Monthly Archives: January 2015

Salton Sea Digiscoping – Roseate Spoonbill

Roseate Spoonbill Digiscoped Pic 1-11-15

Roseate Spoonbill Digiscoped Pic 1-11-15

The Roseate Spoonbil,l Ajaia ajar, is a large wading bird related to ibises. They are common in the Gulf of Mexico and less common around the northern Sea of Cortez. The are very rare in Southern California, but are occasionally are seen at the Salton Sea, in Imperial County.  This morning the air was cool and there was no heat shimmer, which often makes long distance photos impossible.  The lighting was flat/diffuse with no shadows due to a moderate overcast. These photos were taken with my old iPhone 4s mounted on to a Kowa 88mm spotting scope with a cool adaptor at maximum magnification (60x).  The distance was about 0.9 miles, more-or-less. The iPhone has a digital image enlarger which helps a lot.

iPhone 4s 1/300th second, f2.4 ISO 50, 233mm (35mm) focal length.  Scope at 60 power.

Roseate Spoonbill 1-11-15 Salton Sea

Roseate Spoonbill 1-11-15 Salton Sea

Roseate Spoonbill 1-11-15 Salton Sea

Roseate Spoonbill 1-11-15 Salton Sea

Also seen was a nicely pink flamingo.  In think that its a Lesser Flamingo, Phoeniconaias minor.  An escapee from Las Vegas, perhaps.

Flamingo 1-11-15 Salton Sea

Flamingo 1-11-15 Salton Sea

Flamingom1-11-15 Salton Sea

Flamingo 1-11-15 Salton Sea

Jacumba Valley Ranch 1-1-15

Jacumba Valley Ranch is the large (1250 acre) abandoned agricultural area just to the east of residential Jacumba.   The lake and swamp have been less than productive for the last month or so, and I only visit two three times a week.

The Ranch, however, has become more interesting.  I’ve been doing a loop along the west end extending up to the giant power lines that bisect it.   The most productive area is the border between the old ag fields and the railroad tracks.   On New Years Day I found Sage Thrasher, Mountain Bluebird, Vesper Sparrow, Bell’s Sparrow (thank you Paul L), Chipping Sparrow, Cactus Wren, Rock Wren, Horned Lark and Merlin in this area.

A lot of The Ranch if engulfed in tumbleweed, but there are significant areas of bare earth which I will try to survey in the next few weeks.  I think that Mountain Plovers are possible.  I dunno.

It snowed quite a built, for Jacumba, the morning of 12-31-14, and there still was a lot of snow left on the ground on 1-1-15.  I’ve included a few pics of the snow.

Also of interest, the snow brought an invasion of  the common Dark-eyed Juncos.  Seems to be about ten times as many.  Sapsuckers seem to have left town.  Tricolored Blackbird numbers are low.

Bell's Sparrow

Bell’s Sparrow

Cactus Wren

Cactus Wren

Vesper Sparrow

Vesper Sparrow

Merlin

Merlin

Sage Thrasher

Sage Thrasher

My backyard on 12-31-14

My backyard on 12-31-14

Jacumba Valley Ranch 12-31-14

Jacumba Valley Ranch 12-31-14

wabbit

wabbit