Black Necked Stilts (BNS) are found from California to as far east as Florida, and as far south as Central America and the Galapagos.
They are waders and have the second longest leg to body proportions of any bird in the world excepting the flamingo (Cornell Lab of Ornithology).
These birds were photographed in The Salton Sea in Southern California.
The Salton Sea is the largest lake in California. It rests directly above The San Andreas Fault, and lies 71.9 meters below sea level.
The Salton Sea is under serious threat, is shrinking, and is heavily polluted.
The sea is considered the second most diverse and significant habitat for migrating birds in the US. Over 400 species have been identified here, and it is a critical migratory winter resting stop on The Pacific Flyway.
BNS populations are in decline due to habitat destruction and wetland pollution.
If the sea were to dry up, the millions of birds who rely on it during their annual migration would be imperiled.
It would become a giant toxic dust-bowl threatening the public health of millions of Californians. The shrinking of the sea is already emitting toxic dust and chemicals harming human health. Effective plans do exist to save and refresh the sea, but no plans exist to date, to implement them.
Cheers to you from the threatened Black Necked Stilts at the vulnerable Salton Sea~
(For more on The Sea read: http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-salton-sea-20151001-story.html).
282 thoughts on “Black Necked Stilts in The Salton Sea~”
I have many fond memories of birding at the Salton Sea. I am really sorry to hear of its demise, Cindy. Fantastic photos of the stilts.
It is still one of my favorite birding destinations in the world, but it needs to be saved before it is too late.
Gorgeous photos and such an important message. This is why midterm elections are needed to bring in new leadership.
Amen!!! We have all mailed in our ballots. It is critically important, I agree.
What amazing little birds! I hope the efforts to save the Salton Sea are successful.
So far no progress. I can’t imagine losing such an amazing bird and wildlife refuge. It is a gorgeous place. It needs to be cleaned up and replenished.
When we visited a couple years ago, it was obvious it was receding. But I was unaware of the birds that used it and had no idea there were plans to preserve it. There are so many competing demands for the water. I hope they succeed.
The sea is huge and there are different habitats in different compass points. The avian dense portions are at the southern most portions of the sea, specifically the two Sonny Bono wildlife refuges. There are other areas as well, but visiting these two areas guarantees bird sightings year round, but most especially in fall, winter and spring.
Gorgeous and those reflections, amazing!
The Salton Sea forms these mirror like surfaces that make the most beautiful reflections. I especially love the golden reflections at sunset.
You always show us amazing things Cindy!
The Salton Sea’s water problem seems insurmountable. Although the basin has experienced cyclic wet and dry periods for at least thousands of years, the latest lake formation occurred by accident in 1905 when developers’ diversion of Colorado River water grew into an uncontrollable flood. However, considering the climate change caused drying out of the American Southwest and the increasingly thirsty human population there, the fresh water inflows necessary for a healthy Salton Sea just don’t seem to be available. This has been a sad story in California for decades. Its heyday was back in the 1940s and 1950s when Hollywood stars flocked to its resorts.
Yes. The Salton Sea has been in my back-backyard all my life. I was born on the coast but have spent all my life in SoCal. I have watched the whole history of the sea unfold, and have visited here several times a year for many decades. The amount of wildlife that rely on the sea is immense, not just birds, but all sorts of mammals, reptiles and predators, in addition to the millions of birds that rest here annually. If we can find the resources to irrigate the extensive, over the top, public landscaping of Palm Desert and Palm Springs and La Quinta, we can find the resources to irrigate and flush the sea. Asthma and respiratory disease rates in humans are skyrocketing in communities close to the sea, including the three just mentioned. If people want to breathe easy in Palm Springs & Palm Desert, they need to restore The Salton Sea,
Thank you for this international public service presented with your very good pictures.
Thank you! The destruction of The Salton Sea is not acceptable to me.
How sad!! Such beautiful birds shouldn’t have to worry about their midnight stopovers. I hope something is done quickly! Beautiful photos, Cindy 😊
Thank you Dorinda and I agree completely.
Thank you, Cindy, for letting us know!!
Another sad story of man’s lack of caring for wildlife. If only I had a magic wand!
I sincerely wish you, and other’s like you, did have such a wand. We could restore the world to how it used to be before human beings destroyed it. What a concept.
Hey Cindy, Namaste 🙂
Such beautiful birds, evolved to occupy a select niche in nature. They are very appealing on the eye – clown like one moment when out of the water, but then refined and elegant within it. Your sumptuous photos paint a thousand words, thank you. It is of course a great shame to hear of nature’s neglect by humankind and the effect it has on their ecosystem. It seems ‘we’ never get it right when it comes to respecting the natural world: almost as if we have ceased to care, forgotten how to live in harmony with nature as opposed to seeking dominion over it: such is the foolishness of humankind.
Thank you for your always generous and wholesome blogging fayre 🙂
A short poem…
In withering waters of the hot Salton Sea,
A flock of Black-Necked Stilts did I see
In Black and white trim: feathered duality,
They stand and stare watching me.
