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Salton Sea & Imperial Valley Field Trip: 7-8 February, 9am

January 16, 2015
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Sandhill Cranes & Geese (L.Johnson 2/10)

Sandhill Cranes & Geese at vast distance on foggy morn, Sonny Bono Unit (L.Johnson 2/10)

The Salton Sea is one of the strangest places in the USA.  An ancient but ephemeral saline lake in the middle of the desert; so full of life that it is in imminent danger of dying; a place where you find birds found nowhere else in California and a few nowhere else in the U.S. It is also a crackerjack place for a birding weekend, with camping or motels, Chinese or Mexican food. This is a very good time of year, both for the climate and the ducks. See Burrowing Owls, Snow & Ross’ Geese, Abert’s Towhees, Sandhill Cranes, White Pelicans, ibises, raptors, shorebirds and waders galore.  Also possible are Zone-tailed Hawk, Yellow-footed Gull, Eurasian Collared, Inca, Common and Ruddy Ground-Doves, Gila Woodpecker, Vermillion Flycatcher, Crissal Thrasher. and Who Knows What Else.

Previous Trips: ,February 2012   February 2010

We are publishing this ahead of time so that people can plan ahead and make hotel reservations.

Brawley Motels: If planning on staying overnight Friday or Saturday, you’d best make a reservation soon. The leaders are staying at the Best Western. We’ve stayed at the Brawley Inn many times & decided to sample the competition. The Motel 6 is fairly new.
Motel 6    Brawley Inn      Best Western      Town House Inn & Suites

Family guide:   Long car drive (allow 3 hours) but room to roam at the end of it. Usually under 1 mile walking, mostly along roadsides.

Map & directions to Wister Unit

Note:    No fee, but sign up ASAP with leader Chuck Almdale (818-894-2541). We already have sufficient people to warrant running the trip. But it’s a long drive to get there; if we don’t know you’re coming, we don’t wait for you. If you arrive early, there is plenty of birding right at the meeting place, with birds such as Verdin, Abert’s Towhees, wintering warblers and the occasional Peregrine Falcon visible from the parking lot and roadside. If you have an FRS radio, please bring it along tuned to Channel 11, privacy channel 22. Most people stay overnight at one of the motels in Brawley, but you can come for just Saturday.

Gambel's Quail & early Easter Bunny (C. Almdale)

Strange Bedfellows:  Gambel’s Quail & early Easter Bunny (C. Almdale)

Dress & Equipment: Dress in layers, bring a hat. If you have a scope, bring it. Waterfowl, raptors, doves, and field birds are often quite far away. Bring lunch, drinks, coffee and sunscreen.

Directions:   Meet at Davis Road (the Wister Unit Wildlife sign-in point) which may have been renamed to Wister Rd., 37 miles south of Mecca on Highway 111 and 4.8 miles north of Niland. Driving time from L.A. at the legal limit is about three hours. Car pooling is recommended and staying overnight on Saturday is a good idea. Camping is available, or you can motel it in Brawley or El Centro. This is not a reservation-only trip but you must call leader to sign up, confirm meeting time & place, and for motel information. We’d hate to find your bleached bones on our way back.
Meet at 9:00 a.m.
Leader: Chuck Almdale (818-894-2541)  webinfo493 [AT] verizon [DOT] net

OR, in case of bad weather in the Imperial Valley
Saturday, 8 February. To Be Announced – perhaps we’ll look for rarities currently present in the L.A. area.


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