Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Saturday found us Southbound on CA 86 to Westmorland, CA.  We were en route to the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge.


All I could hear in my head was Sonny & Cher's "I've Got You Babe"  It is really hard to think of this man as 1.) a politician and, 2)  as being concerned about wild life.  That is other than Cher.

At the Visitor’s Center, we visited with the volunteers.  During the winter they are here at the Salton Sea and their summers are spent volunteering at Yosimete National Park. 

IMG_1431[1]As soon as we left the V.C, The first treat was to find a Barn Owl high up in a Palm Tree.  He was too busy taking his siesta to bother with us.   

The walk, at first, was a disappointment.  Many of the Corkscrew Mesquite trees had died from a mysterious disease.  They were being cut down and left in plies to be picked up at a later time.   

Later, we came upon an informational sign saying that the dead trees were being replaced by the hardier Honey Mesquite.  Those looked like our Honey Locust back in Indiana. 


Further along the path, we found this beautiful .......... 

White Heron or Great Egret.  

Help! Judy, Help!

Soon we arrived at an area where there was a fresh water pond. Water was pumped to this pond with the intent of providing migrating birds a safe haven for rest and reproduction without the fear of preditors such as skunks, raccoons, and coyotes.   It was a coconophy of bird sounds.Everyone was singing their own song…kinda like marching to your own drum. 

IMG_1445[1]I believe I have found an American Avocet.

Hey Judy, this is fun!  

I have enlarged this photo in order to see the different birds. it is fuzzy.  Will someone tell Santa that I want a nice camera for Christmas or Halloween, or Thanksgiving, or maybe even Forth of July?  

“The Sonny Bono Salton Sea NWR is geographically located within the southwestern edge of the Colorado zone of the Sonoran Desert biome. This location, coupled with an elevation of 227 feet below sea level, results in extremely low annual precipitation and extremely high day time temperatures. 

Bird Collage.  (USFWS)
Despite the harsh environmental conditions, theSalton Sea supports one of the most diverse avian compositions in the United States as well as a host of endangered and other wildlife species.

Habitat diversity on Refuge lands provides for the needs of resident wildlife species as well as numerous seasonal residents and migrants of the Pacific Flyway. Over 400 bird species have been recorded at the Refuge and at least 93 species have nested on the Refuge. In addition, 41 species of mammals, 18 species of reptiles, 4 species of amphibians and 15 species of fish have been identified in the area.”

There is concern that the Salton Sea’s concentration of salinity is increasing from it’s already high of being twenty-five percent saltier than the Pacific Ocean.  

If the salinity increases the fish and birds that can withstand this high level will be unable to survive in a higher level of salt.


Northern Shovler? Cinnamon Teal?    ?             ?


Blue Heron  
IMG_1490[1]  IMG_1468[1] 


The one mile walk to this hill ended here

On our way back to the Visitor's Center, we discovered new sights that we had missed by looking in only one direction.  


This Desert Cottontail is not doing chin ups, he is eating his dinner.
 He takes a breather before going for more.                          


The Gambriel Quail  is playing hide and seek. 



Thanks for stopping by 

God bless you all!


  1. Replies
    1. Thanks, I was hoping that you'd help with some of the others. I must get a better bird book.

  2. I keep seeing more Barn Owls on blogs this year. I have never seen one in the wild. Looks like you have to have a great eye to catch them.

    We had a wonderful time at the Salton Sea also. Did you taste the water? it salty for sure.

  3. The Salton Sea area is a fascinating place as long as the wind is in your favor. We enjoyed our time there a year ago & saw a lot of birds & geothermal plants. It was the eventual smell brought down the sea by a northwesterly wind that finally drove us out of the area or we would have stayed longer.

    1. We were lucky with the winds to be sure. Those geothermal plants are a wonder. Makes me think about what was 'cookin' below our feet.

  4. Loved the comment about wildlife and Cher. Hope Judy chimes in about your birds because I have no idea. lol

    1. Just could not resist the Cher comment. You know me. I am hoping that Judy or someone will help with more identifications.

  5. It was very interesting reading your post on the Salton Sea. I guess we totally missed this because we were so taken back by our drive around the Salton Sea and the unbelievable devastation of those living there. So not expected. What a strange place!

    You definitely saw tons of water fowl.

    1. We did not get around the entire sea. We were first driving through the "city of lost dreams," (my title). Miles and miles of electrical poles, sewer and water. Someone had a huge dream that just turned into a financial nightmare.

  6. Nan was there any "smells" of the Salton sea while you were there?

    1. Only a faint whiff. No dead fish on the shore, etc. We were very fortunate.

  7. butterbean carpenterMarch 26, 2013 at 9:00 PM

    Howdy Nan,

    Great pics and good identifying!!!! Almost a Judy Bell, already!!! You & me both on Sonny Bono!!!

    Hope y'all have a great week, below sea-level!!! See ya!!!

    1. Thanks Judy! We may be hi-tailing it to a higher elevation this weekend. Only to get out of the heat and see more flowers and possibly more birds than ravens.


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