southern, and this is also probably one of very few June records for the state. I'm sure Tony will follow up with a link to his photos.
    
    Tom Benson
    San Bernardino, CA
    
    --
    Anthony Metcalf
    Department of Biology
    California State University, San Bernardino
    5500 University Parkway
    San Bernardino, CA   92407
    (909) 537-7501
    FAX: (909) 537-7038
  18. -back to top-
  19. Common (Eurasian) Green-winged Teal at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area, 18 June 2017 LINK
    DATE: Jun 18, 2017 @ 9:27pm, 4 month(s) ago
    What appears to be a male Common (Eurasian) Green-winged
    Teal was observed this afternoon, June 18, at the San Jacinto Wildlife Area.
    The location is in the north east corner of the Walker Ponds corresponding to
    W9 and W10 on the hunting blind map (available at the SJWA Kiosk on Davis Road).  The bird spent much of the time hidden with
    an island of reeds, and unlike the other ducks present this individual was
    pretty active when out of the reeds.  My
    pictures aren’t terrific given sun angle, harsh light and distance but through
    the scope diagnostic field marks were clearly observed. This includes the more
    obvious long white horizontal scapular bar, and the stronger white-creamy
    facial markings that were apparent from the base of the bill. Through the scope
    we could see no trace of a vertical white bar associated with American
    Green-winged Teal and intergrades. 
    However, the individual appeared to be beginning to molt into eclipse
    plumage and so more diagnostic features may be muted. Curtis Marantz was the
    other observer and also took photographs, perhaps closer and in better light. Also present in and out of the reeds were two Wilson’s
    Phalarope  (1 female in alternate plumage
    and what appeared to be a male (photos available), a single alternate plumage
    Greater Yellowlegs, and an alternate plumage Long-billed Dowitcher (photos
    available). Of interest on adjacent Mystic Lake were four Clark’s Grebes
    and a carefully estimated 125 Eared Grebe nests. My Flickr album: https://www.flickr.com/photos/aem123/albums/72157682257833724    
    
    --
    Anthony Metcalf
    Department of Biology
    California State University, San Bernardino
    5500 University Parkway
    San Bernardino, CA   92407
    (909) 537-7501
    FAX: (909) 537-7038
  20. -back to top-
  21. Hooded Merganser SJWA June 16 LINK
    DATE: Jun 16, 2017 @ 5:34pm, 4 month(s) ago
    With very few summer records for the species in the region I was surprised to find a young male Hooded Merganser at the SJWA this morning.  My evaporation survey was productive; ten species of ducks included Wood Duck, Blue-winged Teal, Green-winged Teal, and Bufflehead.
    
    Chet
  22. -back to top-
  23. RE: [inlandcountybirds] Digest Number 5247 LINK
    DATE: May 26, 2017 @ 7:35pm, 5 month(s) ago
    Hi Davis!
    
    Three or four is not that unusual in late May.  A couple of birders had six YF Gulls at Obsidian Butte a couple of days ago, according to eBird.
    
    Good birding! Ed
    
    Ed Stonick Pasadena, CA
    
    Sent from Mail for Windows 10
    
    From: inlandcountybirds@yahoogroups.com
    Sent: Friday, May 26, 2017 6:14 PM
    To: inlandcountybirds@yahoogroups.com
    Subject: [inlandcountybirds] Digest Number 5247
     InlandCountyBirds Group
    1 Message Digest #5247
    
    1 Salton Sea and yellow legs, a cautionary tale by "Davis Hawkowl" davishawkowl@...
    
    Message 1 Salton Sea and yellow legs, a cautionary tale
    Thu May25,2017 9:33pm (PDT) . Posted by: "Davis Hawkowl" davishawkowl@...
    
