Today, I went on the very first walk of the fall 2013 at the San Diego Salt Works. Once a month, from October to March, San Diego Audubon holds a walk in this restricted area. It's a great chance to see some birds that are difficult to see from the areas regularly open to the public. Most of the walks take place on Saturday, but today they did this one on Sunday. They are also canceled if there's bad weather. Though today was foggy, it cleared up enough to see some birds.
So, let's get our sandpipers in a row:
So, like I said, it started out dark and cloudy. Here is a shot of one of the drying ponds. That is all salt in there, not snow or ice.
I think one of the most common birds inside the salt works area were western sandpipers. I got lots of photos of them.
There were a log of cormorants hanging out on this thing until just before I took this photo. You can see a couple of them flying away.
Also on this building were two turnstones, one ruddy and one black. They seemed like they were best friends.
After a while, we finally saw the willets and godwits:
Willets flying away:
And, where you see willets, you also see marbled godwits:
I saw a few least sandpipers, too:
And, a few red knots:
Eared grebe, very common there:
And, a surprise horned grebe. Note the different shaped head and bill and brighter side and neck/head area:
A few greater yellowlegs were around, too:
There were a good number of long-billed curlews there, too. Here's one with a couple of dunlin:
Here's a couple of western sandpipers with a couple of dunlins. Lots of dunlins, too.
The ever-present Belding's savanna sparrow:
Stilts with a few avocets:
There was also a surprise stilt family there with chicks that are still fuzzy and have gray necks. Here is dad with the two chicks:
Here are the two babies:
And, a couple more surprises. This is a photo of the first cattle egret ever seen at the salt works. Cattle egrets, though common in many areas in the south, are not common in the San Diego area.
And, there was a short-eared owl, though I couldn't get a photo of him flying around.
And, then the sun came out and made the salt ponds look like glass: