Our campsite is just a mile or two down the road from the Visitor Center,so since its been a few years for me,a re-visit was in order.This is the headquarters for the Recreation area.The pic above is the Visitor Center building.I watched a very interesting video on the history of this area,like for instance once, away back in time,this lake was so big that the eastern shore was at present day Yuma Arizona,and the Colorado river flowed into the lake at that point.Today its a 75 mile drive to reach the lake from Yuma.If you go far enough back,this whole area was the ocean,an extension of the Gulf of California. It has dried up and been reborn several times.
Above is the lagoon behind the visitor center.That group of birds at the end of the dock are Black Necked Stilts.And in the center right,beside a post is an Egret.
Over 400 species of birds have been recorded in this area,including in some years,95% of the North American population of eared grebes.80% of the American white pelicans,50% of the ruddy ducks and 40% of the Yuma clapper rails,which are getting more and more difficult to find.
Other sensitive species found here are,brown pelicans,the white faced ibis,mountain plovers,black turns,burrowing owls,fulvous whistling ducks,least bitterns,wood storks,black rails and snowy plovers.In addition the Salton Sea has the largest breeding colony of double-crested cormorants on the west coast.Over 70,000 shorebirds have been counted at one time,making it an important site for migratory and wintering shorebirds.
Some scientists have called the Salton Sea "California's crown jewel of avian biodiversity"and perhaps the most productive fishery in the world.
The abundance of fish is due to the "Tilapia," which is a prolific breeder and has adapted well to the Salton Sea. The tilapia are both an important food source for the birds,but also is a popular game fish that can weigh more than 3 pounds.Many other species have lived in the Salton,but have not survived the high salinity, as its 25% higher than the ocean now.