    This intrepid Massachusetts birder recently spent a lovely
    vacation at Joshua Tree with accommodating wife in tow.
    Hoping to score a few coastal birds we spent the last
    two days on the coast. This provided a great excuse to
    circle around the east side of the Salton Sea on May
    4th looking for gulls of the yellow-footed persuasion.
    Watching the weather, we realized this would be the
    hottest day of our trip so at 4am we hit the road hoping to
    catch the cool of first light and banking on early success.
    
    
    
    Sure enough we neared our destination at dawn scoring
    lesser nighthawk at a rest stop. Dawn along
    Schrimpf Road was magical with a coy least bittern being the
    highlight. One minute it was perched at the reed edge
    catching the first rays and then it vanished without any sign of
    movement.
    
    
    
    The tern show at the cove at the junction with Garst was
    spectacular, but we didn’t linger long because we had a
    gull to find. No luck at Red Hill Marina.
    By the time we made it to the visitor center (closed
    some days because of budget cuts) the sun was out in
    force. No luck seeing the barn owl so I shouldered
    my scope and we marched out to Rock Hill. Great looks
    at three Franklin Gulls, Burrowing Owl and nesting
    Gull-billed Terns, but no yellow-legged gulls. By the
    time we got back it was getting hot.
    
    
    
    Pulling out of the refuge driveway there was a collection
    of ibis, egrets, ducks, and gulls. We do a
    quick pull over and I scan. The smaller gulls I
    skipped right over but three larger gulls stood out. Two had
    bright yellow legs and one was more dingy
    yellow. Bill, check. Mantle, check. Clean white
    head, check. Yellow bill with red spot (no black),
    check. Yellow gape, check. Interacting primarily with
    each other, check. Yellow-eye Hmm, pale whitish eye,
    not distinctly yellow. I grab the scope and move
    in for a closer look while wife is back in the car with the
    A/C running. Still not able to get a clearly yellow
    eye and the orbital ring was more orange than the yellow
    I’d expect from Sibley’s pictures.
    Sibley also warns that some Western Gulls can have
    yellow legs in breeding plumage. Worried about burning
    out my wife forever on birdwatching, I get back into the car move
    on to other birds.
    
    
    
    Half a mile down the road she made a point that we were not
    coming back here so why not turn around and get a look with a
    better lighting angle. Bang a u-turn and back we
    go. The birds are still there. This time we park
    to the north of them. Still can’t get a good yellow eye
    and that orbital ring is decidedly orangish, not
    yellow. I stand in the hot sun with my Sibley’s book
    looking for clues. His app on my phone gives me
    another angle to try; voice. Fortunately one of the
    targets takes this moment to vocalize. Definitely not
    the gruffness of the yellow-footed in the app but not so
    squeaky as the Western. I head for the cool of the
    car. The birds fly off in an easterly direction.
    I decide I can’t call any of the three a
    yellow-footed for sure. Sibley says that Western
    Gulls are rare at the Salton Sea and the yellow-legged
    version even rarer. But adult yellow-footed
    gulls are also rare in early May and no one is reporting
    more than one or two at a time on ebird. My lack
    of familiarity with west-coast gulls is a
    hurdle. What was I looking at…
    
    
    
    My wife is willing to search a little longer so we cut over
    on Lindsey to Lack Road and head north next to the geothermal
    plants. Looking out from the seawall is a moonscape
    with dead shrub stems poking up. The only two birds
    are two gulls, the first being a classic Western Gull
    with pink legs picking at a dead fish. Just out of my
    scope’s field of view on the right is another gull
    watching. Brighter and cleaner white head, slightly
    longer neck, yellow bill with red gonydeal spot and no black,
    slightly lighter mantle (at that lighting angle at least),
    and most importantly bright yellow legs. Because of
    the distance, the direction they were facing and the sun
    the eye color was not able to be discerned. Nor
    did they call. But with the two birds literally
    side-by-side, the differences that were described in my
    book stood out. Five minutes of study and I called it a day and
    retreated to the shade of the car. By 5pm we
    were in the marine fog layer enjoying the cool mist.
    
