Where travelers flock

Tourists avoid some places like the plague. Salton Sea is one of those destinations. It offers none of the unusual by-the-sea pleasures. It’s 40% saltier than the Pacific Ocean. Restaurants and hotels once thrived on its shores and when the water receded years ago, went out of business. It’s not a happening scene. And yet…

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…birds can be found at Salton Sea in vast numbers. These Snow Geese migrate to the ponds by the Sea for the winter.

Why would anyone bother going to Salton Sea? Birds! The sea is on the Pacific Flyway so birds stop by during their migrations. It’s one of the most important birding sites in the United States.

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In a pond nearby, we were taken aback by the very quiet sandhill cranes. They filled the pond and yet, hardly moved at all, as if in their own early morning meditation. Quite a contrast to the honking and flapping snow geese!

We saw more water birds than we’d ever seen before. It helped that we knew where to go from reading various websites: Unit 1 at the Sonny Bono National Wildlife Refuge on the southern shore of Salton Sea; followed by agricultural fields south and east of the sea; and then, the Sonny Bono NWR Visitor Center area.

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We saw massive fields of lettuce, carrots, and then unexpectedly – flowers!

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Watering is still seen in southern California due to heat and lack of rain.

Ring-billed gulls filled a small pond by the fields. On the shore, snowy egrets lined up. Random other birds joined the crowd.

Ring-billed gulls filled a small pond by the fields. On the shore, snowy egrets lined up. Random other birds joined the crowd.

Don’t think it was only water birds we saw. As we passed by, a huge flock of red-winged blackbirds filled every branch of this tree.

Don’t think it was only water birds we saw. As we passed by, a huge flock of red-winged blackbirds filled every branch of this tree.

On our usual bird watching trips we might spot many species, but only a few birds of each. At Salton Sea the numbers jumped to hundreds (or more) for many species. It was truly amazing to see so many and such unusual birds. Was it worth visiting? If you love birds, the answer is yes. But there were challenges…

…to be continued: “A travel destination to skip”

 

February 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in US - California and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Where travelers flock

  1. cindy knoke says:

    Would love too and you could check out Casa del Zorro if you want a nice place to stay in a nicer area.

  2. Even better if there aren’t many people there. Just you and the birds – sounds delightful.

  3. cindy knoke says:

    Amazing! I just came back from two days here. We were here at the same time? Did I see you there?

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