All to ungainly when out of the surf: when then,
As land-lubbers walking on turf, I get to smile,
As I stand and stare, as their long red legs,
Back in the water, shimmering sunlight’s gleam,
Black-Necked Stilts glide across the stream:
Their movement is effortless, their poise supreme,
These Californian waders are living the dream
Hoping all is well and your weekend set to inspire. Take care, hugs for Herbert! How is the little fella? 🙂
You are such a brilliant writer and person. This poem gave me goosebumps and was so moving. Thank you my dear, talented person.
This quote of yours, says what I feel so very eloquently, ” It is of course a great shame to hear of nature’s neglect by humankind and the effect it has on their ecosystem. It seems ‘we’ never get it right when it comes to respecting the natural world: almost as if we have ceased to care, forgotten how to live in harmony with nature as opposed to seeking dominion over it: such is the foolishness of humankind.”
Amen brother! You are a person who sees, understands, and cares. Such critically important and unusual characteristics in a person these days.
Thank you Dewin. I am honored to know you.
Oh, and Herbert? He is curled up next to me now as I type. I have no idea how I ever managed to live without him!
Namaste Cindy 🙂
I feel honoured to be your friend Cindy as well and to share something of your sentiments and thoughts and have you say such nice things about what I write: you always leave me smiling with your welcome and kind comments, thank you 🙂 As you know, I love the birds very dearly and hope I might come back as one next time around: fingers crossed 🙂 (I think someone got it wrong sending me to Earth as a human bean! Its an uncomfortable vessel to be in, I don’t like it at all)
I care as you care: an awful lot and like you want this beautiful planet maintained and looked after so that successive generations will experience what we love and treasure. We are Gaia’s children not her despotic keeper: she is eternal whilst we are by contrast ephemeral, fleeting, merely temporary dwellers on this world, not permanent fixtures, and we do most certainly have responsibility for every living creature, both to encourage its survival, it longevity, and to promote its welfare and happiness whilst managing our own.
We are not alone Cindy, reading through the wonderful comments here it appears many if not all of your readers feel the same way about the Salton Sea area. People have a voice and change can come about through unified action and campaigning. We just have to show commitment and courage to pursue a cause to it rightful conclusion. All things are possible, one just has to believe and hold tight to faith in that conviction 🙂
Thank you for being a friend. It means a lot. Hoping you’ll have a very pleasant weekend indeed: no doubt sun-drenched and golden and full of Hummers at the Holler! Enjoy all that vitamin D and energetic feathered company 🙂
P.S: Is Herbert still curled up next to you whilst you type? 😀 Little ball of fluff that he was, still is perhaps, but growing quickly…will you be posting updates periodically? Please. 🙂
Herbert’s veterinarian explained to me that Herbert should be doing three things at this stage of life, eating, sleeping, and playing. Herbert is a good patient because he is doing exactly what the doctor ordered. Right now that means my computer cords are under serious assault, and so are my legs, if I am not careful.
Herbert is a joy.
I love this comment of yours especially, and concur so completely with it, that I know this is one of the many reasons we see eye to eye, and seem to understand each other so well:
” I love the birds very dearly and hope I might come back as one next time around: fingers crossed 🙂 (I think someone got it wrong sending me to Earth as a human bean! Its an uncomfortable vessel to be in, I don’t like it at all).”
Amen. Some of us human beans just think too much, which is often not fun at all.
Namaste my friend <3
Namaste Cindy 🙂
Ah! It’s so good to hear the pirate buccaneer who stole your heart now rules your roost as well! lol 😀 I knew he would, all cats do, its their charm. Pleased also to know he is treasured and taken care of: there’s no cat in the world better off than he is with you all there. That he has an interest in computer cables is but one short leap to taking over the keyboard. You’ve been warned lol 😀
You have a sweet and caring nature Cindy, which is often referred to in comments you receive, and always shines from your kind and considerate replies. Also in possession of a keen inquiring mind – and an interest in broadening your knowledge of the world whilst engaging with its wonder – you are as much a dreamer as you are bright and astute. It’s not rational to imagine returning to Earth again in feathered-form, but equally it is not fantastical either. Ones imagination is all it takes, and you’ve that in abundance. Feeling as much thinking and achieving balance in both seems to be the best option going forward. But I don’t profess to achieving both at all….more often than not I live in a dream and look upon the world in that way too. If one’s imagination can carry one to distant worlds to sit on the rim of a star, then why not live life through those rosy eyes and just be.
Your already fly-high amongst the birds who are now like brothers and sisters sharing the infinite sky with you. With such a panoramic elevated outlook, the world below appears very differently and one wonders why more of us don’t fly but only think about doing so.
Thank you for inspiring discussion. Enjoy the remainder of your afternoon and evening. Perhaps take a flight at sunset and relish the spectacle from on high.
Love and be Loved <3 Namaste 🙂
Everytime you write something new leaps out at me. This one now:
“But I don’t profess to achieving both at all….more often than not I live in a dream and look upon the world in that way too. If one’s imagination can carry one to distant worlds to sit on the rim of a star, then why not live life through those rosy eyes and just be.”
If prisoners can escape the confines of their imprisonment through the power of their imagination, which they can do, how could we possibly not follow suit. I love living in an imaginary world. It is so often superior in every way to the real one.
