Monday, February 16
The three-day-weekend campers at Corvina Beach on the Salton Sea pack up and head for home.
About halfway to Niland I begin having second thoughts about the timing of this excursion. What looked at first like heavy cloud cover now looks like nuclear winter. A shroud of grey blankets the southern part of the Salton Sea. I don’t smell the hydrogen sulfide — the infamous “rotten egg” odor — but morning sunshine cannot break through. The air is cool.
We turn south and go through Niland.
I notice a lone bird high on a wire. I bring down my window and snap a photo of him even though he’s back-lit.
It’s fun to post it anyway for you birders. What bird has this distinctive silhouette?
I slow down the PTV to park at the Visitor’s Center at the refuge.
This alerts Bridget to wake up from her snooze so she can throw a frantic, screaming fit.
“Gosh, Bridget. Take it easy! I’d like to keep my hearing!”
I buckle her into her black suit. I grab a poop bag and the end of her leash. I follow the canine maniac on the sidewalk and then up the ramp that goes to a viewing platform. I set her loose in order to record this precious event.
Bridget prances around on the boards, tugging at her leash.
“Gee, you’re a whirling dervish today. C’mon.”
We walk around the grounds and I read the plaque on the Sonny Bono time “capsule” to be opened in 2103
“You got your walk-around and now I get to go inside the Visitors’ Center . . . without you.”
The Visitors’ Center is closed. Oh, darn! I forgot. It’s Presidents Day! .
“Okay, Bridge. Let’s find some birds.”
I start up the PTV and we head for the Sea.
Geothermal electric-generating plants squat among the fields of green and near the shore. Their “smokestacks” belch white and grey plumes of steam into the sky. The refuge’s birds co-exist with these plants.
(I had to edit the following photo into order to remove the darkness of the day enough for you to see the birds in the foreground and the plant in the background.)
I don’t move up close to avoid disturbing them. I zoom in on one cormorant as he attempts to dry his feathers in the elusive sunshine.
I park the PTV at a long levee that juts out into the Sea. Against my better judgement, I bring Little Miss Annoying along with me, on her leash for safety. Maybe a long walk will use up her energy!
Well, even though the refuge birds are a good distance away, our presence makes them skittish. While I fumble with the camera on its mono-pod, they fly away. I hate that we disturbed them. I’m guessing they aren’t accustomed to a terrier trying her damnedest to fling her body over the sea wall.
What IS it with today? First, nuclear winter. Then the Visitors’ Center is closed. And here’s Bridget jumping around like . . . . errggh!
Time out for another bird challenge.
I’ve enlarged a small section of a larger photo. Can you identify this pretty trio?
We explore the refuge some more and then go back to camp. By the time I plug in the PTV to the BLT, it’s around one o’clock and the sky has cleared.
After lunch . . .
I relax while Bridget naps. (Thank you, Jesus!)
Looks like romance is in the air!
THANKS, RVSUE SHOPPERS!
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Readers have identified the bird on the wire as a Belted Kingfisher.
Readers have also identified the trio of birds as Northern Shovelers
Oh my gosh! You have got to click on this link! Scroll down to listen to the call of a male Northern Shoveler first. Then scroll further down to listen to the reaction of the female Northern Shoveler. Hilarious! I’ve played it several times and I laughed each time I heard it!