    
    
    The Salton Sea was all that was promised, fabulous birds,
    desolate landscapes, hot sun and that indescribable smell.
    About those first three gulls Well, I am leaning
    back towards Yellow-footed after looking at a number of internet
    pictures of Yellow-footed having what I would call orangish
    orbital rings and little info about Westerns having yellow
    legs. Four adult Yellow-footed gulls in one day
    Anything is possible.
    
    
    
    Davis Hawkowl
    
    Amherst, MA
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  24. -back to top-
  25. Salton Sea and yellow legs, a cautionary tale LINK
    DATE: May 25, 2017 @ 8:13pm, 5 month(s) ago
    This intrepid Massachusetts birder recently
    spent a lovely
    vacation at Joshua Tree with accommodating wife in tow.   Hoping to score a few coastal
    birds we spent
    the last two days on the coast.   This
    provided a great excuse to circle around the east side of the
    Salton Sea on May
    4th looking for gulls of the yellow-footed persuasion.   Watching the weather, we
    realized this would
    be the hottest day of our trip so at 4am we hit the road hoping to
    catch the
    cool of first light and banking on early success.   Sure enough we neared our destination at dawn
    scoring lesser
    nighthawk at a rest stop.   Dawn
    along
    Schrimpf Road was magical with a coy least bittern being the
    highlight.   One minute it
    was perched at the reed edge
    catching the first rays and then it vanished without any sign of
    movement.  
      The tern show at the cove at the junction with
    Garst was
    spectacular, but we didn’t linger long because we had a gull to
    find.   No luck at Red Hill
    Marina.   By the time we
    made it to the visitor center
    (closed some days because of budget cuts) the sun was out in
    force.   No luck seeing the
    barn owl so I shouldered
    my scope and we marched out to Rock Hill.  
    Great looks at three Franklin Gulls, Burrowing Owl and
    nesting
    Gull-billed Terns, but no yellow-legged gulls.  
    By the time we got back it was getting hot.   Pulling out of the refuge driveway there was a
    collection of
    ibis, egrets, ducks, and gulls.   We
    do a
    quick pull over and I scan.   The
    smaller
    gulls I skipped right over but three larger gulls stood out.   Two had bright yellow legs
    and one was more
    dingy yellow.   Bill, check.
    Mantle,
    check. Clean white head, check.   Yellow
    bill with red spot (no black), check. Yellow gape, check.
    Interacting primarily
    with each other, check.   Yellow-eye   Hmm, pale whitish eye, not
    distinctly yellow.   I grab
    the scope and move in for a closer
    look while wife is back in the car with the A/C running.    Still not able to get a
    clearly yellow eye
    and the orbital ring was more orange than the yellow I’d expect
    from Sibley’s
    pictures.   Sibley also
    warns that some
    Western Gulls can have yellow legs in breeding plumage. Worried
    about burning
    out my wife forever on birdwatching, I get back into the car move
    on to other
    birds.   Half a mile down the road she made a point that
    we were not
    coming back here so why not turn around and get a look with a
    better lighting
    angle.   Bang a u-turn and
    back we go. The
    birds are still there.   This
    time we park
    to the north of them. Still can’t get a good yellow eye and that
    orbital ring
    is decidedly orangish, not yellow. I stand in the hot sun with my
    Sibley’s book
    looking for clues.   His app
    on my phone
    gives me another angle to try; voice.  
    Fortunately one of the targets takes this moment to
    vocalize.   Definitely not
    the gruffness of the
    yellow-footed in the app but not so squeaky as the Western.   I head for the cool of the
    car.   The birds fly off in
    an easterly direction.   I
