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Friday, April 16, 2010

Nerdy Birdy: The Salton Sea Birds

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The Salton sea was my fourth stop on my trip. It is a great place that really should not exist. It was an accident; a pipe burst which lead to millions of gallons of water to flood the lowest part of a valley, a valley that just so happened to be full of salt, which resulted in a man-madeish kind of inland sea. Mans folly however created a PERFECT place for migrating birds to stop and take a rest on their journey to their winter and summer homes because the Salton Sea falls right in the path of the Pacific Flyway. Heading here today, my second time at the sea, I was hopeful of finding may great birds and I was not disappointed.

Birds are so beautiful but one of my all time favourites is the burrowing owl, a bird I knew I could expect to see in the area surrounding the sea.

I heart you Burrowing Owls!

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288.BURROWING OWL

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288.BURROWING OWL

There were many birds that I had already seen but still I could not help clicking away.

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83.AMERICAN WHITE PELICAN

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87.DOUBLE-CRESTED CORMORANT

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67.EARED GREBE

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274.COMMON GROUND DOVE

I found the Eurasian Collared Dove among a group of Common Ground Doves. I was lucky to get a good shot, seconds after I took this he took off.

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269.EURASIAN COLLARED-DOVE

And of course amid the Common Ground Doves there were the ever present Mourning Doves. I managed to get this one super early in the morning. The light was awesome and I really loved the color of the flowers he was sitting in and then he stretched into some indescribable yoga pose.

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272.MOURNING DOVE

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101.GREEN HERON

I have seen many Western Kingbirds however this is the first time, out of 13 or so times that I was actually able to get a photo of one. Generally they perch pretty high up and out of the way and by the time I spot him and get out my camera he is generally LONG gone. This time however he was perched by the side of the road and I was able to snap a great shot.

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364.WESTERN KINGBIRD

I have been practicing my flight photography. These birds are fast and I still have not perfected the art of getting a great shot most of the time. At least half my shots end up blurry messes because I do not have my camera set up correctly or I used an improper technique in my eagerness to get the photo. I spent some time today really trying to get great flight shots of some of the slower birds, aka not swallows and I was pretty happy with the results.

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102.BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT HERON

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238.CASPIAN TERN

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117.NORTHERN HARRIER

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84.BROWN PELICAN

I did get another three new birds near the middle of the day. The Bonaparte’s Gull was just hanging out on the post and let me get really close before taking off. Such a great well behaved subject.

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216.BONAPARTE’S GULL

The Verdin however was a COMPLETE PAIN IN THE BUTT! It took me over an hour to get this quazi good shot. I was completely frustrated!

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409.VERDIN

And then I got to the Black Throated Sparrow who would not let me get within 30 feet of him AND who would NOT STAY STILL. I was crabby and hungry so I just gave up with this as my ONLY useable shot. Little bugger!

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532.BLACK-THROATED SPARROW

And then another string of cooperative birds.

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569.WESTERN MEADOWLARK

Another new bird for me and sitting pretty for the camera was the Northern Rough-winged Swallow. I actually just pulled over on the side of the road for a moment near a field to consult the map and when I looked up this little guy was watching me curiously. Although he is sitting on a wire, I would rather have him captured perching on something man-made, it was such a good shot I wanted to share.

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399.NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW

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399.NORTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW

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STRING OF WATERBIRDS - I HAVE NO IDEA WHY THEY ARE WAITING IN LINE

Right as I was getting back into my car near the end of the day this roadrunner popped out on the bank. He was a beautiful specimen and I liked the tangled mess of the background.

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279.GREATER ROADRUNNER

With seven new birds today and a billion I have seen before it ended up being a great day at the Salton Sea.

1 comment:

paul peggy zeus said...

So many good pics, LOVE the burrowing Owls, Roadrunner is pristine, and the little Verdin is good too! Maybe the waterbirds are all females waiting in line for a great sale! lol

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