Arctic Desert Denizens~

More than a million snow geese migrate to California each year.

They have been following this same migration pattern,

for millennia.

They come from Russia, Alaska and Canada.

Over 30,000 of them winter at The Salton Sea in Southern California.

It is always disconcerting,

to see thousands of these arctic birdies,

sunning in the desert.

Sandhill cranes from Canada soak up the sun here too.

Cheers to you from the arctic desert birdies~

250 thoughts on “Arctic Desert Denizens~

    • All your senses are taken over by the flock. It is an amazing experience. Sight, sound, touch everything becomes part of this overwhelming flock movement. It feels like one massive, moving thing, and you are a part of it. Most amazing of all? I have never been pooped on and I always try and get in the middle of flocks. Happy New Year Alexander. I look forward to sharing another year with you my friend πŸ‘ͺπŸŒƒπŸ₯‚πŸŽ‡

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  1. Sometimes our Robins migrate, I’m not sure where. If it is a mild winter they don’t leave!
    I haven’t seen too many this winter. So It will be a sure sign of spring when the Robin’s return.

    I’ve learned though that vultures like to attack black roofs. We’ve got quite a few of that avian giant in our neighborhood. One year I saw one settled on one of the chimney’s of the older house up the block! Vultures are huge compared to the Coopers Hawks and are even larger than the occasional Eagle that has stopped by! πŸ™‚

    Lovely photos!!! Happy New Year.

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    • Wow! Vultures are massive birds and amazing gliders. They like to be where there are things to scavenge. We have them at The Holler, but they only show up when something dies. They have very sensitive olfactory abilities. The good news is they are excellent housekeepers and keep things tidy. Happy & Healthy New Year Jules πŸŒΏπŸ•›πŸ’πŸ’•

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  2. Photos of an amazing phenomenon.
    On our only visit to the Salton Sea, the water was fetid and low and the shores were lined with dead fish. We were told the water becomes lower each year as the flow into it is diverted. This would seem a threat to the migration.

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    • The Salton Sea has many faces. It is a polluted, apocalyptic wasteland just as you describe in the northern parts, and amazingly wildlife still live there. At the far south, it is different. Crops are planted specifically for the migrating birds. Fields are flooded and it home to 100’000’s of thousands of migrating birds, many rare and endangered. Two ballot initiatives passed recently in California to save the sea. The Salton Sea is a complex ecological problem. Check out: http://blogs.edf.org/growingreturns/2019/10/25/salton-sea-shrinking/

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  3. We get around 100,000 snow geese stopping near us in Pennsylvania in the late spring each year. Utterly amazing to see them there with thousands of other migrating swans and such. Breathtaking, just like your photos.

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  4. It certainly gives me a new perspective on the Salton Sea, Cindy. I had no idea about the massive influx of birds. Your photos certainly capture the numbers! But my favorite photo was the last one. Thanks. Looking forward to your posts this year! –Curt

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        • Be forewarned. The Salton Sea is a complex and strange place. It is the largest lake in California. It is man made and it is a final receptacle for all the agricultural run off from the Central Valley. It is polluted. It is shrinking. The winds are full of toxic dust. It has two major faces, the north lake which is like a bizarre post apocalyptic wasteland, and the southern end which has flooded fields and such abundant wildlife. All of the sea is polluted, but some animals with short stays here and short life spans are less affected by the pollution. Fish live very brief lives here. If you decide to visit, please talk to me first, to discuss where you may want to go to experience all aspects of the sea and to know what you are going to see. It is like nowhere else on earth that I have been. It is strange. I think you might like it as I do. Many of the best lodging and eating options are closed due to covid. Plus to see the birds there are specific places to go. So talk to me first please so as to avoid disappointment. This post gives you some idea of what you will experience on the northern end of the sea: https://cindyknoke.com/2018/06/17/paradise-lost/

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  5. It’s great to see these photos. Bird migrations are amazing. I was wondering how the fires on the west coast last summer would affect birds migrating in the fall, especially the smaller ones. But your photos show that these geese and cranes seem to be OK.

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    • Yes. I so appreciate your concern Audrey. I don’t know the answer. The devastating loss of habitat would seem to affect all wildlife, including migrating birds. I did notice there were less birds and less variety than I normally see, but this may not be accurate because normally I stay overnight for several days in nearby Borrego Springs and take many day trips to the sea. This year I couldn’t do this due to covid and had to drive there and back in the same day which gave me much less time to see what is going on. It is four hours round trip. I am itching to go back, but it is a bit of a haul. I need to ask the biologists who I sometimes see there. They do bird counts. დ

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    • I would never forget watching the sandhill cranes on The Churchill River doing their dance and thinking, wow, I’ll see you in Southern California in the winter!! It is a small world. Your wonderful birds are so welcome here Rebecca. Stay well my friend დ

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    • You are most welcome Lynette. How wonderful that you know them from the north. It is such a small world and birds know this well since they navigate all around it, making friends where ever they go. Happy & Healthy New Year Lynette πŸŒΏπŸ•›πŸ’πŸ’•

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