    decide I can’t call any of the three a
    yellow-footed for sure.   Sibley
    says that
    Western Gulls are rare at the Salton Sea and the yellow-legged
    version even
    rarer.   But adult
    yellow-footed gulls are
    also rare in early May and no one is reporting more than one or
    two at a time
    on ebird.   My lack of
    familiarity with
    west-coast gulls is a hurdle.   What
    was I
    looking at…   My wife is willing to search a little longer so
    we cut over
    on Lindsey to Lack Road and head north next to the geothermal
    plants.   Looking out from
    the seawall is a moonscape with dead shrub stems poking up.  
    The only two birds are two gulls, the first being a classic
    Western Gull
    with pink legs picking at a dead fish.   Just
    out of my scope’s field of view on the right is another gull
    watching.   Brighter and
    cleaner white head, slightly
    longer neck, yellow bill with red gonydeal spot and no black,
    slightly lighter
    mantle (at that lighting angle at least), and most importantly
    bright yellow
    legs. Because of the distance, the direction they were facing and
    the sun the
    eye color was not able to be discerned.  
    Nor did they call.   But
    with the
    two birds literally side-by-side, the differences that were
    described in my
    book stood out. Five minutes of study and I called it a day and
    retreated to
    the shade of the car.    By
    5pm we were in
    the marine fog layer enjoying the cool mist.   The Salton Sea was all that was promised,
    fabulous birds,
    desolate landscapes, hot sun and that indescribable smell.   About those first three
    gulls Well, I am leaning
    back towards Yellow-footed after looking at a number of internet
    pictures of
    Yellow-footed having what I would call orangish orbital rings and
    little info about Westerns having yellow legs.  
    Four adult Yellow-footed gulls in one day   Anything is possible.   Davis Hawkowl Amherst, MA
  26. -back to top-
  27. Salton Sea (south) 12 May 2017 LINK
    DATE: May 13, 2017 @ 9:38am, 5 month(s) ago
    I spent Friday, 12 May 2017
    (5:30 AM to 5:00 PM), birding a few select locations along the south shore of
    the Salton Sea and within the Imperial Valley. I started the day at Fig Lagoon,
    Lakeview Golfcourse and Sunbeam Lake, then drove north into Brawley, stopping
    along the way in the area around the intersection of Carter and Fites Roads. In
    Brawley I looked briefly at the hummingbird feeders on Willard Avenue, then
    spent a little more time in Cattle Call Park. I then drove north to Niland,
    stopping at the IID Wetlands on the way. In Niland I birded quickly northward
    along International Avenue, west along the western part of 4 th
    Street, and southward along Luna Avenue. I then drove westward by way of Alcott,
    Pound and Davis Roads to the southwestern corner of the Wister Unit. From here I
    drove south along Davis Road and west along Schrimpf Road to Morton Bay, then
    south on Garst and west on Sinclair Roads to the Salton Sea National Wildlife
    Refuge HQ. I then spent a little time around the Refuge HQ’s and Rock Hill. I
    then checked for water birds along the shoreline of the Salton Sea between Rock
    Hill to Obsidian Butte, and from Obsidian Butte along the south shore of the
    Salton Sea to Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, spending a
    little time in the area around the intersection of Lack and Lindsey Roads and at
    the west end of Young Road. I then drove southeastward through Westmorland into
    Brawley and south on Dogwood Road to near the southeastern corner of El Centro.
    After spending time near El Centro, I drove west and looked at Sunbeam Lake and
    Fig Lagoon before continuing west to San Diego.
    The sky was clear and there
    was no wind most of the day, with overcast moving in during the latter half of
