2011-10-13 At The Salton Sea

Laughing Gull - Leucophaeus atricillaVisits to the Salton Sea in Imperial County California rarely fail to yield nice visits with unusual birds. Some visits are more memorable than others. This October day in 2011 was a special day for me; it provided me with my first quality meeting with Laughing Gulls and the Thick-Billed Savannah Sparrow. Additionally other shorebirds, gulls, egrets, grebes, terns and pelicans were captured in interesting poses and wonderful light.

October is usually a mild weather month at the sea. July is often harsh, as the geological sink cradling the sea is one of the lowest places on the planet. Often temperatures climb past 115°F here and even night-time temperature stay near 100°F. Winds can be ruthless here as well, but my visit on this day was blessed with neither wind nor heat issues. When winds are calm, so are the waters. Calm water provides opportunities to catch reflections, and I caught some good ones.

I spent the night in my RV in hopes of an early morning visit with the birds in this location. In the middle of the night a strong wind picked up. It sent waves all night crashing and churning into the beach. The next morning the clear calm waters of the previous day were replaced with a wind-chopped muddy sea and I lost the perfect mirror I enjoyed the previous day. That’s how it goes sometimes. Just try to appreciate those good days when we have them!

I’ve had other wonderful visits to this amazing place, but this day ranks as one of the best.

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