Hugs to you Dewin & respect too~
Namaste Cindy 🙂
We are unbounded in our imagination but so often bounded by normalcy and reality, which somehow remains the dominant force defining our current world. Realists who might well be governed by barriers they create for themselves and hence for others, need only look up at a feathered aviator in flight to see what symbiotic living on Earth is truly all about. There is no separation between a bird -on-the-wing and the air it flies within: there’s no domination by one or the other, no submission and no compromise, just pure seamlessness. It is poetry in motion and moves me deeply sometimes.
I used to go to a lot of air-shows when younger, mainly military aircraft, and have been overwhelmed by humankind’s technological achievement, but it is not flight in the natural sense: it is not symbiosis. However, I understand that humankind’s ability to take to the air is as a result of the imagination as much as it is determination and the human capacity for vision. In that there is its own poetry, but it is not naturally found.
Your comment regards prisoners is very astute, and from what I read also very true. I believe this is why prisoners are encouraged to occupy their minds and express creatively: it is a personal choice if one chooses not to, but we all have the power to imagine. Your comment also put me in mind of the 1962 film, ‘Birdman of Alcatraz’ in as much that one of the underlying themes in the film is ‘redemption’ (not religious, more spiritual, and human centred) through Birds: both as a focus for the prisoners love and attention as much as it was a focus for the inmates positive intention towards personal growth and the future and opportunity to escape from himself and the reality of confinement.
‘I love living in an imaginary world. It is so often superior in every way to the real one.’ 🙂 I knew that you did, and that you do! One who looks up at an infinite sky could be no other way 🙂
Hugs and happiness. Have a lovely weekend my friend.
They are beautiful!
Thank you. They are wonderful <3
Always a pleasure Cindy. 🙏✌❤
What a beautifully designed bird this is. I’ve driven by the Salton Sea and noticed the white residue of “salts” everywhere. I do hope the water levels remain healthy enough for the life that exists there. Lovely post!
Yes that dust is quite toxic as it contains concentrated chemical pesticides from all of the central valley’s evaporated agricultural runoff. The chemicals have condensed into noxious dust that sails forth like a airborne bomb, going wherever the wind blows.
Terrible. And I guess there’s nothing being done about it? Is that even possible?
Unfortunately, it is possible, and is happening now.
I’m not surprised that they are called “stilts”. Those are very long thin legs. I am so sad to hear about the Salton Sea. Wonderful photos. 🙂
Thank you, and yes so much of the way we treat our wild places & creatures makes me sad too <3
I love sea birds of all kinds. And these photos of these are marvelous as usual! Love and hugs, N 🙂 <3 xoxoxo
Hug & love flying to you Natalie <3
I caught them sweet Cindy! Thanks❣️😘xoxoxo
You rock my friend. You know when people love you <3
How could I not when it’s someone as loving as you who says it my dear friend❣️😘xoxoxo
Visa versa 2UX2!
You posts are always so so enriching. Those birds are so colorful and so peculiar looking that I want to rethink about life again. Thank you for such a vibrant post.
What a wonderful comment that makes me happy I posted. Rethinking about life is always a valuable thing to do! Thank you~
Lovely photos of a delightful bird.
Thanks so much Margaret & have a wonderful weekend! 🕊️
We love black neck stilts and the days we spot them are good days! Your post and absolutely wonderful photos brought on a good day feeling. Thanks for that!
Your comment just gave me “a good day feeling.” So, thank you more <3 🕊️
The first two photos look like paintings. 🙂Gorgeous!
A beautiful collection.
Ahhhh, you are a beautiful friend 🕊️
Moving away from the unfolding tragedy of the Salton Sea, I am awed by the length of those legs! Beautiful shots and a very moving account of the situation.
Ahhh, thank you for caring. I wish more people were like you <3
OMG Cindy you bring more beauty and life to snaps. the look so real
I am humbled Tanveer. Thank you & be well my friend <3
<3 and peace for you
Blessed Ramadan Tanveer <3
What a stunningly beautiful bird. They’d better get on with fixing the water problem and pollution.
They better do so, and soon, as time is running out. Some people seem unaware that wildlife is like the proverbial canary in the cave, as they go, so shall we. What kills them, kills us too, eventually.
Perfectly put, I totally agree.
Reblogged this on Vietnam Travel & Trade Portal .
Thank you for your kind thoughtfulness & be well my friend!
What an amazing bird with those long red legs. Looks out of proportion actually really like on stilts , but I am sure it has a reason for the bird. Such beautiful photos again. Definitely need to look after our planet more and more!
We are pretty much failing at this point in our caretaker responsibilities, but it is heartening to know there are people like you who care and try and make a difference. <3
Absolutely stunning shots. Thanks for sharing, Sue
Very pleased you enjoyed them & take good care Isabel <3
Beautiful birds. I hope the plans to save the lake hurry up.
Yes. I hope so too & thank you!
You’re welcome. xxx
Your usual stunning images
Merci beaucoup mon ami 🐦 <3
liebe Cindy, das ist wie immer sehr schön, Wochenende und bei uns immer noch kein Regen zum Leidwesen aller Pflanzen und Menschen und Tieren, Klaus
Ja. Es ist sehr traurig, die schrecklichen Auswirkungen der Dürre auf Wildtiere und wilde Orte zu sehen. Danke, dass du dich um meinen Freund kümmerst und gesund bist.
einen wunderschönen Sonntag wünsche ich, Klaus
Vielen dank mein lieber Freund.