    the afternoon, and a strong wind from the west at the time I departed, and with
    temperatures ranging from 65 to 95 degrees. Apart from Ruddy Ducks, most
    other ducks had evidently moved out of the area. Shorebirds and gulls were
    decidedly scarce, with no “peeps” found, and very few gulls along the shore of
    the Salton Sea. Migrant land-birds were less numerous than five days ago, with
    wood warbler numbers noticeably less, but with flycatchers more
    noticeable.      Species seen and/or
    heard – Gadwall (2), American Wigeon (1), Mallard (50), Cinnamon Teal (10),
    Northern Shoveler (5), Green-winged Teal (2), Redhead (5), Lesser Scaup (5),
    Bufflehead (1 – one “female” at Rock Hill), Ruddy Duck (1000), Gambel’s Quail
    (10), Pied-billed Grebe (1), Eared Grebe (750 – most on less salty bodies of
    water at Morton Bay, Rock Hill and Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife
    Refuge, with very few on the open water of the Salton Sea), Western Grebe (6),
    Clark’s Grebe (2), Rock Pigeon (50), Eurasian Collared-Dove (200), Inca Dove
    (15), Common Ground-Dove (25), White-winged Dove (35), Mourning Dove (20), Greater Roadrunner
    (3), Lesser Nighthawk (1), White-throated Swift (1 – one over
    Sunbeam Lake in the late afternoon was probably forced down by the overcast sky
    and strong wind),   Black-chinned
    Hummingbird (20), Anna’s Hummingbird (15), Costa’s Hummingbird (2), Rufous
    Hummingbird (1 – one female frequenting feeders near the southeastern corner of
    El Centro), Calliope Hummingbird (3
    – one adult male and two females frequenting feeders near the southeastern
    corner of El Centro), Ridgway’s Rail (2), Virginia Rail (1 – one calling at the
    northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland), Common Gallinule (3),
    American Coot (250), Black-necked Stilt (50), American Avocet (15),
    Black-bellied Plover (1), Snowy Plover (3), Killdeer (15), Stilt Sandpiper (20 –
    about twenty adults in in alternate-plumage between Rock Hill and Obsidian
    Butte), Long-billed Dowitcher (35), Spotted Sandpiper (15), Willet (1), Wilson’s
    Phalarope (3), Red-necked Phalarope (20), Ring-billed Gull (25), Yellow-footed
    Gull (1 – one adult at the west end of Young), California Gull (15 – all
    subadult birds in varying degrees of “ratty-looking” plumage), Least Tern (3 – three adults at Unit 1
    of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Gull-billed Tern (125 – about eighty-five, many on
    nests, at Rock Hill and about fifteen more along the shore of the Salton Sea
    between Rock Hill and the west end of Young Road, and about twenty-five at Unit
    1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Caspian Tern (10), Black Tern
    (20), Forster’s Tern (5), Black Skimmer (40 – about twenty-five at Rock Hill and
    fifteen at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Neotropic
    Cormorant (13 – ten at Fig
    Lagoon/Sunbeam Lake and three together at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National
    Wildlife Refuge), Double-crested Cormorant (30), American White Pelican (35),
    Brown Pelican (25), Least Bittern (1), Great Blue Heron (25), Great Egret (30),
    Snowy Egret (25), Cattle Egret
    (500), Green Heron (2), Black-crowned Night-Heron (2), White-faced Ibis (5),
    Turkey Vulture (10), Northern Harrier (1 – one near the Salton Sea National
    Wildlife Refuge HQ), Swainson’s Hawk
    (1 – one light-morph immature in flight near the southeast corner of El Centro),
    Burrowing Owl (10), Gila Woodpecker (5), Ladder-backed Woodpecker (1), American
    Kestrel (15), Olive-sided Flycatcher
    (1 – one at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland), Western
    Wood-Pewee (20), Willow Flycatcher
    (1 – one near the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands was the first that I have
