2013-14 Back to California travel blog

Anna's hummingbird perched on a cactus thorn.

Black throated sparrow on brittlebush in the desert.

Red-tailed hawk soaring overhead in the desert.

American eagles soaring overhead at the Salton Sea.

Bunrab at the Salton Sea.

Great blue heron in flight at Salton Sea.

Killdeer (Salton Sea)

White pelicans in flight (Salton Sea)

Gambel's quail (male) in full regalia (Salton Sea)

Snow geese flocks

White pelicans (Salton Sea0

Great egret

Kestrel (a bit fuzzy, but whatever)

We have become convinced that consistently the best weather in the US in the wintertime is this little corner of the world. We watch the reports of the cold fronts blasting almost everywhere else on the continent north of Mexico and feel very lucky to be here.

And the warm days continue. Nice.

We had a nice easy hike in the desert last weekend to look for birds. Didn't see many, as it was a bit late in the morning, but we did see a few. It's always amazing to be reminded how much life is out there -- it may look dormant, but it ain't! Lots of scurrying going on -- rabbits, ants, lizards, birds and who knows what all -- and lots of plants thriving in their own desert way, thank you very much.

Yesterday we took a daytrip over to the Salton Sea, that wondrous place that, we have heard, is going to be allowed to dry up in a couple of years. Can't imagine that will be allowed to happen, but who knows. In the meantime, it's a major stop on the Pacific Flyway and a great birding spot. Sonny Bono was a great advocate for this area and there is a National Wildlife Refuge at the south end of the Sea that is named after him, which is where we headed. It's about an hour's drive from here and we tried to get up early early early to get the prime birding time, but weren't entirely successful. We enjoyed lots of activity when we first arrived around 9, but by the time we left the area around noon sightings were a little sparse.

We did see lots of raptors, including a kingfisher trying to swallow a fish, and some amazing flocking displays of Snow Geese that were rather dazzling. Great groups of hundreds, maybe thousands of birds, each group going their own way, up and down, here and there, filling the air with their calls. And some gorgeous great egrets with their long breast feathers flowing in the wind. And dozens of very busy Gambel's Quail, all decorated up with their fancy headdresses, bustling about, running everywhere.

We had to keep an eye on the clock, since we left Salsa back in Borrego in the RV, so we didn't stay as long as we wanted, but we hope to return for one more visit before we leave Borrego -- next week! (Yup, time to head home.)

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