Those slender long legs! I could use them at times 🙂
Laughing…..I imagine it would take some finesse to not get tangled up in them!
Just started following your blog. Beautiful photography! I’m in Fla. and we have lots of beautiful wildlife here, but also the water problems of overdevelopment.
Hello & lovely to meet you! Yes, US wetlands are under seige and it is the wildlife that suffers first from overdevelopment.
As always, gorgeous photographs with a terrible and horrific message. Why are they doing something about the pollution immediately? I can’t understand how the human mind DOESN’T WORK. The photographs are stunning. I can’t believe their tiny legs are strong enough to hold them. Such beautiful birds. I hope whoever is responsible for the water, wakes up before it’s too late. Wonderful post.
I share your hopes and your frustrations, and your confusion at the depth of some people’s denial. It is good to have friends like you! <3
What beautiful birds. What a tragic and frightening story. Oh, I pray that those who can help will wake up and do so before it’s too late. Lakes can die but they can be brought back to life and thrive with the proper time and effort. They did it to our huge lake (Lake Apopka) where we lived in Florida so it can be done. I pray that this tragedy can be averted and the powers that be realize it’s not just the birds affected. 🙀💕
I love and appreciate your prayers and your concern and agree with both completely. America’s wetlands are under seige and need to be treated as the precious resources they are. It boggles my mind that people don’t understand that we are all part of an intricate living web. If we poison our wetlands with pesticides, we will also poison ourselves as we live in the ecosystem too.
Thank you for preserving these beautiful birds in pictures for us. May be this organization will be part of the restoration of the ocean? https://www.theoceancleanup.com/ (Founded 2013 Dutch inventor Boyan Slat founded The Ocean Cleanup at the age of 18. ) Boyan is an amazing young man who dymoon from here at WordPress introduced me to. They are really making progress on this.
Wow! What a completely impressive project and development! Dymoon is a wonderful resource and person. Thank you, and she, for the link and the hopeful information. People really can save the world, if they want too.
Absolutely and yes, Dymoon is amazing. I am so grateful for all of you wonderful, talented, smart and loving women on this site. Yes, you just have to want to help – that’s a great start 🙂 I think the project is inspirational! Young people saying, “Yes I can!”
Again, I agree with you wholeheartedly. I love being part of this amazingly talented and aware community. People who “get” me and visa versa. People who I would never be able to find were it not for blogging. People like you! Bloggers rock~
Wonderful creatures! It seems to me that saving the Salton Sea would (A) save the BNS and other migrating species, (B) save children from Emergency treatment from toxic dust storms. Its a no-brainer. I hope something is done. Thanks for putting the word out Cindy
Yes. You understand the situation perfectly. There is a mountain range between the sea and my home so I am not directly affected by the evaporation, but the communities, especially the children, who live on the other side of the mountains, near the sea, are being negatively affected healthwise now, and if things don’t change, this will just get worse.
It makes you wonder how they can stand on those spindly legs – let alone walk on them… 😀 <3
Hollow bones help them fly and stand, but I know what you mean. I would have a seriously difficult time trying to walk on stilts like these!
😀 😀 😀
They look cute but kind of awkward! Thanks for the reminder about how important the salton sea is to birds.
Yes. Those legs work like a gem for walking through water, but not so nifty on dry land!
I’ve never heard of the Salton Sea, Cindy. You’re a wealth of information and the Black Necked Stilts are new to me too.
I am happy to have been the one to introduce you. I learn new things everyday from our wonderful blogging community <3
I do too. It’s such a delight.
Bloggers rock because good attracts good, and forms a community that is even better <3
I like that thought Cindy, I believe that too.
Gosh Cindy these photos are breathtaking!
Ahhh, honored. Thanks so much & cheers!
I don’t see these in Ohio! 😉 … Love the reflections!!!
I love seeing new birds that live in different places. There are always new birds to meet and marvel at~
Wow!!! Amazing pictures of the beautiful bird!😊
So appreciated! Thank you very much~
Beautiful photos Cindy. The Salton Sea has a fascinating story. We are responsible for it’s creation and also for its oncoming demise and all the dangers involved. We should fix up the mess pronto.
I couldn’t agree more. Our planet, and all the creatures on it, would be so much happier and healthier, if we humans accepted responsibility for our harmful actions.
I am glad to see there is still viable bird life in the area. Been there several times over the years and hope I, and everybody else, along with the birds, can still have the option to keep visiting.
Amen! I agree wholeheartedly <3
Aw, they’re so cute! Thanks for bringing them to me — here’s hoping their preserve is saved!
Hope shared grows! <3
What a beautiful bird. It only makes sense that a bird like this would reside in such alluring places…It’s tragic that its natural habitat is being destroyed, hopefully someone notices this species and starts remediation efforts before it’s too late.
I share your hopes for this species and for all the millions of birds that rely on The Salton Sea each year. Thank you for caring and commenting, and for your wonderful blog, that is a testament to your commitment.
Amazing red stilts! Yet another species threatened by the consequences of human activities.
