Monday, 19 January 2009

Salton Sea, California 15 Jan 09

Arrived in Salton Sea and stayed at the Brawley Inn, on the west side of Brawley next to Hwy 86. I headed straight off to an area near Calipatria State Prison, at the junction of Blair and Montgomery, where both Sprague’s Pipit and Chestnut-collared Longspur had been reported recently. I spent the last 1 ½ hours of light walking around the fields looking for Sprague’s Pipit, but to no avail. The only birds of note that I did see was Horned Lark (fly-over, calling) and a bird which might have been a Red-throated Pipit. It was in the field to the north-east of the junction and then after watching it for about 10 seconds it flew off over a drainage ditch to the field south-east of the junction. The bird was feeding with numerous Savannah Sparrows. It had a heavily streaked back with white ‘tramlines’ running down its back (with an olive background), with white underparts, boldly streaked black. The face and ear coverts were plain olive with a faint creamy supercillium and it had a thin, pipit-like bill. Unfortunately, it didn’t stay very long and flew off without calling. As I still needed Sprague’s Pipit and it was a long way round to entrance to the field it had flown to, I decided not to pursue it. As I got crippling views of Sprague’s Pipit the next two mornings, I wish I had gone after it now!

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