    encountered this year), Pacific-slope Flycatcher (1), Black Phoebe (10), Say’s
    Phoebe (1 – one at the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ where apparently
    nesting), Vermilion Flycatcher (6 – two pairs, two each with at least one
    recently fledged young at Lakeview Golfcourse), Ash-throated Flycatcher (1),
    Western Kingbird (15), Loggerhead
    Shrike (1 – one along Davis Road was the first that I have seen at the Salton
    Sink since 2 April), Warbling Vireo (15), Common Raven (3), Horned Lark (2),
    Northern Rough-winged Swallow (30), Cliff Swallow (250), Barn Swallow (5),
    Verdin (15), Marsh Wren (15), Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (2), Swainson’s Thrush
    (1), Northern Mockingbird (15), European Starling (150), House Sparrow (50),
    House Finch (35), Orange-crowned Warbler (1), Common Yellowthroat (5), Yellow Warbler (5), Townsend’s Warbler (1), Wilson’s
    Warbler (15), Abert’s Towhee (15), Song Sparrow (10), White-crowned Sparrow (1 – one adult
    black-lored individual of the subspecies oriantha at the Salton Sea National
    Wildlife Refuge HQ), Western Tanager (5), Black-headed Grosbeak (2), Blue
    Grosbeak (1), Lazuli Bunting (3), Red-winged Blackbird (500), Western Meadowlark
    (20), Yellow-headed Blackbird (10), Brewer’s Blackbird (25), Great-tailed
    Grackle (150), Bronzed Cowbird (3 –
    one adult male displaying [“helicopter flight”] to two adult females at the
    southern end of International in Niland), at Sunbeam Lake), Brown-headed Cowbird
    (25) and Bullock’s Oriole (2) - 116
    species.   Guy McCaskie   
  28. -back to top-
  29. Salton Sea (south) - 26 April 2017 LINK
    DATE: Apr 27, 2017 @ 7:48am, 6 month(s) ago
    I spent Wednesday, 26 April
    2017 (5:45 AM to 5:45 PM), birding a few select locations along the south shore
    of the Salton Sea and within the Imperial Valley. I started the day at Fig
    Lagoon, Lakeview Golfcourse and Sunbeam Lake, then drove north to Brawley,
    stopping along the way briefly at Sheldon Reservoir and for a much longer time
    in the area around the intersection of Carter and Fites Roads. In Brawley I
    looked briefly at the hummingbird feeders on Willard Avenue, then spent a little
    time in Cattle Call Park. I then drove north to Niland, stopping at the east end
    of Date Street in Calipatria and at the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands on
    the way. In Niland I birded quickly northward along International Avenue, west
    along 4 th Street, and southward along Luna Avenue. I then drove
    westward by way of Alcott, Pound, Davis and Schrimpf Roads to Morton Bay, then
    south on Garst and west on Sinclair Roads to the Salton Sea National Wildlife
    Refuge HQ. I then checked for water birds around Rock Hill and along the
    shoreline of the Salton Sea from Rock Hill to Obsidian Butte, then from Obsidian
    Butte along the south shore of the Salton Sea to Unit 1 of the Salton Sea
    National Wildlife Refuge, spending a little time in the area around the
    intersection of Lack and Lindsey Roads and at the west end of Young Road. I then
    drove southeastward through Westmorland into Brawley and south on Dogwood Road
    to near the southeastern corner of El Centro. After spending time in El Centro,
    I drove west, and looked at Fig Lagoon before heading west to San
    Diego.
    There was some scattered
    high cloud-cover throughout the day, calm in the morning but with wind in the
    late afternoon, and with temperatures ranging from 55 to 95
    degrees. Ducks, other than Northern
    Shovelers and Ruddy Ducks, are now scarce. I encountered a nice variety of
    shorebirds even though the total number of these birds was low. I also
    encountered a nice variety of migrant passerines. The recent influx of
    California Gulls and Caspian Terns at Rock Hill is of some concern since it