Yes, it is now becoming far easier to name species that are not in retreat or under threat, because there are fewer and fewer of them. What a disgrace.
Beautiful images Cindy, I too hope they find a way to save the Salton Sea.
I imagine it as it can be, a desert paradise oasis, enjoyed and sustained by humans and wildlife alike, and want this dream to become realized. I credit Sonny Bono for sharing this vision, setting aside protected wildlife areas, and doing so much to try and save the sea and the creatures that depend on it. I wish he was still here. We need him.
Cindy, this is my first introduction to the Salton Sea, and of course I am grateful to you for the incredible images but sad to hear of yet another example of our disregard for wild life and human life, too. I won’t forget your images…you are the best.
Ahhh, you rock Sheila! I am so fortunate to be part of this awesome blogging community of creative and caring people, who I would otherwise never have the chance to meet. I am so privileged to know you Sheila <3
“Our planet, and all the creatures on it, would be so much happier and healthier, if we humans accepted responsibility for our harmful actions.” Your words says it all.
Great photos as always – I saw stilts in the Galapagos Archipelago, and your shots really show how handsome and special they are. I hope people all over the world would realize how much we are about to lose on this planet.
However, I must say there finally was a piece of news two days ago that made me breathe just a tiny bit easier. EU is banning disposable plastic tools like cutlery and mugs and the like, and at the same time the countries have to develop plans for food packages using plastic. In 2025 the EU countries must collect 90 percent of all plastic bottles.
And here we have Le Donald, backing out of The Paris Accord, ramping up Nuclear rhetoric, unprotecting national monuments, defanging the EPA, loosening environmental protections, and setting us up on a fast track backwards towards even more heinous environmental damage. The EU has always been more forward thinking on environmental protection. Bravo to them (and you) on the plastics.
Exquisite as always, Cindy ❤️
Cheers to you sweet friend 🐦<3
Awww, so many hugs back to you.
Reblogged this on Wild Voices.
Grateful for your advocacy on behalf of the wild ones Sharon 🐦🐦
I love those long skinny red legs. 🙂 What a shame that the Salton Sea is under threat. I hope that those plans to save it are implemented. Once gone, there’s little chance it will be back. 🙁
Exactly, and with it millions of beautiful birds and other wildlife 🐦🐦
We love these birds – great captures!
Aren’t they delicate, wonderful creatures! I also got a baby great blue heron! So cute….
The first pair we ever saw lived near our place north of San Francisco. We named them Fred and Ginger because of the black and white.
Those are perfect names. Once you name a wild animal (or two) you are clearly in love.
True. Many have names!
These are wonderful captures, such a pretty bird! Wish I had a set of long, gorgeous legs like that! 🙂
They would be a significant hazard in stilettos though!
LOL yes they would! But boy we’d look good, ha!
It would make for great photo optics!
Wow amazing photos..love the reflections so AMAZING Cindy!
The sea cooperated to show you how beautiful it and the creatures it shelters truly are 🐦 <3
It sure did, what beautiful shots!
Wow! Those legs were taller than I expected them to be!
Yes, they are like ducks out of water, with much longer legs!
what a interesting looking bird! We defiantly don’t have any of these guys up our way!
They should fly up. Vancouver Island is not a polluted disgrace.
Beautiful photos of a special place. Lovely colours and the Stilts are well named.
It constantly amazes me that The Salton Sea can host such a diversity of wildlife and have such beauty whilst being so terribly poisonous and polluted.
It’s very sad.
It is indeed.
Love the mirror images !
Stunning! Those long red legs are something else, particularly in flight.
They streamline in flight don’t they, like rudders!
Yes they do!
However, due to changes in water apportionments agreed upon for the Colorado River under the Quantification Settlement Agreement of 2003, the overall water level of the sea is expected to decrease significantly between 2013 and 2021. – Wikipedia
Something else interfered with by humans. Shame on us!
Exactly. The Salton Sea is a case study in human harm and destruction, and yet the birds still come, and are so beautiful.
I was born and raised on the southern tip of the Salton Sea in the Imperial Valley. My Dad worked for the water district, and our family owned a 160-acre farm where we grew alfalfa for cattle feed. Two-thirds of the nation’s winter vegetables are grown in the Valley.
The Salton Sea is dependent on agricultural runoff that flows through the Alamo and New River. The New River is the most polluted waterway of its kind in the United States. The river begins in Mexico and flows across the border heavily polluted with industrial waste, untreated sewage, chemical contaminants such as mercury and uranium, and pathogens including tuberculosis, encephalitis, polio, cholera, hepatitis and typhoid. Homeland Security has posted bio-hazard signs along the banks of the river on the U.S. side of the border.
The agricultural runoff leaches salt from the fertile soil which is then deposited in the Sea. The salinity level — which is higher than the Pacific Ocean — is killing off mass populations of birds and fish. The Sea depends on the runoff to maintain its elevation, but the salt deposits are hastening an environmental catastrophe.
To compound matters, the Imperial Valley water district agreed to transfer water to drought-stricken San Diego County. The agreement required that about ten percent of the Valley’s farmland lie fallow. This has contributed to higher food prices while severely restricting the amount of runoff flowing into the Sea. The receding sea level increases the concentration of salt and threatens to transform the basin into a dead body of water.
