The Salton Sea was formed between 1905 and 1907 when the Colorado River broke through irrigation system diversion canals in Imperial County. It currently hosts over 400 bird species each year and serves as a critical stopover on the Pacific Flyway. The lake surface is 234 feet below sea level and its deepest point is only 5 feet higher than the lowest point in Death Valley. It sits directly on the San Andreas Fault.
This pic shows hundreds of snow geese taking flight at the Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge, which is located at the southern end of the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley. The refuge sits at 227 feet below sea level in the Colorado Desert, and is on the Pacific Flyway. The Salton Sea is the only area in the U.S. to see the Yellow-footed Gull.
California is a fantastic place for birding as the state boasts 662 species in the latest CA Bird List, while San Diego County alone has 517 species on its checklist. The little guy in this pic is a burrowing owl which we encountered on a dirt road just south of the Salton Sea. Burrowing owls generally live underground in the abandoned burrows of mammals.
Links: CA bird list San Diego County bird list
The Salton Sea, California’s largest lake at approximately 350 square miles, lies on the San Andreas Fault in Imperial and Riverside counties. It is a great birding area and this pic captures a silhouette of a few of the many pelicans we encountered just before dusk.
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