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Salton Sea

It started off a promising day at the Salton Sea this past saturday. A comfortable 75F, relatively low humidity, partly cloudy skies and a 10-20 mph breeze. As the day progressed the clouds thickened and winds started gusting up to 30-45 mph. This proved not only challenging trying to maintain focus on moving subjects but also created bad lighting conditions on some of the high contrast subject I was trying to photograph (ie. Gull-billed Terns).

Salton Sea
Salton Sea

There were amazing numbers of alternate plumaged Dunlin, Black-bellied Plovers, Long-billed Dowitcher and massive flocks of Western Sandpipers. I encountered a few Brant around Unit #1 and was lucky enough to be there at the same time they were banding Clapper Rails – which I got lots of photos of.

Clapper Rail
Clapper Rail

Clapper Rail
Clapper Rail

Click here to see more of the Clapper Rail banding.

Brant
Brant

Black-bellied Plover
Black-bellied Plover

Gull-billed Tern
Gull-billed Tern

Of particular interest was a Glaucous-winged Gull I found at the intersection of Crummer and Grubel Rd. Typically a “coastal” species every now and then one will wander toward the Salton Sea. Everything else I encountered at the Sea that day was to be expected. I did find a very large fish that recently washed ashore. Not sure the type of fish but it was about 2′ long.

Glaucous-winged Gull
Glaucous-winged Gull

Salton Sea Fish
Salton Sea Fish

 

Posted by on May 4, 2009 in Photography Adventures

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Salton Sea Raptors

A relatively slow morning at Salton Sea yesterday. I was hoping to get photos of Stilt Sandpiper and if I was really lucky a Ruff. I couldn’t find either and the hunters in the area weren’t helping things. I did photograph a beautiful adult Peregrine Falcon and a female/juv. Merlin (Taiga) at fairly close range. Always a treat to see a Peregrine Falcon so close!

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

Peregrine Falcon
Peregrine Falcon

Merlin
Merlin (fem/juv)

 

Posted by on October 20, 2008 in Photography Adventures

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Salton Sea

It’s hard to put into words the essence of the Salton Sea during the middle of summer. Aside from the sweltering 115F heat and high humidity near the shoreline, the smell is pretty much next to unbearable. Dead fish line the landscape as Turkey Vultures circle overhead just waiting for something (or someone) to die. I’ve been to the Salton Sea many times in the summer but one thing I completely forgot about were the billions of tiny gnats. The second I rolled down the window to photograph something I was completely swarmed by them — covering everything from my lens to the interior of the car, refusing to fly even when I tried brushing them away. Good thing it was a rental car – I turned it in my SUV this morning with a couple hundred gnats still lining the interior!


Salton Sea Sunrise
Salton Sea Sunrise

Dried Sea Bed
Dried Sea Bed

Blood Red Pond
Blood Red Pond

Abandoned Town
Abandoned Town

So enough of the prefacing and on with the photos! I tallied two new photo birds – Yellow-footed Gull and Black Tern. I also got much better photos of Burrowing Owl, Wilson’s Phalarope, White-faced Ibis and a fairly cooperative Osprey that allowed me to get within 25′ of him as he perched on a branch looking for fish.


Yellow-footed Gull
Yellow-footed Gull

Black Tern
Black Tern

Burrowing Owl
Burrowing Owl

Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson’s Phalarope

Black-necked Stilt (juvenal)
Black-necked Stilt (juvenal)

Osprey
Osprey

White-faced Ibis
White-faced Ibis

 

Posted by on August 18, 2008 in Photography Adventures

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