2016-04-20 Dirty Socks Spring

2016-04-20 Wednesday

Xanthocephalus xanthocephalus

Dirty Socks Spring is well known to the local birding community. At the southern edge of the Owens Lake basin, it used to be a county park with a concrete lined pool adjacent to the natural pond and wetlands. It doesn’t see much use by bathers these days. The water is overgrown with mosses and many thousands of brine flies, which now feeds many birds. Waterfowl and shorebirds often frequent this place, especially during migration. Yellow-Headed Blackbirds were my main source of entertainment during this visit, but I also saw Savannah Sparrows, Red-Winged Blackbirds, Brown-Headed Cowbirds, Lesser Yellowlegs, Cinnamon Teal, Eared and Pied-Billed Grebes, Coots, Orange-Crowned and Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Bank Swallows and Western Kingbirds.

I arrived late in the afternoon on Wednesday and the wind was howling from the south. While I was driving, the tail-wind probably helped my fuel economy, but now I was stopped, it was generating wind-chop on the water and photographs on water always looks better if the surface is calm. High winds usually keep thee birds tucked down in the bushes and hard to find. I parked the Travato so the wind wasn’t hitting it broadside and then settled in for the night. By morning, the wind calmed, allowing be to find most of the passerines on the list above.

I didn’t photograph all the birds I saw, but those that I got can be viewed below:

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