Sunday, July 20, 2008

Another World

I recently took a birding trip to the Salton Sea in southern California to see some birds there that are nowhere else in the United States. The place has been described as "the most horrible, beautiful place on earth". It is exactly that and everything in between. The stench of millions of rotting fish and barnacles lining the entire sea is terrible. That combined with 115 degree heat is enough to make you choke. If you can withstand that, the rewards are tremendous. It is hell on earth that is also bird heaven - a dream of a place for a birder. Thousands of Black-necked Stilts, Wilson's Phalaropes, American Avocets, and White and Brown Pelicans. Long-billed Curlews and White-faced Ibis in the tens of hundreds. The land, water, and sky are filled with a constantly changing array of birds. It's awesome. If you also like strange human and natural history, it's a place that must be experienced.

I write all this but have no great images from the sea itself. The image today is from the sand dunes in the Imperial Valley of California, which lies to the east of the Salton Sea, just west of the border with Arizona. The highway we drove goes right through the heart of the dunes. I'm thinking I might have to take a trip sometime just to photograph the sand formations.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Desert

Hello from Arizona! It's been about a month now since moving out here and I've managed to see a few new places and add 12 birds to my life list. I've made a few new images on these trips and would like to share my one good bird shot, the Varied Bunting. This bird must be seen in soft light to appreciate its colors. Normally it looks almost black and no field guide does it justice. I'm sure the females are impressed!

This past saturday was a day trip up to Sedona where we saw lots of awesome red rock formations and went on a backcountry drive. This friendly Western Diamondback Rattlesnake on the road allowed us some close views.

Look forward to more trips and sharing more images soon. Take care...