    could impact the success of the Gull-billed Tern nesting.      Species seen and/or
    heard – Gadwall (10), American Wigeon (1), Mallard (15), Cinnamon Teal (20),
    Northern Shoveler (150), Northern Pintail (3), Green-winged Teal (2), Redhead
    (5), Lesser Scaup (5), Ruddy Duck (250), Gambel’s Quail (15), Pied-billed Grebe
    (10), Eared Grebe (150 – virtually all on less salty bodies of water such as
    Morton Bay, and the ponds at Rock Hill and in Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National
    Wildlife Refuge, with very few on the open water of the Salton Sea), Western
    Grebe (5), Clark’s Grebe (5), Rock Pigeon (150), Eurasian Collared-Dove (200),
    Inca Dove (25), Common Ground-Dove (25), White-winged Dove (30), Mourning Dove (75), Greater Roadrunner
    (3), Lesser Nighthawk (1), Vaux’s Swift (1), Black-chinned Hummingbird (20),
    Anna’s Hummingbird (15), Costa’s Hummingbird (3), Calliope Hummingbird (1 – one adult
    male frequenting feeders near the southeastern corner of El Centro was known
    present since 24 April), Rufous Hummingbird (5), Ridgway’s Rail (2), Virginia
    Rail (1 – one calling at the northeastern corner of the IID Wetlands), Common
    Gallinule (2), American Coot (350), Black-necked Stilt (50), American Avocet
    (100), Black-bellied Plover (15), Snowy Plover (2), Semipalmated Plover (25),
    Killdeer (20), Whimbrel (150), Long-billed Curlew (2), Marbled Godwit (5), Red Knot (6 – six in alternate-plumage
    at the northeast corner of Obsidian Butte), Stilt Sandpiper (20 – twenty adults
    in in alternate-plumage at Rock Hill), Sanderling (2 – two in basic-plumage
    along the shore of the Salton Sea in the area of the intersection of Lack and
    Lindsey Roads), Dunlin (5), Least Sandpiper (250 – most in an irrigated field at
    the intersection of Garst and Sinclair Roads), Western Sandpiper (2500 –
    virtually all along the shore of the Salton Sea where there were virtually no
    Least Sandpipers), Short-billed
    Dowitcher (5 – five in alternate-plumage, showing much white on their
    bellies, at Rock Hill), Long-billed Dowitcher (150), Spotted Sandpiper (3),
    Greater Yellowlegs (20), Willet (25), Lesser Yellowlegs (3), Red-necked
    Phalarope (350), Franklin’s Gull (2
    – one adult in alternate-plumage with Ring-billed Gulls at the east end of Date
    Street in Calipatria and one adult in alternate-plumage with Ring-billed Gulls
    in an irrigated field at the intersection of Garst and Sinclair Roads),
    Ring-billed Gull (1000), California Gull (40), Herring Gull (1 – one sub-adult
    between Rock Hill and Obsidian Butte), Gull-billed Tern (85 – about sixty-five, many on nests,
    at Rock Hill and about twenty more along the shore of the Salton Sea between the
    north end of Lack and the west end of Young Roads, but only one white-headed
    sub-adult at Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Caspian Tern
    (25), Black Tern (30 – about thirty at Morton Bay were the first that I have
    encountered this year), Forster’s Tern (2), Black Skimmer (20 – about twenty at
    Rock Hill), Common Loon (2 – one in
    basic-plumage on Fig Lagoon at dawn had been joined by an adult in
    alternate-plumage by the late afternoon), Neotropic Cormorant (10 – one on the Salton Sea near the
    north end of Lack Road and at least nine at Fig Lagoon and Sunbeam Lake),
    Double-crested Cormorant (35), American White Pelican (5), Least Bittern (1),
    Great Blue Heron (30), Great Egret (50), Snowy Egret (20), Cattle Egret (1500), Green Heron (10),
    Black-crowned Night-Heron (1), White-faced Ibis (250), Turkey Vulture (10),
    Northern Harrier (3), Red-tailed Hawk (2), Barn Owl (1 – one roosting in a palm
    tree at the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ), Burrowing Owl (15), Belted
    Kingfisher (3), Gila Woodpecker (10), Ladder-backed Woodpecker (3), American
    Kestrel (10), Western Wood-Pewee
