Nature Notes

October 24, 2008

Birding the Salton Sea, California

Filed under: Birds,California — Tags: , , — Harold Stiver @ 7:00 am
Salton Sea Sunset

Salton Sea Sunset

The Salton Sea is a large inland sea in southern California of high salinity. It was created after diversion schemes on the Colorado River ran into a major flood in 1905. This flooding event continued for two years resulting in millions of gallons of water pouring into the area which is the current Salton Sea.

It has become a major wintering area for many bird species. These include Western Sandpiper, Marbled Godwit, Willet, Long-billed Dowitcher, Red-necked Phalarope, Black-necked Stilt and American Avocet.

One of my favorite species was Burrowing Owl, which can be found by checking out the banks of the irrigation ditches which line the roads.Also found in the surrounding fields are White-faced IbisCattle and Great Egret, and Wood Stork.

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing Owl

In the drier areas you may see Western Kingbirds, Gambel’s Quail, and Abert’s Towhee.

The Yellow-footed Gull is rarely found anywhere else in the U.S. but here.


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  1. Did it already exist as a wetland before the “flubbed” diversion? I’m assuming it did. I’m a huge fan of Marc Risner’s Cadillac Desert. We also have burrowing owls here in south Florida.

    Comment by Robert V Sobczak — October 24, 2008 @ 10:03 pm

  2. Hi Robert:

    I’m not sure if it was or not. The area around is very hot and dry, so I think it may have been a dry basin.

    Your blog looks interesting.

    Chears, Harold

    Comment by Harold — October 25, 2008 @ 8:00 pm

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  8. Hi
    I’m hoping you will let us use the photo on the left above. We’d like to put it on our letterhead for letters our coalition writes in order to better protect the Burrowing owls here in San Diego. I’m asking tos ee if we have your permission to use it on one of our letters. We will give photo credit of course.

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