Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Sonny Bono NWR

Been awhile since I've had time to sit down and write something! I've been busy birding this past week!! Well it's the beginning of 2013 and that means starting the year lists over! Last year we ended with 351 and I think we will be able to beat that!

View from the platform at Unit 1
Snowy Egret

The first of January we headed for Salton Sea in southern California. What a beautiful drive over there through the Chocolate Mountains! Once we got there we went to Unit 1 of Sonny Bono NWR. There we first saw flocks of Sandhill Cranes grazing in the fields, American Coots, Northern Shovelers and American Wigeons in the ponds. Along with Great Blue Heron, Cattle, Snowy and Great Egret standing along side the canals. Just past that we spotted more cranes and a whole field of Snow Geese.

Sandhill Cranes
We then headed over to the headquarters and headed for the platform to check out the Snow Geese hoping to spot some Ross's Geese, but no luck there. So I spotted this big rock in the distance and then looked through my lens and saw people on it! Then we saw Rock Hill Trail and hoped that would take us there and it did! On the way to the rock we only seen Desert Cottontails and Egrets. We finally spotted the sea and all the gulls by the shore! We decided to walk down to the shoreline and see if we could spot a Yellow-footed Gull, which had been spotted there the week before, no luck with that gull.

Black-necked Stilt

Black-bellied Plover
Greater Yellowlegs

We did spot some nice shorebirds; Black-bellied Plover, Least Sandpiper,Greater Yellowlegs, American Avocet, Willet, Long-billed Dowitcher and Marbled Godwit. The gulls there were mainly Ring-billed Gulls with a few Herring and Glaucous-winged Gulls.

Marbled Godwits

After that we spotted some Eared Grebes, Clark's Grebe and Western Grebe swimming near the shore.

Eared Grebe

Clark's Grebe
We climbed to the top and and got some nice shots of Salton Sea and rested for a little bit.

At the Top!

Salton Sea

Old abandoned dock near the marina.

After we were rested we headed back down the hill and headed for our truck. We didn't see anything new along the way. We got 1 new lifer there the Glaucous-winged Gull.

**Next blog about our Oregon coast birding and also Portland area birding**

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