Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Flurry of Birds

1. CAEG-kab Cattle Egrets take wing near the Salton Sea-11-23-12

Gus and I now headed back to the main road on our way to our next birding hotspot along the eastern edge of the Salton Sea. We were headed north on Gentry Road when we came to a big curve with lush green agricultural fields all around.

2. birds in road-kab In the middle of the road a pair of Cattle Egrets scurried to the side…


3. run-kab…just as a car rounded the bend!


4. into the field-kab Gus pulled off the road and I jumped out to count and photograph birds!


5. safety-kab Egrets and Ibises all fed together.


6. feeding-kab Cattle Egrets are smaller than Snowy Egrets or Great Egrets. They have short yellow bills and black legs, and their legs and necks are shorter than the other two species. In breeding plumage the their legs turn pinkish red and they develop rusty patches on their heads, and breasts. Unlike the other egrets, these birds favor open fields where they can follow tractors or cattle and eat the insects kicked up by their movements. Cattle Egrets are native to Africa and did not arrive in North America until the 1940’s to 1950’s after first migrating to South America. They are found mostly along the lower half of the United States from coast to coast.

6. on the lookout-kab Cattle Egret standing watch.


7. exploring-kab Cattle Egret exploring


8. taking wing-kab Cattle Egret Flying


9. resettling-kab As I stood watching the birds I would see them rise and resettle over and over again.

10. feeding together-kab Long-billed Curlews and Cattle Egrets in Agricultural fields near the Salton Sea


11. egrets n curlews-kab Feeding together


12. rise-kab Rise…


13. land-kab…and resettle


14. cattle egret-kab Cattle Egret


15. Ibis-kab White-faced Ibis


16. curlew-kab Cattle Egrets and Curlew


17. curlews n egrets-kab Why did they fly?


18. sky full of birds-kab A sky full of birds 11-23-12

But why did they fly?

Come back to find out why on December 22nd!


  1. Hi Katie...Wow amazing group of mixed birds all hanging together!!
    A great set of photos info and adventure!!
    The Egrets are beautiful, but I really like the Curlew and Ibis!! There is something about those long birds I thing are so cute ..mostly I think it is the beaks : )!!
    I will tune in for the rest of the story !!

  2. Grace, I am impressed with the beaks as well!

  3. WOW!! That's a lot of long billed friends hanging out! Nice spotting. Did you know that the Curlew loves the fields along the inner farmlands of California? I had spotted my first one along the ocean and was surprised that they liked the fields. Love all of these birds.

  4. Sweet stuff Kathie!
    I was sorry to totally miss the Long-billed Curlews when I was there in September, still need em' for the ol' life list.

  5. Thats amazing Kathie to see all those Cattle Egrets, we occasionally get a rare one in England, but I have never been lucky to see one.

  6. Great series on the Cattle Egret. The Curlew is a great sighting too. Wonderful photos, Kathie!

  7. wow...neat photos and a very neat place to be!


Welcome to my nest! I hope you will enjoy spending time here with me and the birds. Thank you for your comments. I will try to get back to you as soon as I get back from counting more birds.