I knew about the inflow from the other direction, from the central valley and the pesticide and fertilizer poisoning, but I didn’t know about the inflow from Mexico and the bacterial and viral pathogens, although it is very clear that the Salton Sea is a bacterial as well as chemically noxious brew. I appreciate your enlightenment, albeit find it quite disturbing.
As I am sure you know, we also get this sewage laden bacteria in the ocean areas of Pt Loma, Imperial Beach and Coronado Island, from Mexican sewage outflow. Beaches in these towns are routinely contaminated and often closed. People get sick from swimming even when the beaches are open. The toileting into the ocean from Mexico has always been appalling. Now I can just add The Salton Sea to the equation.
You well know that the salinity level in The Salton Sea is ever increasing as the sea evaporates. I have walked the shores for decades crunching on the bones of fish and birds. The selling of water to San Diego is just obnoxious. One thing that puzzles me which you may know the answer to, is where do Palm Springs, La Quinta, Palm Desert and Rancho Mirage get the water to maintain their over-the-top luxurious, tropical city wide, water-hungry landscaping. You leave these lush artificial cities and arrive in Borrego to see the desert in all it’s natural, stark, austere beauty. I know they use recycled water, but we don’t have enough water to recycle do we? And why don’t we send it to the places that are dying of thirst?
Your comments and experience are so compelling. I have been fascinated by the sea since I was a little kid. I could never understand how birds and fish could survive there. My son is trained as a wildlife biologist and recently explained to me that toxins accumulate more in living creatures the higher you move up the food chain. A mouse has a shorter life than a human for example, and thus less time to accumulate toxins and acquire disease from them. It boggles my mind that some people don’t connect the poisoning of our environment with our own disease and premature death. It just simply staggers me to see the millions of birds that winter on the sea. It is like this biological wonderland, in a post-apocalyptic, toxic moonscape.
To me, The Salton Sea is a contained case study of how we are poisoning ourselves and the creatures around us. It will be sad, and probably pretty horrific, to watch the demise of the sea. As we drove away from the area last week, a major dust storm hit, blinding us in the car. I thought of the children in nearby schools running into the nurses office and asking for their inhalers and eyewash.
We are such a dumb species.
Thank you so much for sharing your experience. It is very moving to me and very sad.
Regarding the dust storm, the Imperial Valley has the highest rate of emergency room visits for asthmatic children in California. I also contracted asthma growing up in the dusty, agricultural environment.
With regards to the lush landscaping in Palm Springs, I only know that the Coachella Valley Water District and Desert Water Agency are still enforcing water restrictions in the communities north of the Salton Sea. The Imperial Irrigation District, which manages water usage south of the Sea, continues to enforce conservation and levy fines for commercial and residential violations.
There are thousands of dead lawns in the Valley due to water restrictions and the rising cost of water. Homeowners that don’t violate the restrictions may still have green lawns if they’re willing to pay the price. Most of the residents are poor so curb appeal (landscaping) has become an expensive and unnecessary indulgence,
When I was a kid, the Salton Sea was known as Palm Springs South. It was an oasis — a literal Garden of Eden.
We are both native SoCal’ers. Some of my fondest childhood memories were tearing around Borrego, which oh so thankfully hasn’t changed. The northern desert cities are like Riverside County congestion now, with better landscaping.
I was going to ask about your health but thought it presumptuous. Words fail don’t they.
I love the desert so. It is such a beautiful, slowly-revealing place. I am so sorry this has happened, and is still happening.
Be well, and it is wonderful to meet you.
I enjoyed exploring the Anza-Borrego stagecoach stations. Have you visited Slab City and Salvation Mountain on the south side of the Salton Sea? Or the volcanic mudpots? The surrounding area is a massive reservoir of geothermal energy. It is one of the Valley’s richest natural resources.
I took my kids to the slabs alone when they were young which was quite an experience. I would like to go again. I have seen most of these sights, but not the mudpots, which are definitely on our list, and we wanted to see them this visit, but got side tracked on the north and east sides of the sea, which are a totally different world. We visited Bombay City and the ship graveyard and I took a lot of photos. It is sort of like the slabs. Have you been to Ghost Mountain and seen the hermit’s homestead? It is quite a climb but so worth it as his homestead is clearly visible and his story is amazing. Check out this link about him:
We took frequent day trips along Highway S-2, but never visited Ghost Mountain.
There is so much hidden in the desert. In a lifetime we will never see it all.
Beautiful pictures, Cindy. There’s something about Stilts, and I think I like them because of their long legs. The Salton Sea sounds a fascinating place.
Fascinating is just the right word for The Salton Sea. It is beautiful, amazing, wildlife rich, desolate, creepy and toxic, all of these opposing things in one.
I’ve never seen this type of bird. Their legs are long.
They certainly are long cool birds in black dresses aren’t they!
With their red legs they look very feminine. lol…
That is why women over history have adorned themselves with bird feathers to try and emulate their beauty.
