Birds of the Salton Sea: Status, Biogeography, and Ecology by Michæl A. Patten, Guy McCaskie, Philip Unitt

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By Michæl A. Patten, Guy McCaskie, Philip Unitt

The Salton Sea, California's greatest inland lake, helps a magnificent fowl inhabitants that's one of the such a lot targeted and so much diversified on the earth. unfortunately, this significant stopover alongside the Pacific Flyway for migratory and wintering shorebirds, landbirds, and waterfowl is dangerously as regards to cave in from a number of environmental threats. This booklet is the 1st completely specified e-book to explain the birds of Salton Sea, greater than 450 species and subspecies in all. a massive contribution to our wisdom concerning the birds of western North the USA, it is going to even be an immense device within the fight to avoid wasting this hugely endangered quarter. Synthesizing information from many assets, together with observations from their long term paintings within the sector, the authors' species money owed speak about each one bird's abundance, seasonal prestige, circulation styles, biogeographic affinities, habitat institutions, and extra. This precious reference additionally comprises normal details at the region's attention-grabbing heritage and biogeography, making it an unheard of source for the birding neighborhood, for natural world managers, and for conservation biologists interested by probably the most threatened ecosystems in western North the USA.

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With the exception of the Greater White-fronted Goose (Ely and Takekawa 1996), Brant, and seagoing ducks, the vast majority of waterfowl migrating through and wintering in the Salton Sink breed in the prairies of central Canada and the northern Great Plains, not in Alaska and westernmost Canada (Fig. 20; Bellrose 1976; Rienecker 1976). Among waterfowl not represented by this classic picture of movement are various seafaring ducks and the Brant. Not surprisingly, the Brant, the scoters, the Long-tailed Duck, and the Red-breasted Merganser are closely associated with the Gulf of California.

The Large-billed Savannah Sparrow favors such habitats at the south end of the Salton Sea. Photograph by Jack W. Schlotte and Philip Unitt. HALOPHYTIC FORMATION Given the highly alkaline soils of the Salton Sink, it should come as no surprise that halophytic plants are well represented. The Saltcedar is the dominant plant species along the fringe of the Salton Sea and in river bottoms and other wetlands. Understory vegetation is often nothing more than a mat of the salt grass Distichlis spicata, and where Saltcedar does not occur at the edge of the sea the dominant plant is generally the Iodine Bush (Allenrolfea occidentalis) (Fig.

21). The Salton Sea also serves as an important wintering location for both the Eared Grebe (sometimes in the millions) and the American White Pelican (typically in the tens of thousands). B I O G E O G R A P H Y O F T H E S A LT O N S E A 27 FIGURE 20. Main geographic places of origin of waterfowl wintering in the Salton Sink. Indeed, a substantial percentage of the North American population of the former occurs at the Salton Sea during some part of the year (Jehl 1988). Similarly, the Imperial Valley apparently hosts one-third of the world population of the Mountain Plover each winter (Shuford et al.

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