A heron perches on a piling at the Salton Sea in California, USA
© Garret Suhrie/Cavan Image
Watching the flypast. A stopover spot for migrating birds
Welcome to Salton Sea, the largest lake in the US state of California and an important stopover site for many migratory birds. Some birds, like today’s homepage heron, may remain here for the season but many of those visiting in the spring will stay just a few days before continuing to fly further north for the summer. Migratory bird species travel along roughly the same route at the same time every year, following sources of food and water along the way and often flying great distances to reach breeding grounds.
This shallow saline lake was formed when a dam broke in 1905, causing the Colorado River to flow into a 35-mile-long basin with extensive salt deposits. Now it attracts hundreds of species of birds, most of which are just passing through, migrating along the north-south route called the Pacific Flyway. They gather here, sometimes in the millions, to feed and regain strength before moving on.