That is right 🙂
Gorgeous photos bely the sad news about the Salton Sea. Back in the late 70s, Mono Lake was close to becoming a dust bowl, and the two islands where 1/4 of California seagulls breed and nest were going to be accessible to predators. Perhaps its proximity to Yosemite helped its cause (LA water district funneled water out of the tributaries that fed the lake). Legislation finally passed to make Mono Lake a National monument (I belonged to Friends of Mono Lake for years). Perhaps something like this can happen for the Salton Sea. Seems to fit my Sunday Stills (fur and feathers) theme today!
Yes Mono Lake has a very similar history and was almost lost to us. Northern California has far more effective environmental advocates than we do in in SoCal. The beauty in the desert is just as incredible as in NoCal, but very different, and harder for some people to penetrate. Mono Lake looks similar to The Salton Sea, minus the eerie ghost towns with people still living there, the fish and bird bones forming the sandy grit on the beaches, the sense of apocalypse slowly unfolding, with millions of birds watching and waiting. The Salton Sea seems like the most honest place to me, which is why I keep going back to it, decade after decade. I will post photos of the living ghost towns soon. I admire the people who live there immensely.
Wow, Cindy, your words are heartfelt and beautiful in this comment. You definitely have the knack for the written word besides your incredible photography 🙂 The Eastern Sierra along the 395 is a wonderful place. We prefer to drive that route to enter the Tioga Pass of Yosemite.
You are very kind Terri. Thank you. Yes the back road into Yosemite is our favorite too, and hiking in the Sierras around Mono & June Lake is a favorite summer activity. And Mammoth in ski season forever!
Imogen Cunningham once said
“To worship beauty for its own sake is narrow, and one surely cannot derive from it that esthetic pleasure which comes from finding beauty in the commonest things.”
And so are these beautiful pics
I hadn’t read this quote, but I so completely resonate with it. It is not the beauty, or lack of it, where you are that matters, it is the beauty you find wherever you are. It is always there, waiting for you to find it.
Imogen’s images are just so preternatural, so ahead of her time. She is so under-appreciated and so influential to so many more famous photographers (and paint artists) who emulated her.
Thank you so much for this quote. It sends me happy to bed.
it looks as if the bird is sinking
They float, on land, and in the air. Just like Emily said, “Hope is a thing with feathers.”
Like Emily Ratajkowski in her red feather dress
An important topic, Cindy, and great post. The state is so environmental-oriented and protective of animal rights. I’m surprised that no action has been taken to date. Is there a political bottleneck? (The usual culprit!! ) 🙂
Prop 68 was voted on today in Cali. If passed, it will direct funds to The Salton Sea. It is up to the voters to decide how much this matters.
So, let’s hope it passes.
The Salton Sea is such a fascinating region of California – I felt as if a dystopian novel had come alive here.
Eactly! It fascinates doesn’t it. It’s almost like, “Oh, so this is what the planet will be like after humans have ruined it….”
These are lovely, Cindy – and you beat me to a BNS post that I have had in the pipeline… now spurred on to move it up the queue!
I can’t wait to see it. I guess the BNS made it to Abaco too! Good for them. They need to spread out…..
This is a beautiful area, I have driven through there several times, even at night it is an enjoyable drive. Cindy, I am going to reblog this article for you. Thank you for taking of your time to post such a beautiful post.
Reblogged this on Truth Troubles.
Thank you more for your very kind response. I am glad you have taken the time to explore this area. It is one of my favorite places, and even after all these years, it has still not revealed itself fully to me. The desert remains forever mysterious.
Stunning colors! The water colors are as intrinsic as the birds. 🙂 <3
We are basically surrounded by beauty, more so in the most unlikely places.
You are so! 🙂
OMG, those legs! I have a new standard of measurement for models legs. The water problem sounds so terrible. If I could add my vote, I would.
Yes, I know from your comment you would vote.
Since we have limited power, your attitude is by far the best thing we can do.
Those first two photos are like Monet paintings, with bird. Fabulous!
I thought just that when I saw it.
It’s Monet’s. “Garden in Giverny.”
But it is a polluted, doomsday scenario.
I know Monet would paint it so beautifully.
Paris was polluted and headed for trouble, yet Toulouse-Lautrec and the other Impressionists made it seem so glorious. The power of paint to make us love…
True and Venice is the same now.
Reminds me of ‘Daddy long legs,’ when I look at these long-legged birds. Your shots are awesome, Cindy. 🙂
I used to love Daddy Long Legs as a child with there silken slender legs. I see exactly what you mean.
sei herzlich gegrüßt und hab einen schönen Tag, Klaus
Cheers mochten mein Freund und gut! <3
alles gut, hab einen schönen Tag, Klaus
Reblogged this on Musings on Life & Experience and commented:
More pictures of beautiful birds from Cindy Knoke. These pictures were taken in the endangered area, the Salton Sea in California.
Thank you for your support and advocacy Patricia and be well my friend <3
You’re most welcome, Cindy. The best of everything to you also. 🙂 — Suzanne
Such dramatic features– his coloring, and those legs!! I hadn’t heard of them so thanks, Cindy, for the chance to “meet” them and for the notice about the Salton Sea situation. You are amazing. xo
Hugs to you my friend & cheers too <3
Fabulous images of these cute birds, Cindy! There should be a plan to save these birds and wildlife everywhere else!
