Friday, October 8, 2010

No Longer Ruff-less

The past 2 days I have been birding at the south end of the Salton Sea which is about 120 miles east of San Diego. This is my 3rd visit here this year, and as the title of this post indicates, I finally tracked down a ruff. One has been seen randomly over the past 2 months in the same general area with ground zero being near the corner of Garst and Shrimpf roads. One of SOCAL's top birders--Guy McCaskie--reported seeing it Wednesday when he did an all day bird survey at the south end of the Salton Sea.

I had looked at several locations all afternoon yesterday, but did not find it. I did see lots of birds with the best shorebird of the day being a pectoral sandpiper. Wes Fritz called me about 6:30 to tell me that Guy had seen a ruff Wednesday. I rushed over to the spot and scanned for it for about 15 minutes before it got too dark to look any longer. So I spent the nite down in El Centro and was back looking again about 7:30 this morning.

It was a very nice early morning with little wind and plenty of birds feeding. Mostly I was sorting thru long-billed dowitchers, american avocets and black-necked stilts, killdeers, and a few peeps in search of the ruff. After about an hour I finally found it but it was a good 100 yards out. I watched it for about 5 minutes, and then it walked out of the edge of the water and disappeared into the grass. I then slogged out thru the mud to try to get another look, but could not relocate the bird.

I birded some other nearby spots, returning regularly in hopes of another sighting, but it did not return. At 11 AM I decided to start my drive to San Diego where I am spending the nite. The photos above are of a say's phoebe (top) and a burrowing owl (bottom) which I took yesterday. Remember to click on the photo to enlarge it.

Yesterday was the end of week #40, and 118 birds were seen for the week. Today I saw 57 birds to begin the new week, and the ruff raised the YTD to 684. I will be going out tomorrow on the Grande, an 85 ft boat, to try for some more new pelagic birds for the year. Stay tuned!

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