    (1), Hammond’s Flycatcher (1), Pacific-slope Flycatcher (1), Black Phoebe
    (20), Say’s Phoebe (1 – one at the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge HQ where
    this species could be nesting), Vermilion Flycatcher (4 – two pairs at Lakeview
    Golfcourse), Western Kingbird (50),
    Cassin’s Vireo (1 – one at Cattle Call Park in Brawley), Warbling Vireo (35),
    Common Raven (2), Tree Swallow (200), Northern Rough-winged Swallow (30), Bank
    Swallow (1 – one with Tree Swallows near the north end of Garst Road), Cliff
    Swallow (350), Barn Swallow (150 – including four with Cliff Swallows at the
    intersection of Carter and Fites Roads southwest of Brawley where this species
    has nested in recent years), Verdin (15), Marsh Wren (15), Blue-gray Gnatcatcher
    (1 – one near the intersection of Carter and Fites Roads southwest of Brawley),
    Black-tailed Gnatcatcher (3), Swainson’s Thrush (2), Brown Thrasher (1 – one near the
    southeastern corner of El Centro was known present since 23 April and may be the
    same bird known here between 27 December through 16 March), Northern Mockingbird
    (25), European Starling (250), Phainopepla (2 – one male at Lakeview Golfcourse
    and one female near the intersection of Fites and Carter Roads southwest of
    Brawley), House Sparrow (50), House Finch (35), Lesser Goldfinch (2 – a pair at
    the northeast corner of the IID Wetlands near Niland), Orange-crowned Warbler
    (5), Nashville Warbler (3), MacGillivray’s Warbler (1 – one male near the
    southeastern corner of El Centro), Common Yellowthroat (5), Yellow Warbler (6), Yellow-rumped Warbler (25),
    Black-throated Gray Warbler (2), Townsend’s Warbler (3), Wilson’s Warbler (50),
    Yellow-breasted Chat (2 – one near the intersection of Fites and Carter Roads
    southwest of Brawley and one near the southeastern corner of El Centro were both
    believed to be migrants), Abert’s Towhee (20), Savannah Sparrow (1 – one near
    the entrance to Unit 1 of the Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge), Song Sparrow
    (10), White-crowned Sparrow (1 – one white-lored gambelli at Cattle Call Park in
    Brawley), Summer Tanager (1 – one
    adult male at Lakeview Golfcourse was believed to be of the western subspecies
    cooperi ), Western Tanager (25),
    Black-headed Grosbeak (15), Lazuli Bunting (5), Red-winged Blackbird (1500),
    Western Meadowlark (25), Yellow-headed Blackbird (15 – about twelve at Fig
    Lagoon and two adult males at the old sewage treatment pond adjacent to Highway
    111 at the southern end of Calipatria where this species has nested in recent
    years), Brewer’s Blackbird (50), Great-tailed Grackle (200), Bronzed Cowbird (2 – two adult males together at the
    intersection of Fites and Carter Roads southwest of Brawley), Brown-headed
    Cowbird (35) and Bullock’s Oriole
    (20) - 138 species.   Guy McCaskie
  30. -back to top-


-revision history-
v1.30 - 01/05/16 - Revamped cloud logic, optimized database queries, linked to eBird rarities.
v1.23 - 12/08/11 - Added direct link to CBRC records.
v1.22 - 12/03/11 - Corrected GMT offsets on dates. Added last 5 posts at top.
v1.21 - 11/24/11 - Added direct link to range map for NA birds.
v1.2  - 11/23/11 - Greatly improved graphing technology - separates month vs. year by posts. Added species auto-complete functionality.
v1.14 - 11/22/11 - Added cloud bubble for common thread topics.
v1.13 - 11/22/11 - Added integrated photos where available.
v1.12 - 11/22/11 - Added multiple input boxes for additional refinement, negative search criteria (eg. -keyword).
v1.11 - 11/22/11 - Added banding code, species look-up. Also direct link to recent eBird observations.
 v1.1 - 11/22/11 - Added 'date' functionality. Shows top 'month/year' combinations for a query. Restrict results to that 'month/year'.
 v1.0 - 11/21/11 - Initial version coded. Currently archiving 'lacobirds' and 'calbirds'.