We are in perfect accord, as usual <3
If the Salton Sea is the second most important habitat for migrating birds in the US, then I wonder what the most important is? My guess would be the Great Lakes, but I’m admittedly biased 😛
So happy you noticed this. If I read this post, I would have wondered the exact same thing, so thanks for mentioning it! Actually number one is Big Bend National Park Wetlands. Here is quotation from LA Times, “The Salton Sea hosts the most diverse and probably most significant populations of bird life in the continental United States, rivaled only by Big Bend, Texas. More than 400 species of birds use it as part of their migratory pattern. For many species, it’s absolutely critical; the North American white pelican and eared grebe — many of these birds would suffer drastically if we do nothing.”
Today Californians vote on Prop 68. If it passes, money will be diverted to help save The Salton Sea. I am seriously hoping it passes.
In hindsight, I’m not surprised Big Bend is the most important site in the US for migratory birds. Fortunately, it looks like Prop 68 is going to pass:
Yes, to everything you said and such good news about 68.
Fabulous photos and a fun easy nature lesson. This is a unique bird. It’s legs are like long, thin and red bamboo. Thanks, Cindy!
Happy you enjoyed and cheers Resa <3
you hit the jackpot by these shots
Awwww, thank you so much!
It is a wonderful camera, thank you~
I love your pics 😍
Thank you so much & cheers to you!
liebe Cindy, das sind ja wunderschöne Bilder, alles wird gut, hab einen guten Tag, Klaus
Vielen dank mein lieber Freund Klaus und frohe Wochenende! <3
Time well spent at the Salton Sea as shown by these expressive shots of nature’s birdlife
Thanks for taking us along Cindy
Thank you more for coming along with me <3
Thank for these great pictures, Cindy! I love their long red legs and gracious appearance.
So happy you appreciate them & cheers to you my friend <3
Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
I always learn something new when I head over to Cindy Knoke’s website to catch up with her latest wildlife photographs.. I had not heard of The Salton Sea and did not know it was the largest lake in California.. it is in danger as it shrinks and becomes polluted … which would rob us of these beautiful birds and the other species that rely on the water and environment around it. #recommended
You are the best advocate around. You champion causes and bloggers with merit because you are so meritorious yourself, and you care. I admire you Sally and thank you <3
Thank you Cindy that is really kind… and it is reciprocated.. Your images bring the most remote parts of the world into our homes and show us such an amazing window on life we would never see in our lifetimes. xxx♥
Hugs & be well dear Sally <3
You too Cindy..hugsxx♥
Love the colour of their legs, like they are wearing tights. I really wish humans would wake up and take care of this earth. So much is lost.
We are in full accord. Good news though, proposition 68 just passed which will direct monies towards saving the sea.
Very nicely captured! You are special my sister…hugs, and blessings!
Hugs & blessings back to you Kendall!
Stunning beauty. It’s been awhile; I’ve missed your blog, Cindy!
How lovely to hear from you, especially with such kind thoughts! Hope all is well with you~
Such deeply profound eyes they have
Birds have such penetrating eyes. It seems they look directly into our souls. They always are looking at me when I first find them with my camera.
It does feel like they can really KNOW you doesn’t it!
Excellent shots 💕💕💕💕💕👏👏👏👍👍very beautiful place 👍👍
Thanks much and have a wonderful week! <3
🙏have a lovely week🌹🌹
Bonjour ou bonsoir BELLE CINDY
L’amour doit se répandre en amitié sincère
Pour parer aux écueils jonchés par l’adversaire
Qui déverse, souvent, son poison dans nos cœurs
Nous sommes voyageurs dans un monde éphémère
Pour pouvoir l’enjamber sans beaucoup de douleurs
Faisons de l’amitié notre constant critère
Bonne journée mon Ami ou Amie
Merci beaucoup mon ami Bernard!
Amazing birds, Cindy! The second photo looks like a Monet painting!
I would love to see Monet’s interpretation of the sea.
Legs! Just look at them!! They are sooo loooooooooong!
They are long legged birdies in a black dress……
Super long legged!
The stilts are amazing, and the story of this lake is heartbreaking. Your photos are amazing, too. The one at the very top of this post takes my breath away.
Your thoughtful comments are so very appreciated! Thank you & cheers to you~
I was able to travel with my hubby and on the way somewhere one restaurant stop – they sold donated books to collect funds for something – Of course I had to stop and look.
I found a wonderful book dedicated to just sea birds.
Thanks for stopping by Carrot Ranch and reading the offerings of the wonderful community of writers for Literary Art.
Lucky you! The book sounds like a find. I miss the days of browsing in bookstores!
Yesterday in Fenwick, MD – I found a little free library. It only had a few books – but I just think it is cool to find those little libraries 🙂
What a beautiful place. I’ll have to add it to my dream bucket list.
Please talk to me before you come. The Salton Sea is a blighted area. There is much beauty to be found, but one needs an insiders advice. Staying in Borrego Springs is a good bet as it is just beautiful, and I can give you tips for visiting the sea and nearby areas like Joshua Tree National Park.
Gorgeous photos. You’re very good photographer. 😊
I am honored. Thank you.
You’re Welcome ☺
Honored. Thank you very much Tangie დ